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Thirteen Lakota Moons

Lakota moons did not follow today's 12-month calendar. Instead, the moons followed each season. Spring, summer and fall each had three moons, while winter had four. Below are two breakdowns of the moons ... one according to traditional Lakota thought and the other based on today's calendar.

Wetu: The Moons of Renewal and Growth (spring)
Magzksicaagli Wi - Moon When Ducks Come Back
Wihakata Cepapi Wi - Moon of Making Fat
Wojupi Wi - Moon When Leaves Turn Green

Bloketu: The Warm Moons (summer)
Wipazuka Wasti Wi - Moon of the June Berries
Canpasapa Wi - Moon When the Chokecherries are Ripe
Wasuton Wi - Moon of the Harvest

Pyranyetu: The Moons of Change (autumn)
Canwapegi Wi - Moon When the Leaves Turn Brown
Canwapekasna Wi - Moon When the Wind Shakes Off Leaves
Waniyetu Wi - Moon of the Rutting Deer

Waniyetu: The Cold & Dark Moons (winter)
Wanicokan Wi - Moon When the Deer Shed Their Horns
Wiotehika Wi - The Hard Moon
Cannapopa Wi - Moon When Trees Crack from the Cold
Istawicayazan Wi - Moon of Sore Eyes (Snow Blindness)


January - Wiotekika Wi - Moon of Hard Times
During this time of year, everyone experienced difficulties. Food was in short supply; the weather was fierce. Yet, the Lakota (Sioux) people prevailed.

February - Cannapopa Wi - Moon of Popping Trees
As a new moon arrived, the Lakota people noticed a great change. Trees on the Great Plains popped and burst as their branches became laden with winter snow and ice.

March - Istawicayazan Wi - Moon of Snow Blindness
Spring was on the horizon; however, the next moon phase continued the cold winter tradition. Now, the people were subjected to blinding sun rays banking off of the snow.

April - Wihakakta cepapi Wi - Moon of Fattening
This moon was named for the female animals. During this time, those carrying babies were at their largest before giving birth.

May - Wojupiwi Wi - Moon of Planting
Warmer weather made its way onto the prairies in this moon phase, and the pleasant temperatures meant it was time to plant.

June - Wipazuka waste Wi - Moon of Good Berries
As hunters/gatherers, the Lakota people gauged seasons by the types of food they could find. During this moon, the berries were fresh, tasty and red.

July - Canpasapa Wi - Moon of Cherries Blackening
Chokecherries and other berries grew black (sapa) as the summer wore on. This moon phase also marked a time for one of the most sacred Lakota rites … the Sun Dance.

August - Wasuton Wi - Moon of Harvest
This phase was a time to harvest what had been planted. The Lakota (Sioux) people were great stewards of the land, and they used every part of their harvest.

September - Canwapegi Wi - Moon of Brown Leaves
The weather began to change, and soon the trees responded. This phase was named for the beautiful shades of autumn leaves. Gi means brown.

October - Canwapekasna Wi - Moon of Falling Leaves
Autumn weather had settled into the Great Plains at this time. And, as the Lakota people prepared for winter, the trees also prepared by dropping all their leaves.

November - Waniyatu Wi - Moon of Starting Winter
Today, we think of Thanksgiving; however, in traditional Lakota times, this moon brought about the cooler temperatures. Everyone started thinking about winter.

December - Tahecapsun Wi - Moon of Shedding Horns
Cold winter temperatures and blistering winter winds were upon the prairies during this time; however, the Lakota people noted the moon by the deer shedding their horns.

 

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