Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
March 11, 2000 - Issue 05

Cherokee Festivals
information provided by Tonia Williams of

Note: Cultural information may vary from clan to clan, location to location, family to family, and from differing opinions and experiences. Information provided here are not 'etched in stone'.

Cherokee Festivals: 3 of 6 in series

The Green Corn Ceremony was traditionally celebrated during late June or early July for about four days. The dates scheduled for the celebration depended upon the time the first corn ripened.

The ceremony was held in the middle of the ceremonial grounds. Included in the rituals were the stomp dance, feather dance and buffalo dances. At certain points of the ceremonies the people fasted, played stickball, had corn sacrificing, took medicine and had a scratching ceremony. Then after the fasting they would feast. Another ritual observed was rinsing themselves in water and having prayer.

It was believed when you get a cleansing it washed away impurities or bad deeds and started a new life. The cleansing ceremony was performed by a priest which was followed with fasting and praying and other sacred practices.

Cherokee Festivals: 4 of 6 in series

The Great New Moon Festival was held around October. This marked thebeginning of the Cherokee New Year. It was believed that the world was created in the season of Autumn.

The main counselors determined when the new moon would appear. Again as in previous festivals, hunters were sent out to catch game seven nights before the festival. Seven men were selected to take charge of all the planning and seven honorable women were chosen to prepare the food. When the Cherokee people gathered for the feast, each family gave food to the priest. Types of food were corn, pumpkin, beans and other . The evening before the main gathering, the women performed a religious dance. Again during the ceremonial part they went to the river for purifying, giving offerings to he sacred fire and praying.

Info provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center

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