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Each month in the early Choctaw calendar had a name and the year was divided into two segments, hashtula, winter and tofa, summer, each having six months.

Summer began around March 22, Tek i Hashi or, as it is now known, the vernal equinox. Winter began around September 22, with Chafiskono (October), the autumnal equinox. We've shown both the modern and the old Choctaw names.

 

Hashtula - Winter:

October Aktoba (Hochafo iskitini) Little Hunger month

November Nofimba (Hochafo chito) Big Hunger month

December Tisimba (Hashi koi chito) Big lion month

January Chanueli (Hashi koi nakfi ushi) Lions's little brother month

February Fibueli (Hashi watonlak) Crane month

March Macha (Hashi mahli) Wind month

 

Tofa - Summer:

April Eplil (Tek i Hashi) Women's month

May Me (Hashi Bihi) Mulberry month

June Chuni (Hashi Bissa) Blackberry month

July Chuli (Hashi kafi) Sassafras month

August Akas (Hashi Takkon) Peach month

September Siptimba (Hashi Hoponi) Cooking month

Until the early 1800's, Choctaws used a calendar with the months based on the phases of the moon. And here's something else you might find interesting.

The basic meaning of the word hashi (month). It can also mean the moon, hashi ninak aya, "sun that travels at night". Since the word "month" came from "moon", hashi also means month.

There are approximately twenty-nine and one half days in each lunar month, from new moon to new moon, and twelve lunar months comprise one lunar year.

However a lunar year has only 354 days in it, about 11 short of the 365 day solar year. As a result, if Tek i Hashi was to begin on the vernal equinox this year, it would be behind by 11 days of the vernal equinox that would occur next year.

In other words, it would be constantly moving ahead by 11 days each year. To prevent this, and to keep the months in harmony with the ripening of fruits and other seasonal events, every two or three years an additional month, Luak Mosholi (extinguishing fire) was observed to take up the slack. It is not known at this time when that month occurred, or whether it was in the summer or winter, but that's the way they used to do it.

Now, most Choctaws use the English calendar. The days of the week, nitak hollo, or wik, are as they are in English.

 

Monday Monti or nitak hollotuk onna (Day after Holy Day)

Tuesday Tusti or nitak Hollotuk I'misha (imishi) (Second day after Holy Day)

Wednesday Winsti or nitak hollotuk imisha nitak tuchina (Three days after Holy Day)

Thursday Hlusti or Nitak Hollotuk imisha nitak usta (Fourth day after Holy Day)

Friday Flaiti or Nitak Hollotuk imisha tahlapi (Fifth day after Holy Day)

Saturday Satate or nitak hollo nakfish (Holy Day's brother)

Sunday Nitak Hollo (Holy Day)

 

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