The Cherokee Moons and Honored Days

This is the Harvest Moon

This is the time of the Great New Moon Ceremony when thanks is given to the Earth Mother, Mother Selu, Lord Kanati, and the Creator. The Great New Moon Ceremony is held in this month as this is the first month of the civil calendar. The Great New Moon marks that beginning. It is believed by many that humans were created during this moon.
The Friends Made Ceremony is also held during this time. This month marks the end of the harvest. There are many things which we celebrate during this time one of which is the totality of the Harvest. The Harvest is celebrated three times a year; it’s beginning is celebrated in Galoni, it’s midpoint is celebrated in Dulisdi, and its ending is celebrated in Dunin(v)di.
This is a time to look upon our actions during the year and their consequences, and then to proceed into the new year remembering what we have learned. This is a good time to keep forgiveness in mind and a great time to be thankful. We are also reminded during this month that the cycle is not at an end. How we proceed into the new year is up to us, but always remember the harvest for better or for worse will come.

Nv-da-de-wi/ Nv-da-de-qua
This is referred to as the Trading Moon

It is the last month of the Fall season. The Bounding Bush Ceremony is held celebrating and enjoying the last of Fall, fully aware of the Ice Man’s impending arrival Frost is a messenger of his and has by this time already come and informed us that his master is on his way. It is said that this was the primary time for trading. In truth Fall was probably more of the culmination of the years trading. Fall is a great time for traveling. It is also said that this was the time when those in need were given whatever they needed to make it through the coming Winter. The Anigadugi society were quite active during this month trying to help those in need before the winter arrived.
The Anigadugi are basically a volunteer group who see to the needs of those in their village or community by helping them usually with things like building or mending houses and making sure everyone is prepared for winter. The Western Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has created an award named after this society and it is given to those who have performed some honorable deed for their nation or community. During this month everyone is preparing for Winter. Preparation is a lesson offered by this month. It is far better to be prepared than to be caught unprepared.

This is known as the Snow Moon

A time of keeping warm, appreciating the past years hard work and produce. The Ice Man has arrived. Frost, ice, snow, cold winds are all powers of the Ice Man; and the Ice Man is an aspect, manifestation, or form of the Blue Spirit. The spirit of humility has arrived and all are now subdued.

This is known as the Cold Moon

This is the time when we begin fixing personal items and tools and making new ones in anticipation of Spring. A minor celebration known as the Cold Moon Festival is held during this month. These cold Winter months teach us to appreciate our loved ones and our blessings (secure homes, warm fires, friends and family, good food, etc.)

The Bone or Boney Moon

This is a time to pay tribute to our loved ones and ancestors. It is a time when a feast is held in remembrance of the them, a place is set aside and food is offered to those who have passed on. It is comparable with the Central American Day of the Dead. This is also a time of a minor celebration known as the Medicine Dance. This is also the often the last month of Winter. The Red Spirit is usually on his way by this time.

This is the Windy Moon

This is some years the beginning of the seasonal cycle and other years Kawoni is the beginning month. The seasonal cycle or seasonal calendar begins with Spring, the first day of which is considered the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The Windy Moon, when it is the beginning of spring reminds us of the life cycle. This is a reminder that grows stronger throughout the Spring season. But when Kawoni is the first month of Spring then we are reminded during this month that change and growth are sometimes painful. I am not saying that this is a terrible and dreaded month. In truth by the time Winter’s end has arrived in Kagali most people are anxious for Spring. If this is the month of Spring then this is when the Red Spirit arrives and all rejoice.

This is the Flower Moon

This month is called the Flower Moon even though the word kawoni is the same as the word for the duck. It is said that traditionally Cherokee births were common during this time. The streams and rivers controlled by the Long Being renew their strength with the fresh spring rains. The Long Being is honored during this month. A minor festival usually held during this time is the Knee Deep Dance. If this month is the first month of Spring as it occasionally is then we also honor the Red Spirit.

The Planting Moon

The Planting Moon is when families traditionally begin preparing the fields. Stored seeds are planted. Corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and sun flowers are some of the plants planted. Minor dances are held during this time to ensure good crops. This month is the last of Spring. The White Spirit will soon step forward to preside over the Summer.

The Green Corn Moon

The Green Corn Moon is when the plants in the fields begin to emerge. Preparations are made for the upcoming major ceremonies of the growing season. People of the Anigadugi society begin needed repairs on the townhouses, family homes, and providing for those in need. The Anigadugi society is basically a volunteer group that sees to the needs of the less fortunate, the elderly, and the general welfare of the villages. It is interesting that this moon is referred to as the Green Corn Moon when the Green Corn Ceremony is held in Galoni.

