No, the solar eclipse 2021 won’t harm your baby — or your achaar

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No, the solar eclipse 2021 won’t harm your baby — or your achaar
The moon blocks the sun during a total solar eclipse in La Higuera, Chile. PTI

  • Common beliefs during the solar eclipse propagate shielding pregnant women and avoiding food.
  • While these superstitions may be popular, they are not backed by scientific reasoning.
  • Here’s why the solar eclipse is nothing more than the interplay of shadows between the Sun, the Moon and the Earth.
It’s not uncommon for the movements of the Sun and the Moon to be associated with superstitions. When it comes to today’s ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse, it’s no different.

A solar eclipse is an astronomical event which leaves most people in awe and wonder. But, centuries ago when people could not explain the origin of such an event, it was seen as a bad omen.

From keeping pregnant women away from the glare to throwing out your pickles, here are some superstitions around the solar eclipse with no scientific evidence to back them up:
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1. It’s an ‘evil time’ — the Surya Grahan

According to Hindu mythology, the solar eclipse is the time when two serpent demons — Rahu and Ketu — are trying to eat up the Sun, in order to stifle all life on Earth. In some communities, people bang pots and pans during the span of the solar eclipse in order to keep the ‘demons’ at bay.

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Such beliefs aren’t only popular in India but in other cultures as well. In Vietnam, for example, people believe that the solar eclipse is when a giant frog devours the Sun. In Norse culture, it’s the wolves.

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In reality, it’s just the Moon passing in between the Sun and the Earth. It normally only lasts a few minutes — the longest solar eclipse hit seven and a half minutes. If it is demons, they’re not very good at keeping their food down.

2. Don’t eat anything!

Art of Living recommends not cooking or eating during the solar eclipse. They claim that since the Sun’s blue and ultraviolet radiation is a natural disinfectant, "the rays do not perform their usual role of cleansing our food" during an eclipse. A few people throw away pickled food as they believe than eclipse can "spoil" it.

The Astronomical Society of India (ASI) doesn’t agree. "It‘s just a play of shadows, the sun, moon and earth don’t change their basic nature. There is no change in the rays of suns; it is the same thing if a person stood in the shadow of a building," Aniket Sule during an outreach programme.
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Food does not go bad and if you’re having indigestion, you shouldn’t be blaming the Sun for your burps and farts.

3. Keep the pregnant women away

A common superstition during the solar eclipse is that pregnant women need to be shielded. The ‘harmful effects of the growth of microorganisms’ could have adverse effects. Another myth says that pregnant women shouldn’t hold knives and sharp objects because it could leave a birthmark on the child.

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"It does not have a basis in medical science but all our patients are saying that they won’t step out during the eclipse," said Anuradha Kapur, director and head of the gynaecology unit at the Max Hospital told Hindustan Times.

Kapur advises pregnant women to at least drink normally in order to avoid weakness that could harm the unborn child.

4. Don’t travel

While it’s true that you shouldn’t get distracted by the solar eclipse as you drive, there’s no scientific reason to restrict your travel during the celestial event.
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AAA recommends keeping a little extra distance from other cars and driving with the headlights on, but other than that — you’re good to go on the road.

See also:
Do's And Don'ts During Solar Eclipse, Surya Grahan – What You Must Know

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