Okla Chahta Alhíha i̱ Hashi Alhíha

Here is an alternate interpretation of Choctaw months found in the Henry S. Halbert papers at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. This text was transcribed directly from Henry Halbert’s written notes in the folder labeled “Choctaw Divisions of Time” (Henry S. Halbert papers, 1821-1918, Box 5, folder 2).

“The Choctaws began the year with the first new moon of the vernal equinox: Hence it began some time in March. They divided the year into four seasons: “Tofahpi,” spring, “tofa,” summer, “hʋshtolahpi,” fall, and “hʋshtola,” winter. They subdivided it into thirteen lunar months: Chafo chitto, luak mosholi, hʋsh koinchush, hʋsh koi chitto, hʋsh watulak, tek in hʋshi, hʋsh mahli, hʋsh bihi, hʋsh bissa, hʋsh kʋf, hʋsh takon, hʋsh hoponi, and chafiskono.Chafo chitto was the first month comprising a period beginning at some day in March and ending in early April. In fact, the first new moon in early spring was the beginning of this month. As a conjecture, the first part of this month’s name may be an abbreviation of “hochafo,” hunger, making the name mean Big Hunger, having reference perhaps to the scarcity of food at this season, the corn and other products being sometimes exhausted.

Luak Mosholi means fire extinguished, meaning that the weather was now so warm that there was no need of fires. This month then generally begins toward the latter part of April. Tek in hʋshi, meaning women’s month and corresponding somewhat to September, was some times called Sheki hʋshi, Buzzard month. Hʋsh kʋf was the first winter month.

Footnote: The names of the Choctaw months, and facts connected with them were derived from conversations with old Hemonubee in 1884. The names of the months are also to be found in Byington’s Choctaw Definer.”

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