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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Mermaids and Mermen: Are They Protector or Killer of the Sea?


Mermaid, Merman

Both mermaids and mermen are depicted to be beautiful, half human creatures that dwelled in seas, ocean, lakes, ponds and streams with mysterious power. Often, these creatures are considered to be magical that men often find themselves completely and utterly mesmerized by them. With many folklore traditions and cultures around the world believing that capturing a mermaid will result in the creature granting you a wish in exchange for their freedom or lure them to their deaths.


The half-fish, half-human are present in almost every culture, stories, mythology from America,Europe, and Asia. In every story, these creatures live and dwell under the sea with their own culture, legends and traditions. They were called different names, the modern name mermaid derived from the Old English word ‘mere’ and ‘maid’, which literally meant ‘sea’ and maiden or man for mermen. Mermaids and Mermen in other cultures are different from the European story and depiction. In Korea it is called Sinjike (신지끼), in China- Jiaoren (鮫人), in Japan - Ningyo (人魚), and in Greece it is called Siren (σειρήνα). Most depictions of this sea creature showed them as beautiful, seductive sea-folk that would either warn people of incoming calamities and disasters or trick humans into their deaths. It is also signed of doom that whenever mermaid or mermen show itself, people will always be sure that a storm or calamities would follow. Sometimes portrayed as predators with spikes on their back, sharp teeth with webbed hands and big fierce eyes.

On the other hand, a version of the mermaid called Mèlusine – a woman who is depicted as part human and part serpent and is generally portrayed as being half human and half fay (fairy). This is the result of the marriage of the King of Scotland and his fairy wife. A royal family in Luxembourgh, claims to be descendants of Mèlusine. She is said to have been the wife of the founder of Luxembourg, Count Siegfried.


Mermaid, Merman

 Recorded Sightings by Famous People:

Christopher Columbus – an Italian explorer and navigator and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. He was the first documented account of seeing a mermaid saying it was not beautiful as legend and had a masculine face. Many people debunk his story and saying it was really a ‘Manatees or sea cow’ that he saw on his expedition.

Captain John Smith – an English sea captain, explorer and soldier who helped England to get their first permanet colony in the New World (North America). A story written by him on one of his journal saying he sighted a merfolk and fall in love until he head the realization that the she liked is a fish form the waist down.

Water Gods and Goddesess:

Atargatis – Artargatis is the oldest mermaid legend a great goddess of northern Syria. Assyrian goddess of the water, feminity and moon. Her story is that when her mortal lover ‘Hadad’ died, she drowned herself in the sea out of sorrow and becamed mermaid. She is the earliest stories of mermaid.

Posiedon/Neptune – One of the Twelve Olympian gods in ancient Greek. Portrayed as the King of the Sea, god of the sea, river, floods, earthquakes. He is known having a trident and uses a chariot with sea-horses and identified by Romans as Neptune.

Mermaid, Merman

Triton –
Son of the sea god Posiedon and his wife Amphitrite (sea nymph).. He was a merman and the successor of Poseidon. The character King Triton, the father of Ariel from The Littke Mermaid is based the sea Greek mythology.

Mami Wate or La Sirene –
Mami Wata means ‘mother of water’, an African water goddess who
is often portrayed as a half-human, half-serpent similar to mermaid.


By Joshua Marasigan, IFY Books

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