English meaning of the festival
Grahan means eclipse. Chandra Grahan or lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly behind earth and into its shadow. Surya Grahan or solar eclipse happens when the moon passes before the sun and results in earth being covered in the ‘shadow of the moon’.
How the date is decided annually
The rules governing the calculation of eclipse are very complex. We rely on the panchang for these dates.
Significance of the festival to Hinduism
Solar and lunar eclipse are said to have a significant astrological impact. Since eclipse may result in emotional changes in human beings it is recommended that they practice meditation and deep breathing. This may result in the day going by easily.
How to observe/practice
The eclipse period should be spent in meditation. Meditation on the sun may strengthen the mind and body. It is recommended that no eating should be done during eclipse since both moon and human body are water and change in the moon may bring change in the brain and body. It has been recommended that some Doorva (Koos) grass is placed around all eatables to maintain their purity. Doorva Grass has the power of fighting the ill effect of the radiations which come to earth during the graham or eclipse. The chanting of Surya Mantra on the day of solar eclipse may increase self-confidence.
Synonyms between major Indian languages
Grahanam (Tamil, Telugu)