Thursday, July 23, 2009

Superstitions haunt many when others watch solar eclipse

These Photots are taken from Panchagarh town

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Decades after landing on the moon by man, solar eclipse still remains a 'mystery' shrouded in superstitions and fear for multitudes of villagers in the northern areas.

While thousands of curious people including science enthusiasts and nature lovers busied themselves availing the rare occasion of full eclipse at Panchagarh town and other places of the northern district, many others remained inside their houses, maintaining strict rituals for 'protection from evils'.

Women have to remain indoors, refrain from doing any household jobs and eating or drinking during the entirety of the eclipse, said several villagers in Shalbahan, 30 kilometres from Panchagarh.

"During the eclipse a pregnant woman is virtually shielded by their relatives to protect her and the unborn baby from possible harm by some unknown power. This has been practised by my grandmother and other members of the family," said Jharna Begum, a housewife in Shalbahan.

"Pregnant women of our village were asked to stay indoors to prevent birth defects of their babies," said Shariful Islam, a farmer in Boda upazila.

"My mother asked me not to eat or drink anything for some hours around the eclipse," said Raju, who came to Panchagarh from Birampur in Dinajpur.

As darkness gripped the area with the sun disappearing behind a round black curtain under the shadow of the moon, hundreds of people waiting at the Zilla Stadium started pointing to the eastern sky.

Despite hindrance by the clouds, a large number of people watched the eclipse.

Several science enthusiasts used models of the sun, the moon and the earth to explain solar eclipse to interested people.

Sounds of prayer were heard as thousands of people gathered in the Zilla Stadium and many other places of the town.

The full eclipse starting from 7:56am lasted for three minutes and 58 seconds.

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