According to the CNN article, pregnant women don’t want to give birth on the day of the eclipse and there are even some critically ill patients who don’t want to be in the hospital on that day.
In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to “swallow” the sun during eclipses, snuffing out its life-giving light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable.
Indian astrologers are going out of their way to make dire predictions about violence and fear that will rise in the wake of the eclipse.
Here’s what’s killing me, guys. The news outlets are covering these things almost like they are fact.Â More after the fold.
For example, the CNN article quotes “remedial astrologer,” R.K. Sharma:
A solar eclipse, he says, weakens the sun god temporarily because of an encounter with dragon Rahu and leaves some cascading results everywhere.
“Bathing in holy rivers and ponds during this time thus helps protect health and develop positivism and greater will power,” he explained.
He explained? That’s an explanation?
I get the sense that media tends to focus on the crazy in stories like this because at some level, we *like* to read about how those crazy furriners believe all that ridiculous stuff.
When I checked the Times of India for eclipse stories, I found this article, which said:
For three minutes and four seconds on Wednesday morning, an ethereal blue-grey darkness descended on this eternal city of light. To the east across the Ganga, it was like Godâ€™s own eye flashing in the sky above, giving pilgrims, bathers and eclipse-watchers in the jam-packed ghats sights they are unlikely to forget in their lifetimes. While clouds blotted out the view in most other places in India, the centuryâ€™s most spectacular total eclipse of the Sun was witnessed in full glory in holy Benaras.
And this articleÂ which talks about the difficulties with crowd control during the eclipse. It sure doesn’t *sound* like people were hiding from it.
This article too, talks about the various astronomers and stargazers in India who are ‘eclipse chasing’ and using the event to teach astronomy.
â€œAstronomy is the easiest way to explain science to common people â€“ because they can easily see the moon and the stars,â€ said Sunita Mukherjee, an amateur astronomer and spokesperson for the Athenaeum. The eclipse flight is a splashy stunt for the group, but most of its work is done in schools, trying to interest kids in science through looking at the sky.
Are there superstitious people in India who are scared of the eclipse? Probably. But as with anything, let’s be skeptical and not assume it’s all of them!