There are many superstitious practices around lunar eclipses that inform people what to do and what not to do. One of the most famous practices is to avoid consuming food during this time.
However, in Mangaluru, the Federation of Indian Rationalist Association (FIRA) celebrated the super-moon eclipse on Wednesday in a unique way - by distributing and gorging on sweets and savouries.
Since the lunar eclipse was predicted to occur between 7 pm and 9 pm, the FIRA decided to distribute eatables at the same time.
Ironically, a few temples in the city had announced that they would not serve prasadam during the eclipse.
FIRA’s president Narendra Nayak called the popular superstitions associated with lunar eclipse unscientific and illogical.
"We chose that particular time as we wanted the poisonous rays of the eclipse to fall on the food," Narendra remarked, tongue-in-cheek.
He added that the eclipse is just when the sun, moon and the earth are in one line, with the earth in the middle.
"Even a primary school student will describe the phenomenon as the same. However, the predictors of doom would look to it as a golden opportunity to practice their age-old profession of making fools of people. They predict all sorts of calamities for the species in general," he said.
Narendra stated that astrologers predict special effects for people whose stars under which they are born falls within certain days before and after the event.
"Apparently these specially affected people need more protection and propitiation of the powers. So more rituals are prescribed for them. But even after these pooja's, the predictors say that the ill-effects cannot be entirely warded off, but only mitigated," he said.
Another superstitious practice is telling pregnant women to stay indoors for the safety of their child. As per what is commonly believed, the child will die in the womb or will have deformities.
According to Narendra, a pregnant woman came out in support of the rationalists and in turn 'exposed' herself to the ‘deadly radiations’ emanating from eclipse.
He further rebuked astrologers for encouraging people to dispose of water stored in their homes as the water would have been contaminated.
"If this were true, then what miracle protects the millions of litres of waters in wells, rivers, tanks and rivers. How does small container at home get contaminated when large reservoirs are unaffected. Such predictions are stupid," he said.
It’s not the first time that the Narendra has taken on astrologers and soothsayers. For several years now, he has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh prior to polls to anyone who can predict the results of the poll. However, he said that no one has won the reward to date.
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