The Green Corn Festival, Dance, or Ceremony is a Native American harvest celebration. Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Yuchi, and Iroquois Indians, as well as, other Native American tribes celebrate this ceremony in some manner.
The ceremony is typically held during the full moon when the first corn crop is ready to harvest. The exact date cannot be determined ahead of time; it’s all up to the corn. It is a time of thanks and forgiveness. Thanks for the crops and old grudges are forgiven. The ceremony lasts for several days. The holy man, as a symbol of health, life, and spiritual power, tends a sacred fire. The first few days are known as the Busk. People fast, cleanse themselves, and their homes. Men and women then drink an herbal concoction, the “Black Drink” that helps cleanse and purify their bodies (it induces vomiting). Finally, the first corn harvest is tasted followed by dancing, singing, playing, and feasting. Many foods are included in the feast with an emphasis on corn: roast corn, corn tortillas, corn soup, corn bread….
A ball game is quite popular in which teams of boys and girls try to hit a target on a large pole, the original source of lacrosse. The game varies, of course, from tribe to tribe.
The Creek Indian women perform the Ribbon Dance. Women adorned with vivid ribbons, rattles, and shells dance for three hours. Four women who have been appointed (for life) by the elders of the tribe do the dance.
The Santa Ana Pueblo, located sixteen miles north of Albuquerque, (New Mexico, USA) has an annual feast day, open to the public, on July 26th with a green corn dance and fiesta.
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