Thursday, September 8, 2011


KUMEYAAY CALENDARCalendar Graphic and Caption by Mike Connolly Miskwish, Campo Kumeyaay
KUMEYAAY MAT'TAAM means Kumeyaay Year

This calendar is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Kumeyaay calendar. Originally, the calendar was flexible and adaptive to changing conditions. One year the summer may be longer than others, while the next year the winter may be extraordinarily lengthy. Certain celestial events helped to readjust and reset the year.

The most important of these events was the ascendency of the constellation EMUU (Three Mountain Sheep) to its zenith just before dawn. This corresponds to the three stars of Orion's belt and they reach their zenith around the fall equinox of September 21st.

A mini season overlaps the fall. This was the season of KLII Anemshap or the acorn harvest season. It falls from September 21 to November 21.

Reading the calendar from the top is Perewii Hunn or the Fall Equinox. Fall is Kupiihaaw and the months are Hellyaa. December 21st is the winter solstice, called Hilyati in Kumeyaay. Hiichur is winter, ending in Perewii Hunn or Spring Equinox. Spring is Chiipam ending in Hilyati or Summer Solstice. The calendar concludes with Ippall or summer.

Months of the Kumeyaay Calendar:

Halakwol - September Halakwol - March
Halanyimcep - October Halanyimcep - April
Halatai - November Halatai - May
Halapisu - December Halapisu - June
Halamrtinya - January Halamrtinya - July
Halanitca - February Halanitca - August
Halakwol - September (Kumeyaay New Year)

The names of the months repeat after six months.
This is similar to the way we repeat hours on our clocks with 12 hours repeated after noon. The months are not exactly the same as the calendar most of us use today, months follow the phases of the moon, with adjustments made by the appearance of certain constellations.

Two of the Kumeyaay constellation names are:
The Three Mountain Sheep
The Hand and the Buzzard

The solstices are known as Hilyatai.

The Milky Way is called Hatotkeur.

Astronomy was an important tool to time when plants could be harvested or when burns should take place. The calendar was probably used to determine when the Shíímulq should move to winter or summer camps.

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