Onáfapi hicha Toffapi

When was the Choctaw New Year? It is possible we did not celebrate a single New Year. Our ancestors may have emphasized the beginning, or end, of two longer seasons: Onáfa hicha Toffa, Winter and Summer. Let’s consider this etymologically. The names Onáfapi hicha Toffapi, Fall and Spring, are derivatives of the names for Winter and Summer. Respectively, they mean something like stem of Winter, and stem of Summer. The Choctaw season Onáfa was known to start with the autumnal equinox, and Toffa with the Vernal equinox, so the names for Fall and Spring may have just been created to match outside cultures that named four seasons. We are required to shift our perspective to even consider the initial question. And then the only answer we may find, is to keep watching the moons, because that’s how our ancient relatives measured their years.

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