Have sex, sit on animals or just go to bed — busting myths around the do's and don'ts of lunar eclipse

Don't let the lunar eclipse keep you from getting a full night's sleepUnsplash

  • The first lunar eclipse of 2020 will occur on January 10.
  • Unlike during a solar eclipse, it’s perfectly safe to look at a lunar eclipse without any protective gear.
  • Here’s what to do, and what not to do, during a lunar eclipse.
The Moon — a celestial object that’s been in our sky since before the dawn of humans. While science can now explain that a lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes in between the Sun and the Moon, that was not always the case.

Ancient cultures and societies had their own theories as to when the Moon disappeared from the night sky. According to Hindu scriptures, Ved Vyas, a lunar eclipse is when the demon god — Rahu — holds the Sun and the Moon by the mouth. And since, he’s a ‘demon’ god, the celestial event emits a lot of negative energy.

Some of those stories have turned into superstitions that still persist today.

Here are some of the most popular myths associated with the lunar eclipse, and why they don’t pose a threat:

You should take a bath after the ‘lunar eclipse’.
Some religious entities suggest that not only should you take a bath after a lunar eclipse, but you should just do it with your clothes on — in cold water.

In reality, the penumbral lunar eclipse on January 10 will be no different than any other Full Moon. In fact, since only a light shadow will fall on the Moon, it will be difficult for casual onlookers to even notice the difference.

In case you haven’t taken a bath in over a week, maybe you should take one anyway — superstition or not.

Avoid eating food during this time. If you do, observe fast for three days.
Not only is your body under threat from the ‘negative energy’ of a lunar eclipse, but so is your food. Some more modern institutions say that food is exposed to excess UV and cosmic rays.

However, the UV and other light particles breaching the Earth’s atmosphere won’t be any different on the night of the lunar eclipse. Your achaars and your leftovers are safe from the rays of the Moon.

Avoid intercourse.
Yeah, don’t have sex during the night of the lunar eclipse, says astrologer Soniyaa Bhagiyaa. “In the Hindu shastras, this event is considered to be an extremely inauspicious one, and consequently, the eclipses or grahans are believed to be a sign of bad omen,” she told DNA.

However, science says that if you’re having an off night in bed, it had nothing to do with the Moon.

You should not sleep during the duration of the eclipse.
So you can’t eat, you can’t have sex — and you’re not allowed to sleep either. Three pretty major activities have been cut out of the equation if you’re superstitious.

On the other hand, January 10 is a Friday. Most people won’t necessarily have to wake up early the next day.

Avoid sitting on an animal.
You should avoid doing that even if it’s not a lunar eclipse.

This superstition is the only one that comes the closest to making sense. Can the darkening of the Moon affect animal behaviour? The answer is yes — and no.

A study in 2010 found that Azara’s owl monkeys stopped looking for food during the lunar eclipse. They’re unsure why but believe that it was either because they struggled to see the food or felt too unnerved by the sudden darkness.

Only very few animals are affected by the lunar eclipse and they’re unlikely anything you’re going to ‘sit’ on.

See also:
'Wolf Moon' lunar eclipse this Friday will have werewolves looking to form packs — or so the myth says

Lunar eclipse on January 10 won't be a Super Moon — Here's why

There will be four lunar eclipses in 2020 - starting this week

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