HINDU FASTS & FESTIVALS : 28-2-2-1.
28- Vara Lakshmi Vrata-2-2-1.
2- Special Observances - The Eclipse-1.
WHEN THE gods and the demons churned the milky ocean in days of yore, nectar came out of it.
Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini, a charming lady, deluded the demons and distributed the nectar only among the gods.
But Rahu had disguised himself as a god.
The sun and the moon pointed this out to Mohini who immediately slashed off the demon’s head.
Since the nectar had by then already reached up to the neck, he did not die.
Thus the head came to be known as Rahu and the body as Ketu.
To avenge this betrayal, Rahu and Ketu periodically eclipse the sun and the moon.
Astronomically speaking, when the sun, the moon and the earth are all in line, with the moon or the earth at the centre, a solar or lunar eclipse takes place respectively.
At the time of the eclipse, people bathe in the sacred rivers.
They do charitable acts.
They give cows, money and gold.
The day after the eclipse they feed the poor, the Brahmins and the Sadhus.
After the eclipse they clean their houses, vessels, etc., and take a bath before they start cooking.
To be continued .....