Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Eclipse And Culture

Across the centuries, the sun's eclipse has been considered as an evil or a bad omen.

The early cultures saw the sun as a life-giver in its unfailing everyday appearance. So, something that could actually undo the sun was naturally reckoned as a terribly bad event filled with foreboding. Despite the awareness of the true nature of this natural phenomena in contemporary living, many people continue to beat drums, gongs, pots and pans or fire guns into the air or simply hide indoors. The event has been associated with calamities ranging from wars, floods and famines to political upheavals and personal misfortune.

In Thailand, lucky objects are bought to ward off evil omens during the eclipse. Since black is the colour of Rahu (the demon of darkness), devotees in Thailand buy up black chicken, black liquor, black beans, black eggs, black rice and black joss sticks.

In India, during the time of the eclipse, food is neither eaten nor cooked. Many believe that when the rays of the sun don't touch the earth, the number of germs increase. All food cooked before the eclipse is, therefore, thrown away.In India, people immerse themselves in water up to the neck in an act of cleansing. They believe that a simultaneous act of worship would help the sun fight the beast of the demon called the Rahu, that is believed to devour the sun. .Pregnant women refrain from cutting and sewing during the eclipse.Since they believed the child to be born will posses some deformity.

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