Hupa Cultural Calendar

The three stones together are a public community calendar for all to share. There is a natural event or ceremony during each Moon cycle. During the first three moons (January through March), it is winter, a time of rain and snow, when food is scarce. During this time, the men and boys live separately from the women and girls, which has the effect of timing childbirth to the time of year when there is plenty of food for the mothers and the newborn children.

During the fourth Moon cycle (our April), the frost ends, eel runs start, and fishin]g begins. Fishing continues in the fifth Moon cycle, when the spring salmon appear in the Trinity River. People also harvest food from the meadows and forests.

VISUAL 6 (still): Hupa Woman with a Child
Hupa Woman with a Child

Also during the fifth Moon cycle (our May), the time of courtship and weddings begins. Men and women live together at this time.

VISUAL 7 (still): Hupa Girls in Brush Dance Clothing
Hupa Girls in Brush Dance Clothing

In the sixth and seventh Moon cycles (June and July), the Hupa perform the Brush Dance Ceremony. It is a time to heal and a time to have fun. It is the most social of the Hupa ceremonies. As summer ends, a second salmon run occurs; and the fall harvest of grains, tobacco, and acorns begins. 

Between the eighth and ninth Moon cycles (August and September), there are “The World Renewal Ceremonies,” the most important events in Hupa society today. First is the 10-day-long White Deerskin Dance followed by ten days of rest.

VISUAL 8 (still): Hupa Children in Jump Dance Clothing
Hupa Children in Jump Dance Clothing

Then there is the Fall Jump Dance, a 10-day spiritual ceremony that establishes harmony with the natural world. These children are dressed for the Fall Jump Dance. It is said that the Moon comes to Earth to participate when you cannot see it in the sky. This is a time to focus on our responsibilities as human beings to keep the world a safe place for future generations.

As the year ends, it is time for the final months of harvesting food and game; once again, the men and boys live apart from the women and girls.