The Ripe Corn Moon

During the Ripe Corn Moon the field plants begin to produce. Wild plants like black berries and mulberries begin producing ripe fruits in good quantity. Stick ball games and dances are held in earnest starting with this moon. It is interesting that this month is referred to as the Ripe Corn Moon when the ripe corn ceremony is celebrated in Dulisdi.

The Fruit Moon

This is called the Fruit Moon because fruits from trees and bushes are gathered in earnest. The Green Corn festival is commonly held in this moon today. This month marks the beginning of Fall. Fall is a season ruled by the West, by the Black Spirit. We can realize through this that death eventually comes to everything, but it doesn’t last. We know that the cycle will continue on. The fruits of life are harvested but new life will spring from their seeds.

The Nut Moon

This is known as the Nut Moon. The Ripe Corn Festival is held in the early part of this moon to acknowledge the Corn Mother and the Earth Mother. The Brush Feast festival is also held. Fruits and nuts are still being gathered, much of which goes into breads. Hunting in earnest begins.

13th or Blue Moon

The Additional One is the thirteenth moon and occurs only some years, most years have twelve months. It is naturally added and provides a stable relationship between the seasonal and civil calendars.
This month teaches us the importance of balance.
If this month did not come along to ensure balance then chaos would prevail, the seasonal and civil calendars would disagree with one another. Months that are supposed to occur in the Fall would occur in the Winter. The celebrations would also be out of order. Like I said, chaos would prevail. Let us be thankful of this month and the balance and order that it ensures.

More on the 13th Moon
This is just some major celebrations,
there are many minor ones held throughout the year.

Nu-wa-ti E-qua - Great New Moon Ceremony~
This is the first celebration held in the calendar cycle, it marks the beginning of the calendar year. It is always on the first day of Dunin(v)di in the traditional calendar, which is always the first New Moon after the Northern Autumnal Equinox. It is believed that this was the first of all moons which is why we call it the Great Moon. This is a time when beginnings are recognized.

A-do-hu-na - Reconciliation and Friends Made Ceremony~
This celebration comes seven days after Nuwati Equa. Part of this ceremony requires extinguishing all the fires in the village and relighting them with fire from the cleansed Sacred Fire kept in the townhouse. When the Sacred Fire is ritually cleansed by the village High Priest and attendants then the village and the people are also symbolically cleansed. The fire is said to accumulate or absorb all of the wrongs committed by the people, and when it is cleansed and renewed so to are all the people. In this ceremony unity is symbolized by two chosen people ritually exchanging clothing.
One could say that at this time all barriers are torn down. This is also a time of forgiveness when everyone tries to forgive any offenses they acquired during the past year,
so they can be free to fully move into the new year.

E-la-wa-ta-le-gi - Bounding Bush Ceremony~
This celebration begins on the first day of Nvdadewi. This is a time when we acknowledge the source of our abundance, of our blessings. During this ceremony the sacred "old tobacco"
is offered by all the villagers to the Sacred Fire in the townhouse.

Go-ge-yi - The First New Moon Of Spring~
The first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox is considered the beginning of Spring. Again the Sacred Fire is cleansed, symbolizing another great beginning. This moon and ceremony
marks the beginning of the seasonal cycle.

Se-lu-tsu-ni-gi-s-ti-s-ti - Green Corn Ceremony~
This ceremony begins on the first day of Galoni. During this ceremony the people rejoice and celebrate the growth of the foods in the fields. Some of the foods are tasted as tangible evidence
of hope and prayers fulfilled.

Do-na-go-hu-ni - Ripe Corn Ceremony~
This celebration begins on the first day of Dulisdi. The bountiful harvest of mature foods is celebrated. This is the end of the annual cycle of major ceremonies and is usually the last month of the civil calendar, with the exception of the occasional thirteenth month, So*i.

U-gu - U-gu Dance~
Every seventh year this ceremony replaces Nuwati Equa. It is a ceremony of thanks offered to the Creator by the entire nation led by the Ugu (Supreme Peace Chief). This ceremony serves mainly to show our appreciation to the Creator for creating us. During this ceremony the Ugu is dressed in a special yellow attire made and reserved for this occasion.

page divider blue bar
blue moon and wolf howling
Native American Warrior and full moon

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