Lunar eclipse harmful for pregnant women? Legends, myths, omen linked to rare celestial phenomenon

Super Moon
A full moon is seen during a lunar eclipse in Beijing, China January 31, 2018. Reuters

For stargazers around the world, yesterday's sky was a sight to cherish 'once in a blue moon' indeed. The sky was decked up with a Supermoon, Super Blue Blood Moon and the first lunar eclipse of 2018. The blue moon appeared almost after 150 years.

For some it was a sight to treasure for a lifetime and for some it was an evil omen. Even though it is the 21st century where we are getting Robocop cars and Elon Musk's Hyperloop to take us to places in minutes, we are still not relieved of myths and superstitions attached to solar or lunar eclipses.

Hungry demons, ravens, jaguars, evil spirits are some of the folk legends attached to the moon's disappearance during an eclipse. In Hindu tradition, the demon Rahu swallows the sun, thus, leading to the solar eclipse and the demon Ketu swallows the moon, thus, causing a lunar eclipse. As a must, all temples in India are kept closed during an eclipse.

Rahu in Wat Chiangkang Sarapee Chiang Mai Thailand Wikimedia Commons

According to one of the beliefs, eating during a lunar eclipse can cause indigestion. The myth around this superstition is that drinking or eating during this phase can apparently ingest the harmful rays in one's body. People also keep tulsi leaves or holy leaves in their food to keep the food protected. However, researchers claim that eclipse is not related to a person's health in any way.

For pregnant women too, lunar eclipse is not a great time. They are stopped from leaving the house as that can result in deformity in the baby, cleft lips or any form of disorder. However, it is absolutely safe for pregnant women to watch an eclipse, say scientists.

Blood apparently does not stop flowing after one gets a cut during a lunar eclipse. The bleeding takes a longer time to stop and leaves a scar for a lifetime. Scientifically speaking, time taken for a wound to heal depends on the person and not the moon.

Solar eclipse

After the eclipse is over, people are asked to wash their hair and take a bath as they believe that the negative energy will be washed away.

In Chinese mythology it is believed that a dragon swallows the moon and in order to drive the dragon away the Chinese make loud noises by smashing pots and banging mirrors. Until 19th century even cannons were fired into the sky. People of ancient Japan associated lunar eclipse with natural disasters.

Lunar Eclipse
The rising moon is seen during a partial lunar eclipse behind the chimney stacks of an electric power station in Delimara, outside the village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, August 7, 2017. Reuters

In Islam lunar eclipse is not ominous. It apparently has a connection with Allah and during this period, Muslims pray and bow down to the moon. They recite their special lunar eclipse prayer salutul-kusaf.

In Christian mythology crucifixion of Jesus is connected to lunar eclipse and is associated with the Judgement day. Some believe that 'blood moon' is the sign of the second coming of Christ.

These ancient interpretations of the lunar eclipse originated from astronomical beliefs and superstitions. Whether or not it is a bad omen, no one can afford to miss such a rare phenomena that comes once in a blue moon literally.

Read more