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Myth Behind Food & Dietary Restrictions During Eclipse Busted

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Bhubaneswar: Babas, Gurus and Sadhus would have us believe that our bodies are in a ‘confused state’ during Eclipse and the best thing to do is to keep it as empty as possible. But, science begs to differ. While people have been starving themselves during solar/lunar Eclipse for several years now, astronomers, doctors and rationalists pose a simple question every time- Where is the logic?

‘Do not eat during eclipse’ is one of the most followed superstitions in India. The commonly heard story behind it- ‘Rahu’, the demon God eats up Sun/Moon. If you eat anything during that period, then you are committing a sin and the food becomes poison. Over the years, this story has evolved into a more believable one- Gravitational pull affects digestion of food during eclipse.

However, Dr Nirupama Mishra, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist said, “This does not have any basis in medical science. Celestial bodies that are so far away in the space having impact on our bodies cannot be scientifically proven.”

Pregnant women are also warned against going out and eating and drinking for fear of adverse effects on the foetus. “This too has no scientific backing. What if there is an emergency? What if the child or mother is in distress? What if the baby’s delivery date is due on the same day? Will the pregnant woman still not be allowed to go out?,” questioned Mishra.

Pratap Rath, Vice Chairperson, Odisha Rationalists Society said furiously, “On one hand, India is going to launch Chandrayaan-2 to probe more about the Moon and on the other hand, all of these common folklore are doing the rounds.”

“I urge everyone not to accept everything blindly. Spirit of inquiry and reform is the duty of citizens. Unscientific, illogical facts are being forced on people by the ones who have power and control. Eclipse has no effect on our body. Moon is minding its own business and we can do the same. Just because our forefathers believed such things, we should not continue it. Awareness has to be spread and media should do this,” he added.

Meanwhile, Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India tweeted, “Eclipse is just a play of shadows and there is no way an eclipse can harm you. So do go out and see it, and if you are hungry, eat whatever you want while watching the eclipse as well!”

So, there you go. With all myths busted, you can now witness the last lunar eclipse of the year from 1:30 am to 4:30 am tonight.

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Pratap Rath, Vice Chairperson, Odisha Rationalists Society

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Dr Nirupama Mishra, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist