Soyal - Hopi Winter Solstice
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SOYAL

Kachinas Come Down from the Peaks to Establish Life Anew
The Hopi People, inhabitants of northern Arizona for over a thousand years, celebrate December as when the Kachinas come down from their home in the San Francisco Peaks to bring the sun back to the world. The Katsinam or Kachinas, spirits that guard over the Hopi, dance at the winter solstice Soyal Ceremony (Soyaluna or Soyalangwul), understood to mean “Establishing Life Anew for All the World.”
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Kachinas Come Down from the Peaks to Establish Life Anew
The Hopi People, inhabitants of northern Arizona for over a thousand years, celebrate December as when the Kachinas come down from their home in the San Francisco Peaks to bring the sun back to the world. The Katsinam or Kachinas, spirits that guard over the Hopi, dance at the winter solstice Soyal Ceremony (Soyaluna or Soyalangwul), understood to mean “Establishing Life Anew for All the World.”
Soyal is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and Hopi peoples held December 21, the shortest day of the year. Participants ceremonially bring the sun back from its long slumber, mark the beginning of another cycle of the Wheel of the Year, and work on purification. Pahos prayer sticks are made prior to the Soyal ceremony, to bless all the community, including homes, animals, and plants. The sacred underground kiva chambers are ritually opened to mark the beginning of the Kachina season.
The Hopi Indians, who have lived in the highlands of northern Arizona for over a thousand years, divide their calendar into 12 months with different ceremonies each month.

December is the month where the katsinas or kachinas, the spirits that guard over the Hopi, come down from their world at the winter solstice or Soyal (also referred to as Soyaluna and Soyalangwu). They remain with the people for the first half of the Wheel of the Year until the summer solstice, when they return to their home in the mountains. The kachinas are benevolent anthropomorphic beings, who can be male or female, and represent a host of animals, plants, and natural phenomena. They are greatly celebrated and revered and their presence is associated with rain, crops, and healing the sick.
The Soyal Solstice Ceremony is also called the Great Feast of the Winter Solstice and is celebrated by the Southwest Pueblo, Zuni and Hopi tribes of Native Americans. The Soyal solstice ceremony is held on December 21 which is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the Winter Solstice. The purpose of the Soyal ceremony and ritual is to bring the sun back from its long winter slumber. The Soyal Solstice Ceremony is a major Hopi ceremony which is celebrated over a period of 16 days which starts with prayers and supplications and ends with a feast and Kachina Dance. The Native American name for this important ceremony is 'Soyalangwul' from which the term 'Soyal is derived.
Soyaluna is part of the tradition of the Hopi Indians, one of the Native American tribes of North America. The history of this and other Native American cultures dates back thousands of years into prehistoric times. According to many scholars, the people who became the Native Americans migrated from Asia across a land bridge that may have once connected the territories presently occupied by Alaska and Russia. The migrations, believed to have begun between 60,000 and 30,000 B . C . E ., continued until approximately 4,000 B . C . E . This speculation, however, conflicts with traditional stories asserting that the indigenous Americans have always lived in North America or that tribes moved up from the south.
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