Traditions vs science

Lakshmi Kothaneth

The eclipses in 2020 turned out to be yet another learning experience.

The missing of the sun or the moon even for a few seconds creates a variety of emotions even today so we can imagine what it would have been like thousands of years.

Take planting for example. Apparently seeds absorb more water during the full moon nights. And this is because more moisture is pulled to the surface of the soil during a new moon or full moon – apparently this results in the germination of the seed.

When it comes to solar and lunar eclipses the rules are a bit different. We are asked not to go out during the solar eclipse and not to eat during that period. During the lunar eclipse we are asked not to have food during that time. Yesterday although it was a full moon it was also a lunar eclipse and as always one group of my friends were urging me to enjoy the sight of the full Moon, Jupiter and Saturn (forming a triangle) and the other group was advising me not to look at the moon because it was going through the eclipse even if it was not visible in Oman.

So did I lose an opportunity? Breaking from traditions is hard as well even though it is brushed aside as superstitions. It is interesting to explore why it is a challenging task to move ahead from traditions.

Could it be that we have a comfort in following traditions as it has been tested and practiced for generations or is it just easy to follow what has been established? Could it be that many have felt there is a truth to ancient knowledge?

My personal experience to go out and cover a solar eclipse must have been comical for my colleagues but standing on the hill surrounded with light was surreal.

I ended up seeing my first solar eclipses through the solar glasses on June 21, 2020. It was exciting but only gave a sigh of relief after reaching home. But it is one threshold crossed but does not mean I have closed the doors to traditions of solar eclipse.

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