SIS,ET - THE ELDER MOON (December)
CONNECTIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
This is the oldest of the moon family and means the elder. It is also the time when teaching occurs. In reality this is not the first month but the last in the yearly cycle of the moons. It is at this time of year when the earth is at its farthest point from the sun and the Winter Solstice occurs (December 20/21). As with the Summer Solstice, this day holds great importance in many cultures.
Days are short and storms and heavy rainfalls made sea travel unpredictable and unsafe. Therefore much more time was spent indoors. The sloughs in and around Saanich filled with water and provided a wintering place for visiting ducks and geese.
The Saanich people had abundant stored food and therefore had time to prepare for future harvests. Wood pitch was gathered for torches and fires. Torches were used to collect shellfish during the night tides, which were common at this time of year. Ducks and geese were netted or speared on the sloughs and in protected inlets. People only ventured into the protected inlets for ocean fishing. Nettles, gathered earlier in the year, were stripped and twisted into twine to make nets, ropes and cables. Roughed out canoes were brought into the longhouse to be finished.
This is the most important time of the year for spiritual and cultural activities. The Saanich Peoples were involved in Winter ceremonies and the Elders told legends and stories to educate the children about the right way to live. The Saanich Peoples gathered in the longhouse for Winter ceremonial dances. New dancers were initiated and the dances witnessed.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT