Mermaids are water creatures or spirits of a mythical nature. Their stories have appeared in popular cultures and folklore of most of the sea-faring civilizations. The mermaid is often depicted as a very beautiful woman who has a lower body that resembles the fishtail.
These mythic creatures have been able to create around them an ambiance of horror stories as well as romantic myths. At first, mermaids were a representation of the unknown nature of the sea, threats of open water, and the water territories that were not yet explored. But along the way science has evolved and nowadays mermaids are just considered an imaginative part of media and art.
In early days when human civilization was formed along seas and rivers, they had their religion focused on the wonders and dangers of these places. It is due to such reasons that some gods were depicted in the form of a man with the lower body of a fishtail. And as time was moving, there was the emergence of female sea gods. The one that had more resemblance to a mermaid was Astargatis. It is said that she was hiding from the mortals because she killed one of them accidentally.
She, therefore, decided to dive below the waters so that she would become a fish. The sea really appreciated her beauty and decided not to change her upper body. And this was the beginning of the history of mermaids.
Mermaids became a myth that spread across the world. Diverse cultures adopted various traits of mermaids. Others imagined creatures that have a different attitude for the mortals. For example, a culture like the Greek feared the mermaids and they referred to them as Sirens. Sirens mean threatening creatures that attracted sailors to the waters with their beautiful voice and songs and then drowned them.
A similar myth existed on the British Isles whereby the sailors referred to mermaids as evil spirits and sea nymphs. They were sort of a bad omen that represented sinking of the ship, coming of the storm and generally a hazard to anyone who saw them. It was a symbol of death.
But what’s good is that most of other cultures encouraged that mermaids were good creatures. Describing them as very shy creatures with an extreme interest in the life that is above the sea. Some legends in China described that the tears of an elusive mermaid form the most attractive pearls here on earth.
What extended the popularity of mermaids is the constant stream by especially media then followed by art. Some movie directors have introduced the concept of mermaids in some films and therefore retaining the myth of mermaids fresh in the minds of the viewers. In recent times there has existed fake stories about discoveries of real mermaids.
Generally, as already said, mermaids are creatures of a mythic nature. Their stories originated as per what you can see from this text. But there is a probability that the history of mermaids might vary from culture to culture. But what we have here is what has been widely spread.