Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
March 25, 2000 - Issue 06

Cherokee Festivals
provided by Tonia Williams at

*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'.


The fifth festival was held about ten days after the fourth festival, the Great New Moon Festival. The purpose of this festival was to make friends and for cleansing. Participants were assigned tasks, such as: helping with the preparation; dance leaders, musicians, cleansing the council house area, hunting game, etc.

A new sacred fire was built by the fire keeper and his assistants. The fire keeper and his assistants fasted for seven days before the festival.

There was a dance the night before the festival.

Others fasted during special designated days. This festival killed the old fire and brought a new fire. It also brought friendship by forgiving conflicts. A brand new start. There was also a cleansing ritual that was performed at the creek in running water.

This festival would last four days.


The sixth festival was held during the winter. Tobacco was gathered from the people who participated in the feast. The people used pine or spruce and danced. The first movement was a march by alternating pairs of males and females. During the dance, women wore their turtle shells, formed a circle with the men in a single file and moved counter-clockwise in a circle. Each dancer took two hemlock twigs of the spruce and waved them up and down like pigeon wings. The fourth night, they made offerings to the sacred fire.

Info provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center

back to the What's New page

Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.

Canku Ota is a copyright of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the Copyright © 1999 of Paul C. Barry. All Rights Reserved.