I. THE STARS
1. The Origin of the Stars
Judging from the accumulated information Lithuanians could have considered that the stars are small holes in the hard dome of the sky through which the light sieves on to the Earth from the heavenly world. It seems that Lithuanians as many other nations thought that above the dome there stretch another world where the pattern of life is very similar. Therefore the stars are called the windows of the people living in this other world. In Lithuania folk riddles the stars often are compared to the windows in the roof (the sky) and the holes of the sieve. In the riddle the stars are also compared to the curd thrust into the bowl (the heaven), sometimes compared to the crumbs or wrecks. Sometimes the stars are compared to the large number of sheep, which are shepherded by an old shepherd with horns-the Moon. In folk mind the stars are ‘‘the eyes of the angels’‘, ‘‘angels’‘, ‘‘the eyes of the night", "the eyes of the wolf","the daughters of the Moon and the Sun’‘, ‘‘the lights of God’‘, ‘‘the tears of the God's mother's Mary’‘. Sometimes the stars are associated with the stones and called the stones of the sky, it is believed that the sky is a turned down bowl, which is clad with the sparkling stones, stars.
The origin of the stars is associated with the divine activity. In Raseiniai they used to say that ‘‘the God goes along and thrusts fork into the sky’‘ or that God spilt coal embers in the sky and every piece was given its name. It is also said that the stars appeared when the God's mother Mary cried about her crucified son Christ.
Sometimes the stars are compared to the fiery balls. It was believed that they are very hot and if one fell down the whole sea would evaporate. The Greek philosophers imagined the stars similarly. For example, Parmenides and Heraclites in the 6th century BC thought them to be fire spheres. This heavenly fire image may well be associated with the image known to Lithuanians that of the burning candles in the sky.
A certain group of Lithuanian country folk still believes that every person has a star. The saying goes: ''As many stars in the sky so many men on the Earth’‘. When a baby is born his star lights up in the sky. The stars of honest, good believers in God, rich and bright people are very bright and the stars of gloomy, non-believers, poor- dim, hardly visible. To count the stars and to point one's finger to a star is not allowed because you may point to your own star and it will drop, then you will die.
It is obvious that it was believed that the stars have the function of the guardian angels. When a person is alive the star guards and keeps the spirit in the body and after death the star shows, lights up the path for the soul to transfer it to its place in the posthumous world.