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Why is February called čqʷosqn spq̓niʔs (Coldest Month) ?

By January 31, 2024 February 2nd, 2024 No Comments

The end of “Skʷssús Spq̓niʔs” (January) was a cold and bad month with snow.  At the beginning of “Čqʷosqn Spq̓niʔs”, Mothers would tell their children to go outside and say, “ʔant̓l̓ ! – ʔant̓l̓ ! – ʔant̓l̓ ! – ʔant̓l̓ !”  (the meaning of words was not remembered), but the children were instructed to point with their hands towards the moon and say, “Make this month pass by quickly.”

Čqʷosqn was known as a monster who hated humans, he made the air very cold intending to kill the human beings and to freeze the pre-born babies in the womb of their mothers.  The elders always tell their children to be careful when playing outside during the month of February.

Čqʷosqn means “curly headed”, which describes the hair that curls up from the snow and ice.

History/Information on what people historically did during February:

  • Most of the people were still observing the quiet time of mid-winter ceremonies that were still happening.
  • In the evenings, coyote stories were shared to the children in their lodges by elders. These coyote stories had good and bad morals, children learned how to conduct their lives from these stories.
  • At the end of February and into March came the first thunder,  this was the sign for the people to put away the Coyote Stories for the year. It was now time for the people to prepare for their yearly gathering of various foods and medicinal plants.