Is it safe to cook or eat during a solar eclipse?

Total solar eclipse
Representative image: iStock/Pitris

The highly anticipated total solar eclipse of 2024, a rare celestial event where the moon will completely cover the sun, casting a shadow on the Earth's surface, is set to occur on April 8, Monday. It will commence at 9:12 pm IST on Monday, reach totality at 10:08 pm, and conclude at 2:22 am on Tuesday. It will be visible across a narrow path that stretches from Mexico, across the United States, and into Canada.

Solar eclipses are natural astronomical events that occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. While solar eclipses can be awe-inspiring celestial events to watch, there is no evidence to suggest that they have any direct impact on food safety or cooking.

India street food
Representative image: iStock/Travel Wild

In India, there are traditional beliefs surrounding eclipses, including solar eclipses, that vary across different regions and communities. Some people believe that consuming food or water during an eclipse can be harmful or inauspicious due to the perceived influence of negative energy associated with the event.

Some people avoid eating believing that the rays of the eclipse can contaminate cooked food, making it impure or unhealthy to consume. There is a belief that food or water left uncovered during a solar eclipse also might “absorb negative energy from the eclipse”, which can affect its quality. Therefore, it's common to cover or protect food items during an eclipse. Many people choose to avoid eating non-vegetarian food during a solar eclipse as it is considered inauspicious.

Some individuals won't consume food prepared before the beginning of the eclipse, believing that it would be affected by the eclipse's energy. Instead, they choose to eat freshly prepared food after the eclipse has ended. In certain traditions, it's recommended to avoid consuming fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, or pickles during a solar eclipse. There is a belief that the fermentation process may be negatively affected by the eclipse's energy.

Annular Solar Eclipse
Annular Solar Eclipse. Photo: Shutterstock

However, it's important to note that these beliefs are rooted in cultural and religious traditions rather than scientific truth. From a scientific perspective, there is no harm in eating or drinking during a solar eclipse.

Individuals are free to choose whether or not to follow these dietary guidelines during a solar eclipse based on their beliefs and customs. It's important to respect and understand diverse cultural practices while also considering scientific knowledge and principles. If you have any concerns, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional.

As always, it's essential to prioritise food safety and hygiene practices when consuming food and beverages. Ensure that food is prepared, stored, and handled properly to prevent food-borne illnesses, regardless of any eclipse-related beliefs.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.