pahsaahkaahkanka ‘Summer Solstice’

This summer, Eemamwiciki Summer Program participants are exploring ašiihkiwi neehi kiišikwi ‘Earth and Sky.’ One sky event easy to observe is pahsaahkaahkanka ‘summer solstice.’ This term refers to splitting the sky since the Sun appears directly overhead in our homelands. It also marks the longest day of the year.

Pahsaahkaahkanka always occurs during Paaphsaahka Niipinwiki ‘Mid-Summer Moon.’ Typically during this month, temperatures are rising, plants are growing rapidly, and the risk of drought increases. It’s also this time of year that we gather as a community for games of peekitahaminki ‘lacrosse.’

Pahsaahkaahkanka also has a significant role in our lunar calendar system. Typically, it falls between June 20-22 on the Gregorian calendar. In Myaamia Kiilhsooki ‘Myaamia Lunar Calendar,’ the lunar date for pahsaahkaahkanka shifts from year to year. If you watch the calendar closely over multiple years, you’ll notice that the date for pahsaahkaahkanka slowly migrates towards the end of Paaphsaahka Niipinwiki ‘Mid-Summer Moon.’ Every three years or so, when the pahsaahkaahkanka date 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 the date for pahsaahkaahkanka over time is due to the 11 day difference between the solar and lunar cycles. You can learn more about our lunar calendar system on the Myaamia Kiilhsooki page.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Pamela Poyfair says:

    Thank you for the information. I always enjoy learning about my culture…

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