Chandra Grahan 2022: Why Do People Avoid Eating During Eclipse

Events like lunar and solar eclipse always inspire awe and intrigue among stargazers. While the phenomenon is pretty common, there’s a certain sense of discomfort associated with it as well. And this ‘paranoia’ is not just noticed in India. Many people like to stay indoors during the eclipse, and even meditate. Another very common practice followed in India is that of fasting. That’s right, a lot of people do not consume food or even a drop of water until the eclipse is over. But why?

Chandra Grahan or lunar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon, and earth align, and the Moon passes into earth’s shadow. This is the second lunar eclipse of the year that will be occurring on November 8. During the eclipse, the moon will pass into umbra, the darkest region of earth’s shadow, causing a phenomenon, called ‘Blood Moon’, giving moon a reddish tinge during the process.  

The grahan will be visible from different parts of the country including Delhi, Ranchi, Noida, Gurugram, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Patna, Vapi, Vijapur, Mumbai, Bhopal, Raipur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, and Pune. The eclipse will start from 5.32 pm and end at 6.18 pm.

Why Do People Fast During Eclipse? 

Even though modern-day scientists have dispelled many of these beliefs, the logic behind the same is said to go back to the ancient, pagan societies that worshipped heavenly bodies like the sun and the moon, their close association with nature and natural elements, made them see eclipse as an unholy, inauspicious aberration. In those few hours of darkness, bugs and pests would come out and infest the food, rendering everything else unfit to consume during the eclipse, and after the grahan, the existing, ‘contaminated’ food had to be tossed out. During the hours of grahan, people would fast and pray, and right after the grahan, they’d take the bath and then prepare fresh food.  

While today, with the advent of refrigerators and other modern kitchen appliances, contamination of food is no longer a concern for many, but many people still refrain from eating anything owing to the tradition. 

There are many other food-related that are followed during this time,  like no fresh-food is prepared during this time, and no pre-cooked food is permissible to consume. Many people toss in a  tulsi leaf in pre-cooked food, so that it counteracts with harmful effects of the eclipse, and is thus edible even after. Light, but wholesome meals can be consumed sometime before eclipse, while elderly or sick people can consume satvik food during the eclipse too.