ETHNOASTRONOMY IN DAMIANA L. EUGENIO’S PHILIPPINE FOLK LITERATURE, THE MYTHS, PART 3

The Origin of the Stars, An Adaptation

Posted on August 2, 2017

According to legend, hundreds of years ago there were no stars.  The ruler of the day was the sun called Araw, a strong and powerful god.

Buan, the moon, was the rival god who was supposed to rule during the night.  But Buan was ambitious.  He wanted to rule during both the day and the night.

One day, Lihangin, the god of the wind, and the friend of both Araw and Buan, went to visit Araw to warm himself.

“I don’t like what Buan is doing,” Araw confided to Lihangin.

“Why?”asked Lihangin.

“Because he intrudes into my kingdom!  The day is my kingdom but can you see him during the day?  Can you?  Of course he appears even during the day!”

Lihangin decided to play the role of mediator between the two quarrelling gods.  He went to Buan.

“Buan,” Lihangin said.  “Araw is angry with you,” he continued.

“Why,” Buan answered.

“Because he says you are intruding into his territory.  You are supposed to appear only during the night, and yet you appear even during part of the day which is Araw’s kingdom,” Lihangin explains.

“I will think about it,” Buan replied.

“As Araw is fair to you then you should also be fair to him,” Lihangin said.  “It is unfair on your part to intrude into his territory,”  Lihangin added.

“I have talked to him,” Lihangin told Araw when he returned to the latter’s kingdom.

And yet Buan continued to appear during part of the day, sometimes in the afternoon and sometimes in the morning.  A confrontation between the two gods was inevitable.  As Buan was stubborn despite warnings from Araw, they fought.

Araw took a swing and hit Buan badly.  Parts of his body were struck off, leaving a darkened portion on his face.  The stricken parts were scattered in the sky.  And these became the stars.  Buan could no longer shine as brightly as he did formerly.

Damiana Eugenio says “Such was the origin of the stars.”

Some Notes:

The Sun is supposed to be seen during the day, and the Moon should appear during the night.  Even the Bible says so in many passages that this is supposed to be the case, like what is written in Psalm 136:7-9

To Him who made the great lights, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: The sun to rule by day, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, the moon and stars to rule by night, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

But this is not always the case.  As a matter of fact, we can see the moon for the entire night long only when it is full!  According to earthsky.org, we can see the moon during day time.  This website suggests the following when we want to see the moon during day time:

So when can you see the moon in the daytime? Basically, you need three things to see the daytime moon:

  • Look within a week or so of the date of full moon.
  • Before full moon, look for the daytime moon in the afternoon.
  • After full moon, look for the daytime moon in the morning.
  • Look up! The daytime moon is often up there, but it’s pale against the blue sky.

But even the Sun can be seen during the night!  People in Norway have a Midnight Sun Festival.  Here they celebrate this event which happens during from May to July, a pretty long celebration.

Transcentral.tv

But what is the midnight sun? Here is the entry from the Wikipedia:

“The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Around the summer solstice (approximately 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere and 22 December in the Southern Hemisphere) the sun is visible for the full 24 hours, given fair weather. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the farther towards either pole one goes. Although approximately defined by the polar circles, in practice the midnight sun can be seen as much as 55 miles (90 km) outside the polar circle, as described below, and the exact latitudes of the farthest reaches of midnight sun depend on topography and vary slightly year-to-year.
Because there are no permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle, apart from research stations, the countries and territories whose populations experience the midnight sun are limited to those crossed by the Arctic Circle: the Canadian Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, and the nations of Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the State of Alaska in the United States. A quarter of Finland’s territory lies north of the Arctic Circle, and at the country’s northernmost point the sun does not set at all for 60 days during summer. In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. The extreme sites are the poles, where the sun can be continuously visible for half the year. The North Pole has midnight sun for 6 months from late March to late September.”

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