Sirena (Philippine mythology)

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Sirena (Philippine mythology)
Sirena Diyesebel The Philippine Mermaid Commons.jpg
Title Sirena
Description Philippine mermaid
Gender Female
Region Philippines

The Sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as fully aquatic and mermaid-like; the fact that in Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Portuguese and Filipino the word for mermaid is respectively Sirena, Sirène, Sirena, Syrena, Sirenă, Sereia and Sirena and that in biology the Sirenia comprise an order of fully aquatic mammals that includes the dugong and manatee, add to the visual confusion, so that Sirens are even represented as mermaids. However, "the sirens, though they sing to mariners, are not sea-maidens," Harrison had cautioned; "they dwell on an island in a flowery meadow." In the Philippine mythology, the Sirena is a mythological aquatic creature with the head and torso of human female and the tail of a fish.[1] The male version of a Sirena is called a Sireno. Sometimes it is also paired with Siyokoy (see below). The Sirena is an engkanto which is classified as one of the Bantay Tubig or the guardians of water. In addition to the Sirena, other examples of Bantay Tubig are Sireno, Siyokoy, Kataw and Ugkoy. Bantay Tubig are part fish, part human water-dwelling engkantos which are the Filipino counterpart of the English merfolk.[2] A popular mermaid character in the Philippines is Dyesebel.

It is also said that the Sirena has a very beautiful and enchanting voice that can attract and hypnotize males, especially fishermen. A Sirena would sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or cause shipwrecks. They would sing with enchanting voices while hiding among the rocks by the shore. When the men hear their song they are hypnotized and the Sirena can abduct them. Some old folk traditions claim that the Sirena carry its victims under the sea and offer them to their water deities. Other stories claim that the Sirena squeezes the life out of drowning men while trying to rescue them.

A malevolent Sirena may tease and attract human males with their spellbinding songs; but reports of Sirena grabbing the seemingly hypnotized humans and drowning them or taking them under water may only be isolated cases. Either the tempted human had tried to chase the Sirena deep into the water until he drowned or he had a heart attack upon seeing such an engkanto and plunged literally into the water to his death.[3]

Dugongs, sea turtles, and small cetaceans such as dolphins usually accompany the Sirena.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Waterhouse, John William. "Mermaid". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  2. ^ Mga Engkanto: A Bestiary of Filipino Fairies. Philippines: eLf ideas Publication. 2003. 
  3. ^ Mga Engkanto: A Bestiary of Filipino Fairies. Philippines: eLf ideas Publication. 2003. 
  4. ^ Mga Engkanto: A Bestiary of Filipino Fairies. Philippines: eLf ideas Publication. 2003.