The Celebration of Apuknajit
While January breezes by and February is fast approaching, we are thinking about Mi'kmaw winter legends and oral traditions.
In the Mi'kmaq culture, January (Punamujku's) is known as mid-winter. Mid-winter represents the end of the year and the start of a new ceremonial year. It is celebrated after the first new moon of the month.
Historically during the winter months, our people would set up camp inland. They would hunt for moose, caribou, beavers and bear. These animals were used for food and clothing to keep warm and were always respected and appreciated.
On the night of January 31st, families would perform rituals of dancing, fasting, and offering spirits food such as eel skin and fish heads. Fasting was done to give thanks to the spirits for their blessings, health and life itself. Families were especially thankful for the resources provided by earth during the most difficult winter months.
The food offerings would be left out on a tree stump. It is believed that the spirits would approach the food in an animal form. This is the celebration of Apuknajit, which is the Mi'kmaq word for "snow blinding."
Are you participating in Apuknajit? Let us know in the comments below!