• The RiverWinds

First Nations Tradition of Sighting the New Moon & the Biblical Parallel

Updated: Mar 26



Exodus 12:1-2 "And YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."


The first month of the biblical year according to The Creator's calendar is lunar. It is not a solar calender-guess who instituted that one? This is the month when the Hebrews & Gentiles among them left Egypt. This month is also known as Abib/Nissan 1 and it begins at the sighting of the New Moon. Rabbinical tradition puts the new year in the fall/winter time even though it is in the Spring. This makes a lot more sense with everything coming back to life once again. This is also called the Month of The Kings, The Month of Redemption and The Month of Judah.


The New Moon sighting tradition is still found among many First Nations tribes who used a lunar calendar such as the Cherokee, Muscogee Creek, Arawak, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Iroquois, Tuscarora and many other tribes on the east coast and throughout Turtle Island. The stereotypical saying "Many moons ago or 3 moons ago etc." comes from the lunar counting of cycles based on the New Moon.




Among the AniKituwahYah (Cherokee)The first festival was the First New Moon of Spring which was Anvhyi - The Strawberry Moon in March. There were 7 people who had been set-apart for the specific job of agreeing to the sighting of the first sliver of the New Moon and then they would send the Long Runners out to spread the message to the villages.


This would ushering in a time of great celebrations. There would be dancing, ritual water purification ceremony in the river, feasting and then more dancing at the Stomp Dance Grounds. All of these celebrations culminates with a new sacred fire being built in the ceremonial grounds and then all the old fires were put out in one's home.


This marked the beginning of the New Year. The spiritual principle behind this practice is giving The Creator the first of your month and in this case the first of your year. By honoring and giving Creator the first of your day, your month and year it is believed that you will see an increase of blessing in your life like never before.


It is the biblical principal of giving The Creator the first of what you have and in these situations it is the first fruits of your time. May your New Year be blessed!

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