The commonly held belief among most tribes in the Andaman Islands is that the sun is the wife of the moon and the stars are their children. However the stories vary from tribe to tribe and region to region.

In the North Andaman the moon is Maia Dula or Maia Cirikli and the sun is Mimi Diu. Their children the stars are divided into groups of large and small constellations, the larger ones are referred to by a term (Catlo) that is also the name of a species of finely marked beetle. The small group is named after the common fire-fly (katafi). The moon is identified as female in some tribes as Dula and her husband is named Maia Tok. The sun is a separate entity in these myths, a male figure called Diu or Torodiu.

The moon is often portrayed as a short tempered goddess, she frowns upon her people lighting a fire at the time that she is making her first appearance in the sky for instance. So the tribes people in nearly all parts of the islands make sure that the fires are just smoldering and not in full flame during sundown. She does not object, however, to the fires being lit when she has climbed to a high point in the sky.

The Andamanese legends also have a creator goddess, of a superhuman size and strength. She is said to have created fire and also helped in the creation of all mankind.

While most Occidental mythologies have the moon as a female and the sun as a male, the Germanic tribes are an exception. The genders change in a quite a few myths from the Orient. In Japan, the moon is a male figure – he is the god Tsukoyami and the sun is a goddess Amaterasu. Sin is the male moon god in Mesopotamian culture.

 

Story collected by: Arundhuti Dasgupta

Location: Andaman Islands

Source: The Andaman islanders: a study in social anthropology by Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown

Image Source: Wikimedia