pahsaahkaahkanka ‘Summer Solstice’

Soon, the longest day of the year will be upon us, pahsaahkaahkanka ‘summer solstice.’ In our homelands, pahsaahkaahkanka usually marks the beginning of a period of rising temperatures, of rapid growth in plants, and an increased risk of drought. This day is also important because it acts as an anchor for our entire lunar calendar system.

Pahsaahkaahkanka typically falls between June 20-22 on the Gregorian calendar. In Myaamia Kiilhsooki ‘Myaamia Lunar Calendar,’ the date shifts from year to year. If you watch the calendar closely over multiple years, you’ll notice that pahsaahkaahkanka slowly migrates towards the end of Paaphsaahka Niipinwiki ‘Mid-Summer Moon.’ Every three years or so, when pahsaahkaahkanka nears the end of paaphsaahka niipinwiki, we add Waawiita Kiilhswa ‘Lost Moon’ to our calendar. If we didn’t do this, our lunar calendar would lose its connection to the ecological changes that it helps us follow.

Image of calendar pages for 2015-2018 that highlights the movement of the summer solstice.
Pahsaahkaahkanka ‘summer solstice’ is highlighted by the orange box on these calendar pages for 2015-2018. Click the image to enlarge.

The movement of  pahsaahkaahkanka over time is due to the 11 day difference between the solar and lunar cycles. Click here to learn more about Myaamia Kiilhsooki.

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