Article by Priyangshu Choudhury (Dibrugarh university)
Solar eclipse had a superstitious believes from the time immemorial. There are lots of myths associated with the eclipse. We have passed many rituals and blindly believed in them. But every phenomenon happening has a fundamental science behind it. Solar eclipses have been always associated with curiosity and caused fears have been associated with myths and superstition across for many ages.
The fact that in an eclipse the sun or the moon vanishes temporarily from the sky may be partially or wholly. The disappearances of the moon or sun had created a fear among the people. Although valid explanation have been provided by the science throughout, but the fear still exist today. Many people sees eclipses as evil omens that bring death destruction and disasters.
There are some general conceptions regarding the solar eclipse most of which are irrelevant and superstitious.
1. One should not eat or cook food during the solar eclipse-
People fast during the eclipse believing that any food cooked within an eclipse happens will be poisonous and impure. If there are leftovers the food should be finished before the food gets started because the ray may infect the foods with poison.
Dr Jena said: solar eclipse is just a natural phenomenon and it does not change property of any food items. It is perfectly safe to eat food.
2. Pregnant women and children should stay at home during eclipse-
A popular believes that eclipse may harm the pregnant women or any children. But the fears found irrelevant.
Dr Jena said: The pregnant women would give birth to a unhealthy or distorted children if they go out door is totally wrong. Yes the eclipse should not be seen with naked eye during this time.
3. A Solar eclipse is a inauspicious and a bad omen-
According to Hindu mythology it is inauspicious and it gives bad omen. Eclipses are harbingers of something bad that is about to happen. The psychologist call confirmation bias – that we tend to remember all the occasion when two things happen together, but forget all the other times when they did not. It is just a natural phenomenon and there is nothing auspicious about it.
4. Last and the most important is that looking directly at the sun during the eclipse time is unsafe and it may cause damage to retina. But looking it through special purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses would be safe.
At last we have to conclude that all the mysterious and superstitious beliefs about the eclipse hold no base with the day to day science. And most of the superstition is baseless. Eclipse is already taken as a normal phenomenon by our young generation but there is more to go.