Last night’s lunar eclipse coincided with the northern winter solstice or the shortest day of the year, for only the second time in two thousand and ten years. The first time these events coincided since the year 1 A.D. was on 21st December 1638 that is 372 years ago. And it is projected that the next coincidence would be after 84 years on 21st December 2094. This of course would be long after I have gone.
Eclipses are considered inauspicious in India, not only the duration of the eclipse but the day of the eclipse. Several purification ceremonies and rituals are practiced as a process of purification after an eclipse. In spite of such superstitions few of us in India enjoy watching eclipses by taking necessary precautions. So last night’s eclipse was a disappointment as it was not visible in India.
The purpose of my writing on this event is not only to share the above interesting information but to express my surprise at the superstitions of some communities in the western world too; regarding last night’s celestial coincidence. I understand that some people see it as a sign from God, a sign for something good or bad to happen. Some see it as an indication of chaos in the near future. People all over the world seem to be superstitious and have very wild imagination. In India we overcome these fears through some religious purification ceremonies, the simplest being a head bath followed by praying.
We should just think and watch an eclipse as a beautiful and extremely rare occurrence without going into the possibilities of anything bad. That is the best and happiest way to see and enjoy the world above us and around us.