India is all set to witness a total lunar eclipse on July 27, 2018. The eclipse falls on a full moon in the auspicious Hindu month of Shravan and has fostered various old superstitions that revolve around eclipses in India. There are various myths about Chandra Grahan or Lunar eclipse that have been fed to us from a very young age. The Indian Lunar Eclipse Superstitions range from restricting consumption of food at a particular time to actually banning people from watching the lunar eclipse live. A comparison of facts vs. myths on lunar eclipse is extremely essential to actually get a clear idea about the meaning of Chandra Grahan and how it affects our day.
The traditions around lunar eclipse also played a key role in the celebration of Raksha Bandhan on Shravan Purnima, even though the eclipse is taking place at night. The eclipse is estimated to start in India at 11:44pm IST on Friday night and the total lunar eclipse 2018 is expected to begin at 1am IST. From 1:15am to 2:43am, the moon will be in the middle of the Earth’s shadow and will appear reddish in colour. The eclipse will continue till 4:58am though the effect will not look as great. There are various traditions and superstitions that play a key role in any eclipse, and while some of them can have a scientific meaning back in the past, most of them are absolutely baseless. As we prepare for Lunar Eclipse 2018, here are the facts vs myths on Chandra Grahan that you need to know.
1. Watching Chandra Graham affects your eye sight
Watching eclipses is a practice that excites many all over the world, and there are various events specially organised for viewing the eclipse live, either through telescopes or even on TV. However, there are various superstitions about people watching the Chandra Grahan in India, and many are restricted from going out or watching the beautiful partial or full eclipse. The idea behind this superstition was to protect the naked eyes from the strong rays that are common for any eclipse, however, with the technological break through that have brought various protective glasses, this myth stands baseless.
2. Eating at the time of eclipse causes indigestion
Various traditional Indians follow this old ritual of not eating any food or even drinking water during the time of an eclipse. The myth around this superstition is that eating or drinking water during the eclipse causes indigestion and the harmful rays that the earth is exposed to get ingested into our body. However, researchers have made it clear that there is no proof that eating food or drinking water during eclipse does not harm your health in any way.
3. Lunar Eclipse and restrictions on pregnant women
There are various restrictions imposed on pregnant women during the time of the eclipse. From stopping the women from leaving the house claiming that it will result in deformity for the baby to actually saying that touching knives, needles or any sharp objects will cause the unborn child to have a cleft lip, pregnant women are scared into staying indoors during an eclipse for absolutely no reason. The fact remains that it is absolutely safe to watch the eclipse even if you are pregnant and the moon’s movement will not harm the child in any way.
4. Cutting yourself in lunar eclipse
According to superstitions, if you cut yourself during the eclipse, the bleeding will take a longer time to stop and will leave a scar for a lifetime. This strange belief stopped many from getting out or actually working in any way during an eclipse as people feared to lose too much blood. Lunar eclipse and eclipse, in general, is seen as a grave danger that can harm you, but in reality, it is just a beautiful sight and the way our solar system works! This superstition is again untrue as the time taken for a wound to heal depends on the person and not the moon!
5. Taking a bath after eclipse
When a lunar or solar eclipse comes to an end, people often rush to take a bath and wash their hair, saying that they negative energy and rays will be washed clean by the water. Considering that the water was also exposed to the same ‘rays’, it is unclear how the logic behind this superstition works. While it is a good practice to bathe regularly, the idea of bathing after an eclipse makes no sense and has no scientific benefit, except perhaps, helping to improve the person’s hygiene.
In addition to this, many people donate either old clothes or food once the grahan timing ends and this is considered especially auspicious. There are various other steps that people take to prepare for the eclipse, including covering their food and water in tulsi leaves as well as other holy leaves to protect them. A lunar eclipse is basically the earth’s shadow covering parts of the moon based on its position, and this phenomenon is a natural occurrence thanks to the rotations and revolutions of earth, moon and all the other planetary bodies!