Myaamia Kiilhswaakani ‘the Miami Lunar Calendar’ reflects the ecological changes going on around us. Each month is based on the phases of the Moon and focuses on a specific ecological change occurring in that time period. The video below will discuss how Myaamia Kiilhswaakani differs from a Gregorian calendar, can be used, follows the progress of the lunar cycle, and represents Myaamia ecological connections.
Information about each month can be found on the Lunar Months page.
Myaamia Kiilhsooki Video Transcript
Aya eeweemilaani! ‘Hello, my relative!’ If you have questions about using Myaamia Kiilhsooki ‘Miami Lunar Calendar,’ then follow along as I walk you through how to use our traditional calendar system.
In this video, you will learn how Myaamia Kiilhsooki differs from a Gregorian calendar, can be used, follows the progress of the lunar cycle, and represents Myaamia ecological connections.
Understanding Myaamia Kiilhsooki
As you look through your calendar, you may notice that the month names do not match those of a typical calendar you would pick up at the store. Each month is named after an ecological change occurring in our environment from seasonal variations in temperature and weather. This feature is unique to Myaamia Kiilhsooki since it reflects our and our ancestors’ interactions with our homelands. For example, Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa ‘Young Bear Moon’ is named for the emergence of American Black Bears from hibernation. Anteekwa Kiilhswa ‘Crow Moon’ is named for the crows mating and nesting. Waawiita Kiilhswa ‘Lost Moon’ is slightly different because it is used in a manner similar to a “leap day.” This will be discussed in more detail later in this video. For more information on the month names, visit Aacimotaatiiyankwi: A Myaamia Community Blog. A link is provided in the description for this video.
Another major difference from a typical calendar is that Myaamia Kiilhsooki is a lunar calendar. A lunar year is 354 days long which is 11 days shorter than the solar year. Your typical calendar, or Gregorian calendar, is solar based and normally 365 days long.
On the Gregorian calendar, each month has a set number of days. For example, January is always 31 days long. Unlike the months on a Gregorian calendar, each month in Myaamia Kiilhsooki alternates between 29 and 30 days long. This is due to the lunar month being 29.5 days. For example, in 2018 Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa had 29 days and the following month, Aanteekwa Kiilhswa, had 30 days.
Every four years, the Gregorian calendar adds a “leap day” at the end of February. This is done because a solar year is actually 365.25 days long. The extra day keeps the Gregorian calendar connected to Earth’s revolution around the Sun.
In a similar manner, Myaamia Kiilhsooki adds an extra month approximately every three years. Pahsaahkaahkanka ‘summer solstice’ is used as the anchor point for the calendar. Each year, it occurs in Paaphsaahka Niipinwiki ‘Mid-Summer Moon.’ Here pahsaahkaahkanka is indicated by the red boxes. As you can see, each year it occurs later in Paaphsaahka Niipinwiki. This differs from the Gregorian calendar where the solstice is always on a fixed day.
When pahsaahkaahkanka is near the end of the month, it is a signal that Waawiita Kiilhswa ‘Lost Moon’ needs to be added the following year in order to keep Myaamia Kiilhsooki aligned with the ecological changes occurring throughout the year in Myaamionki ‘the place of the Myaamia.’ Waawiita Kiilhswa is either 29 or 30 days and added before Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa.
About Myaamia Kiilhsooki
When you first open your calendar, you will notice information explaining some facts about Myaamia Kiilhsooki. Additionally, a table with common terms used throughout the calendar is included with the English translations. The left-hand side of the table includes days of the week and the right-hand side includes the phases of the Moon. If you would like to hear how each term is pronounced, all of these terms are searchable on the Myaamia Online Dictionary. In the description for this video, you will also find a link to a complete list of terms found throughout Myaamia Kiilhsooki along with links to the Myaamia Online Dictionary pages.
On the next page, the Myaamia perception of the cycle of the moon is explained. Below the explanation is a visual representation of the cycle. The cycle begins on the left with kiilhswa ‘Moon’ growing until it reaches waawiyiisita ‘full moon phase.’ After this point, it begins to die until it goes completely dark. Each month is marked by one complete cycle.
Using Myaamia Kiilhsooki
This is an example of a typical page in Myaamia Kiilhsooki. This example comes from the 2018 version of the calendar, so if you’re holding a more recent version of the printed calendar, it may not perfectly match. Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa ‘Young Bear Moon’ is the first month in our lunar year. In some years, Waawiita Kiilhswa ‘Lost Moon’ is included at the start of the printed calendar, but Weehki-kihkatwi ‘Myaamia Lunar New Year’ always occurs at the start of Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa. On the page beneath the picture for Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa, you will find the section of the calendar that tracks the 29 days of this lunar month. At the top center of the page, you will find the month name and its English translation. In the gray boxes beneath the month name, are the days of the week beginning with Eelamini Kiišikahki ‘Sunday’ on the left and ending with Kaakaathsokone ‘Saturday’ on the right. Each month follows this same organization.
Beginning with the 2019 version of Myaamia Kiilhsooki, you will be able to find the link for the Ecology page of Aacimotaatiiyankwi: A Myaamia Community Blog in the bottom right hand corner. The link will also be printed on the Mihši-neewe ‘Thank You’ page at the end of the calendar.
Moving to the largest part of the page, you will notice a series of squares with several pieces of information. It is important to remember that the lunar cycle defines the lunar month. Each month begins when saakiwa kiilhswa ‘sprouting moon’ is first spotted in the night sky and ends when kiilhswa has been dark for about three days.
The large number in the top right corner of each square indicates the day of the lunar month. For example, this is the first day of Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa, this is the second, and so on. The first day of each month is when saakiwa kiilhswa ‘sprouting moon’ can be seen in the night sky.
Looking in the lower left corner of each square you will see two numbers separated by a slash. In this case, they are 2/18. These numbers indicate the corresponding date on the Gregorian calendar in month/day format. This means that the first day of Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa 2018 is February 18th. The dual date system allows you to not only track the progress of seasons in a Myaamia way, but also important dates like you would on a typical Gregorian calendar.
On each page, you will notice three icons representing three phases of kiilhswa. This allows you to follow the progress of kiilhswa throughout the month starting on the first day with saakiwa ‘sprouting moon.’ The first icon represents napale ‘first quarter.’ Next is waawiyiisita ‘full moon’ followed by napale neepiki ‘last or third quarter.’ The month ends when kiilhswa dies away and goes dark. Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa ends when kiilhswa is completely dark for about three days, in this case on day 29.
Lastly, important dates have been indicated with additional text in the corresponding square. In this example, Weehki-kihkatwi ‘Myaamia Lunar New Year’ has been added on the first day of Mahkoonsa Kiilhswa.
Using Myaamia Kiilhsooki instead of a typical calendar may seem daunting at first and it will take some time to acclimate to using it on a regular basis. However, it allows us to maintain our ecological connections and our connections to the Gregorian calendar system.
If you’re interested in learning more about Myaamia Kiilhsooki please visit the links in the description.
Mihši-neewe. ‘Thank you.’ Neeyolaani kati. ‘See you later.’
Updated: February 1, 2022