Artist's depiction of the Sun god, Maui.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image
Maui was a hero of Polynesian mythology. For Maui and his mother the days were
too short. For them, there was never enough time to accomplish anything in only
one day. Maui wanted to allow his mother to have more daylight to make bark
cloth. He thought that if the Sun were moving slower across the sky,
there would be more hours of light in one day.
So, Maui cut off the sacred
tresses of his wife, Hina, to make a rope that would not burn in the Sun.
With his rope he caught the Sun as it was rising and beat it with the magic
jawbone of his grandmother. The Sun was so weak after the beating that it could not run but only creep along its course. In this way, sunlight lasted longer,
and it was possible to work more during the day.
Maui was small but very heroic. In one tale, he desired the art of making fire. Maui stole a hen from heaven because fire was guarded by the celestial chicken.
The trickster god was always trying to impress women. According to one myth, Maui was making an earth oven when his poker got stuck in the sky. At that time, the sky was much lower than it is now. To get more room, Maui simply pushed the sky up. He did this to impress a lady.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god for the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four directions, or cardinal points, are supported by a giant. Each direction is symbolized...more
Amphitrite was one of the sea-nymphs called the Nereids. One day the sea god Poseidon saw her dancing and fell desperately in love with her. He promptly asked her to marry him but unfortunately she refused....more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. To the perfection of her figure and the purity of her features she added an innocent grace. On her sweet face she...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera swore to kill Heracles, the most famous Greek...more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more
According to Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the mischievous behavior of the god, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars in the...more