As the end of 2017 is looming on the horizon, many people are planning how and where to ring in or welcome in 2018. Ironically, for most people who live in the portion of the world known as the United States of America, New Year’s Day arrives as the clock strikes 12P.M., but Native Americans welcome the new year near the end of January or the very first part of February.

One tribe in Oregon greets the new year with dancing, singing, worshiping and eating special foods such as salmon and deer. To this day, the Hopi tribe does buffalo dances and has frequent prayer time gatherings in the longhouse to appease the gods during the Winter Solstice.

Cherokee tribes many of which reside along the east coast of North America observe a Great New Moon Ceremony for 12 or 13 day cycles beginning in mid-December. It is interesting to note that the final segment of this cycle is commemorated with the hanging lists of new year’s wishes on the branches of a tree which is set up indoors as a decoration and form of appeasement for their gods. It is fascinating to see how this tradition has passed down through the generations even to ours.

How many Americans realize that the use of noise makers and masks while dancing or parading through the streets of town to welcome in the new year was originally done by members of the Iroquois tribe long before New York City came into existence. They also made sure that all debts or favors owed were settled before time for the celebration to begin.

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture

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