Surya Grahan 2022: What To Eat During The Solar Eclipse

Today on the 25th of October, 2022, India is set to experience a partial solar eclipse that will be visible in Europe, the Middle East, north-eastern parts of Africa, western Asia, the North Atlantic Ocean, and the North Indian Ocean. Most parts of India will also be able to witness the phenomenon, except a few states in the northeast region.

A partial solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when it intersects between the earth and the sun. This year, the eclipse will be visible in India for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes and will be visible from most cities from 4:29 pm onwards depending on where you are. 

While it’s a fascinating scientific phenomenon, the solar eclipse also has a strong impact on people’s lives from a religious context. There are many beliefs and rituals that surround the event and people avoid eating or cooking during this time since it is thought that any food touched by these rays is inauspicious and leads to illness and disease. 

One lore behind this is rooted in logic passed down through generations. Before early man began living in shelters and existed at the mercy of the elements the time of the eclipse would come with drastic consequences. For those hours of darkness, pests and bugs would thrive and get into any food that was already prepared, thus contaminating it. Even though in our modern conditions, this is no longer a concern, the tradition has stayed with us. 

It is also thought that harmful ultraviolet rays are emitted during this time and adding Tulsi leaves to food and bathwater can help counteract that as well as any contamination. As well as possessing numerous medicinal properties, tulsi contains mercury that eliminates the effects of ultraviolet rays emitted during eclipses. Tulsi also removes many types of health problems and helps in keeping all food items safe and maintains their purity.

Here are some general rules that are followed during the solar eclipse or Surya Grahan that need to be kept in mind. 

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything during this period. 
  • No food should be prepared in the house either.
  • According to the Skanda Purana even serving pre-cooked food will invite bad health.
  • Two hours prior to the eclipse a light, easy-to-digest meal can be taken. 
  • Children, pregnant woman, elderly and patients can eat sattvic food during the eclipse as long as it contains Tulsi leaves. 

Though a lot of these superstitions have long been debunked by science, with NASA even weighing in on the validity of these fears, the richness of the culture lives on. Many people will follow the old traditions today and observe the rituals that have become India’s legacy.