Hopi Flute Ceremony

Hopi Flute Ceremony

Every other year for nine days in mid-August
Like the Hopi Snake Dance, the Flute Ceremony takes place over a nine-day period in the summer on the mesas of northeastern Arizona, where the Hopi Indians live. The two events take place on an alternating basis, with the Snake Dance occurring one year and the Flute Ceremony the next. The purpose of the latter is to encourage rainfall and promote the growth of corn, which is the primary food of the Hopi nation.
The Flute Ceremony takes place in the ancestral rooms of the Flute clan. It begins with a procession into the pueblo led by the clan's chief, who is followed by the Flute boy in his white ceremonial kilt, with a Flute girl on either side wearing feathers in their hair and two white blankets, one of which serves as a skirt.
Many of the rites involved in the Flute Ceremony are actually pantomimes of what the Hopis want their gods to do. For example, the priest may scatter meal on the ground or around the flute altar in imitation of falling rain. Pouring water into the bowl that sits in front of the altar from the six cardinal directions of the world (north, south, east, west, up, down) shows the gods that the priest wants them to send rain from six different directions. Blowing clouds of smoke on the altar shows that he wants rain clouds to appear. And a bullroarer, an instrument that makes a whizzing sound when swung in circles overhead, is used to imitate the sound of thunder.
CONTACTS:
Hopi Cultural Center
P.O. Box 67
Second Mesa, AZ 86043
928-734-2401; fax: 928-734-6651
www.hopiculturalcenter.com
SOURCES:
EncyNatAmerRel-2001, p. 91
EndurHarv-1995, p. 302
Mentioned in ?