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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Those crazy Indians

After much anticipation, they finally released the names of the full moons of 2007. That's right, they name full moons. Apparently it stems from a Native American tradition, which makes me feel a little better about taking their land. Or, as they refer to it, "George." Some examples:

March 3, 6:17 p.m. EST - The Full Worm Moon
May 2, 6:09 a.m. EDT - The Full Flower Moon
June 30, 9:49 a.m. EDT - The Full Strawberry Moon
Aug. 28, 6:35 a.m. EDT - The Full Sturgeon Moon

The Sturgeon, as in the big fish. I might be laying on the couch doing nothing, but at least I'm not doing something stupid AND useless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure those names are reused year after year. And plenty of white people refer to them too. Check a farmer's almanac.

I'd say the fact that each moon's name has such a lengthy explanation gives this tradition a use: to teach the next generation about the seasons in more detail than "Plant in spring, harvest in fall." Besides, it's not any stupider than naming the months, is it? Just because it's useless to you doesn't mean it's useless.

12/31/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Killian said...

Every culture has traditions that are valuable only in that they're traditions and some people like traditions.

I don't think we should necessarily knock the Indians for their silly traditions any more than we'd knock anyone else's -- but nor should we pretend they and their culture are noble and wise because they aren't European and they got the short end of the historical stick.

12/31/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

I hate the concept of tradition for tradition's sake. If it's useful or people enjoy, they're welcome to it.

It isn't any more stupid than calling March March or April April, but we do that for the same reason that we'll never stop using years coordinated by the birth of a man only 1/3th of the world believes in: because it's already what everyone does. The system is there, it works, and it's almost impossible to change it now. I personally can't imagine referring to the full moon on February 2nd as the "Full Snow Moon" rather than saying "Hey kids, it gets cold in February." Then again, I'm also a fan of electric heating and meteorology. Technology never was the Native Americans' style.

12/31/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't? They adopted rifles pretty fast, and used them to good effect. As a people, no tribe was resistant to technology - they just didn't have it first, and really Europeans weren't than far ahead. They had ships and guns - the rest was pretty superfluous.

I always like to note how, hygienically, the average Indian was way ahead of the average European. Europe had a funny little idea that frequent bathing was immoral.

12/31/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

I was referring to the development of it, but it's good to point out that Native Americans used whatever weapons they could get. Even so, I'd still rather be shot with a gun than with an arrow.

1/01/2007 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to question traditions that make no sense to me, but I've come to realize that even traditions that serve no practical purpose often serve a psychological and sociological purpose. For instance, winter would feel awfully long and empty if I didn't start it out with a pretty lighted tree and a bunch of presents in decorative paper. There's not really any "practical" reason for gift-giving, except that it makes everyone feel good. When traditions at least serve that purpose, they have a measurable (though not concrete or objective) use.

Also, though Native Americans understandably bristle at being linked with Neopaganism (considering there's nothing "neo" about their belief systems), I can certainly see the usefulness of a system of naming moons to track nature's cycles more than someone like you can. And that's no insult to you, just the fact that I'm a tree-hugging dirt worshipper and you're not.

P.S. Is anyone else fucking sick of Blogger's new system not letting you sign in below your already-typed comments like the old system did? Grr.

1/02/2007 10:58:00 AM  

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