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Lluvia de Peces: Honduras’ yearly rain of fish

4 min read

For more than a century, Every year, Yoro, a small town in northern Honduras, allegedly experiences a mysterious phenomenon locally known as Lluvia de Peces, literally “rain of fish”, also known as aguacero de pescado (“downpour of fish”), in which fish are said to fall from the sky.

The phenomenon has been reported in many places around the world, but Honduras’ Yoro department is the only place where the bizarre rain reportedly occurs every year, sometimes several times per year.
The now-popular Lluvia de Peces takes place sometime between May and June, usually after a very powerful storm.
The weirdest thing is that, despite it being a yearly event, no one has ever actually seen the fish fall from the sky. There is, however, photographic and video evidence of hundreds of fish covering entire areas following powerful storms, so it definitely can’t be dismissed as just a simple legend, and scientists have actually investigated the phenomenon in order to provide a plausible explanation.

When speaking about Lluvia de Peces, most people of Yoro refer to the legend of Spanish missionary Father Jose Manuel Subirana, a very important figure in the history of Christianity in Honduras. He arrived in Honduras in 1855 and worked there until his death in 1864. As story goes, after witnessing the poverty of the local people firsthand, he prayed for three days and three nights, asking God to provide food for them. One day, the sky turned dark and fish started raining from the sky, in what is known as the first Lluvia de Peces in history, a miracle that has reportedly occurred every year since.

In fact, some state that’s a miracle, and some locals see it as a blessing from God.
“It is a secret that only our Lord knows. It’s a great blessing because it comes from our skies,” an Evengelical Pastor in the Honduran department said.

So what actually happens during Lluvia de Peces?
Well, no one seems to know for sure.
Although some of the locals actually believe that fish falls from the sky, as a miracle that has been occurring for over a century and a half, no one has actually seen the rain firsthand.
The most common explanation offered by the locals is that no one can bear to be outside during the powerful storm that precedes Lluvia de Peces, but that the aftermath is always there for everyone to see.

In 1970, a team of scientists was in Yoro when that year’s Lluvia de Peces occurred, and while they didn’t see the phenomenon itself, they did confirm that the ground was covered with fish.
However, one interesting thing they noticed was that the fish were all blind and weren’t of the species usually found in the area’s waterways.
These discoveries led them to the hypothesis that they must live in underground rivers or caverns where the lack of light causes them to go blind. The flooding that occurs during the heavy storm must force the subterranean fish above ground, and this is the most widely accepted theory, although it has yet to be confirmed.

Another theory, the one of the waterspout in which funnel-like clouds form over bodies of water, sucking out both water and fish and transporting them inland, has also been spread around, but it is unlikely, considering that Yoro is located about 72 km from the Atlantic Ocean. And yes, waterspouts can transport fish to land, but not over such long distances.

Despite scientists’ theories, however, Lluvia de Peces remains at this moment an unsolved mystery, and the people of Yoro prefer it that way, as they get to keep alive their miracle. And the mystery attracts more tourists from all over the world every year….

Images from web – Google Research