The moon, the brightest object in the night sky! It is a source of beauty and wonder. From times immemorial, we humans have loved and admired its presence. But, every year there are days when it is beautiful in its absence: a Lunar Eclipse!
A Lunar Eclipse is a natural phenomenon which occurs when the sun, the earth, and the moon align. The earth blocks the light of the sun from reaching the moon, casting a shadow over it. Depending on where you are on earth you can see the total or a partial lunar eclipse.
For centuries in India, eclipses were treated with mistrust and sometimes outright fear. Myths about the effect of the eclipsed moon on humans and the things around them left people unable to truly enjoy this spectacle. But eclipses make a great excuse to get together and celebrate! It also helps when one conveniently occurs on a Friday night. Indeed, the next total lunar eclipse visible from India is on the 27th of July, a Friday. In fact, the moon will have a characteristic red colour which is why it is called a “Blood Moon Eclipse.”
So if you want to organise a fun eclipse event within your apartment complex, here are some fun ideas to try out.
1) Light outs
To truly enjoy the night sky, darkness is a prerequisite. So turn off all the unnecessary lights and look up. The splendour of the heavens is yours to behold! If you prefer, also turn off all the electronics and enjoy the sounds of the night. This also has the added advantage of saving electricity and reducing light pollution (if only for one day).
Not only is it the night of a total lunar eclipse, on 27th July, but the planet Mars will also be exceptionally bright. This is because it is the closest the red planet has been to earth in decades. If you have access to one, try to organise for a telescope. It may also be a good idea to bring a few pairs of binoculars to watch the eclipse. However, if none of these options is available, your mobile’s app store has an excellent collection of free apps. These apps can help you easily locate planets, stars, and constellations in the night sky.
What really brings a party to life is food. What is better than mom’s homemade cooking? Every mom’s homemade cooking! Have each of your guests contribute to the buffet for the evening. Potlucks are a fun way to have the whole family cooking to bring a crazy variety of food to the communal dinner table.
4) Storytelling and poetry jams
While your entire society is gathered together why not have a few competitions? The moon has always been a muse to artists worldwide. Give the literary artists among you a chance to shine with original stories or poems about it. If you wish, you can also request the elders to tell everyone old legends and folktales. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good story, right?
Let’s face it, sitting out in the open, late into the night can get a tad chilly. A bonfire is a fun solution to this problem. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area, and the wood is sufficiently dry. Get all your neighbours to sit around a fire singing songs and telling stories. Bonus points if they are about the moon!
6) Antakshari night
Speaking of singing songs, what can be better than the favourite Indian pass time- Antakshari. Divide your family and neighbours into two teams and belt out your favourite soundtracks under the waning light of the moon.
A Lunar Eclipse is a heavenly treat for everybody. This one is going to be the longest total eclipse in the century! What’s more, it is perfectly aligned with a weekend. So why not make it truly memorable? Go ahead, gather every person in your own apartment complex! Have a happy eclipse!