The meaning of the Winter symbol was to signify the passing of time. A clever, simple way to symbolize and record the passing of time. The Native Indians had no clocks but used the environment to measure time. Sunset and sunrise organised the parameters of the day. The cycles of nature, the cold and warm seasons, organised task related work especially agricultural life such as the planting seasons. Rituals and special ceremonies were also scheduled by nature. The summer solstice scheduled the Sun Dance ritual of the Kiowa tribe, the spring equinox scheduled the First Thunder ceremony of the Pawnee tribe and the Zuni tribe celebrated the Great Feast of the Winter Solstice. Seasons are marked by the the turning of the sun on the solstices. Winter Solstice on December 21 marks the onset of winter, it is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. After the Winter Solstice, each day becomes longer until the longest day of the year arrives around June 21st.
The Winter Symbol - Mythology
Abenaki Winter Myth: The Abenaki deity 'Pebon' represents Winter. Pebon was a powerful sorcerer who put his audience to sleep when he told stories. The stunning beauty of the summer deity 'Niben' forced Pe-ben to retreat to the north.
Winter Solstice Celebrations
Native American Indians have celebrated both Solstices and equinoxes from ancient times as deeply meaningful. Many Native American stone structures are aligned with the position of the Sun. The Hopi tribe mark this time with the Soyal ceremony which lasts for 20 days and includes blessings and purification rituals. The Pueblo tribe celebrate the Winter Solstice with rites focusing on Spring and rebirth. Other Native American tribes celebrate the winter solstice with rituals such as the Bear Dance, the Feather Dance and the Navajo Night Chant.