Native American Calendar

Native American calendars are different from the traditional twelve month calendars that are primarily used today. Though the type of calendar differed amongst tribes and the regions they inhabited most Native American calendars begun in the spring. This is because Native Americans placed much importance on nature and the earth, and since the spring months were the time of year that new plants and animals were born, it symbolized the beginning of a new year.

Not only does the Native American calendar begin during a different time of year than contemporary calendars, it is also moon based. In addition, every three years an additional moon is added to help the Indian calendar coincide with the traditional ones. Some months in the Native American calendar have multiple names for moons. This could be caused by the different tribes that were involved in the moon naming, different translations of the same name, or the overlapping of more than one moon in the same calendar month.

For example, January has been given the moon name of Strong Cold Moon, or Frost in the Teepee Moon by the Lakota Indians. However, other tribes refer to January as Wolf Moon, Strong Frost Moon, and Snow moon.

February has been named the dark red Calves Moon by the Sioux Indians. It also goes by Raccoon Moon, Hunger Moon, and Snow Moon. March is called the Snow Blind Moon, the Maple Sugar Moon, the Worm Moon, the Awaking Moon, the Crow Moon, or the Buffalo Calves Drop Moon.

April also has many moon names. It is referred to as the Growing Grass Moon, the Frog Moon, the Red Grass Appearing Moon, the Planter’s Moon, and the Pink Moon. May is called the When Ponies Shed Moon, the Flower Moon, and the Budding Moon.

June also has a variety of moon names depending on which tribe’s Native American calendar you reference. It is known as the Making Fat Moon, the Fatness Moon, the Buck Moon and the Rose Moon. July’s moons are called the ripe Cherries Moon, the Heat Moon, the Blood Moon, or the Red Cherries Moon.

August is called the Geese Shed Feathers Moon, the Black Cherries Moon, the Green Corn moon, and the Thunder Moon. September is referred to as the Hunting Moon, Corn Festival Moon, harvest Moon, Black Calf Moon, and Drying Grass Moon. October is often called the Flying Ducks Moon, Falling Leaves Moon, or Changing Seasons Moon.

The Native American calendar commonly refers to November as the Beaver Moon, or Falling Leaves Moon. December is called the Popping trees Moon, Cold Moon, Deer Shed Their Horns Moon, or Long Night Moon.

Other Resources:

Native American Studies Calendar
American Indian Studies

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