There is a reason for every old custom, but the reason is forgotten and the custom remains but in a twisted form! Its the same here. Its better to study deeper and understand the basic cause or tenet behind such customs than to blindly debunk or redicule every old custom.
During an eclipse, the Sun, Earth and Moon are in one straight line for some time. As a result, the combined magnetic force is strongest and its increased impact can be seen easily by the high tides produced in the ocean.
During an eclipse, it has been customary in the ancient times to meditate deeply as the increased biomagnetism in the body caused by the increased celestial magnetic field makes it very conducive to achieve best results from a deep meditation. And deep meditation requires one to have an empty stomach during meditation so that one can get a really deep sensation going down to Beta or Theta levels.
It is only because EVERYONE used to meditate as a group during an eclipse (as it was felt that it would help to secure a release for the Son or Moon Deva from the Demon Rahu’s grip), that the practice of observing mass fast from a few hours before meditation started.
As time went by and due to the Britishers destroying all our ancient records, we had lost sight of the real reasons and started doing everything with blind faith. So it is a genuine activity with a wrong belief!!!
If you don’t want to meditate and not get benefitted during the eclipse, then you are indeed free to indulge!!
But if you have learnt meditation then try doing it during the peak of the eclipse (I.e. when the moon is about to be eclipsed fully by the earth) and see the difference for yourself…
Nothing like experiencing it yourself !!