The Mohawk Native American Indian tribe, along with the other five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in the northeastern United States, celebrated a variety of festivals in recognition of plantings or harvests of food staples such as maize and strawberries. One of the most important ceremonies was the celebration of the new year, known as the Midwinter Ceremony, which took place between January and February and lasted several days. Although the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy conducted the ceremonies in a variety of ways, the Stirring of the Ashes, the Feather Dance and the Peach Stone Game were commonly celebrated events in the Midwinter festival.Continue Reading
The Mohawks celebrated the Stirring of the Ashes on the first day of their Midwinter Ceremony. The symbolism behind the act of stirring ashes was that of a rebirth of nature approaching in the new summer season. The ashes of the old season were returned to the Earth in order to be reborn in the resurgence of life in the new year.
On the final day of the Midwinter Ceremonies, the Mohawk celebrated and played the peach stone game. This game was similar to flipping coins or tossing dice. Clans competed against each other and the women of the tribe competed against the men. Prized possessions were often used to bet on the outcome. The results of the game also served to predict the success of the upcoming year's harvests.Learn more about US History