Monday, Feb. 07, 2011

The Inuit Moon and Sun Gods

The Inuit, a group of indigenous people who live in Alaska, Greenland and the Arctic, explain the existence of the sun and the moon with the legend of the moon god Anningan and his sister, the sun goddess Malina. The story goes that the two once resided together and, as siblings are wont to do, got into a quarrel one day. Malina stormed off. Anningan followed. Tales differ on the cause of the spat and whether or not Anningan was following to apologize or to argue some more. But because he is in constant pursuit, he neglects to eat and gets thinner and thinner, which explains the waning phase of the moon. When the moon disappears, the Inuit believe that Anningan has gone away to eat. Then, during the moon's waxing period, he starts his search anew. When he finally is able to catch up to Malina, it causes a solar eclipse.