Lunar Eclipse to occur today, 5 June 2020, at 11.15 pm IST: Some folklore and myths that surround this celestial events
Some Hindu folktales interpret lunar eclipses as the result of the demon Rahu drinking the elixir of immortality.
Lunar eclipse or Chandra Grahan will occur on the intervening night of 5 and 6 June. This is the second of the four penumbral lunar eclipses of 2020.
Eclipses have fascinated humans for centuries. Civilizations have blamed a number of things for the sudden disappearance and appearance of the celestial body.
To the Incas, an eclipse indicated that a jaguar was attacking and eating the moon. Ancient Mesopotamians too saw lunar eclipses as an assault on Earth’s satellite.
Hupa, a Native American tribe from northern California, believed that the moon had 20 wives and a lot of pets. When the moon did not bring enough food for the pets, they attacked and made him bleed.
The tribe believed that the eclipse ended when the moon's wives came in to protect him, collecting and restoring him to health.
However, these are not the only myths and superstitions associated with the phenomenon.
Some Hindu folktales interpret lunar eclipses as the result of the demon Rahu drinking the elixir of immortality. The sun and the moon promptly decapitate Rahu, but his head remains immortal since he has consumed the elixir. Seeking revenge, Rahu's head chases the sun and the moon and if he catches them, we have an eclipse. Rahu swallows the moon which reappears out of his severed neck.
Many people in India believe a lunar eclipse bears ill-fortune. Food and water are covered and cleansing rituals are performed after the eclipse ends. A report by NDTV says that there is an age-old myth that one must avoid eating and drinking during the time of an eclipse.
Though there is no scientific reason behind this, it is believed that strong ultraviolet rays are emitted and food cooked and consumed during the time becomes poisonous.
Pregnant women are asked to remain inside and not venture out of the house as it is believed that harmful rays emitted during the time of an eclipse can harm the baby.
Also, it is believed that a simple cut, wound or injury during the time of the eclipse will not heal properly and its scar may remain lifelong.
A report by the Times of India says that it is believed that the food which is cooked before lunar eclipse also gets contaminated. Therefore, people throw away or avoid consuming pre-cooked food after the eclipse passes.
The penumbral lunar eclipse, which will occur on 5-6 June is popularly called the 'Strawberry Moon Eclipse'. During ‘Strawberry Moon Eclipse’, 57 percent of the moon is expected to pass into the Earth’s penumbra.
In New Delhi, the eclipse will begin from 5 June at 11.15 pm. It will continue till 6 June, at 02.34 am. The maximum eclipse will be visible on 6 June, 12:54 am. The total duration of the eclipse is three hours and 18 minutes.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves into the Earth’s shadow and light from the Sun cannot fall on the moon.
The entire lunar eclipse will be active for a total duration of 5 hours and 34 minutes
Unlike some of the other eclipses, penumbral lunar eclipses are very subtle events to observe.