Why Indian Summer?
Why is it called Indian Summer? Here you will find a plausible guess, a beautiful legend, and the meaning of the leaf colors for Iroquois.
Indian summer - main hunting season and stock gathering
When yellow, orange and blood-red leaves spread across seemingly endless deciduous forests in North America from September onward, the Indian Summer is here. It is an unusually dry and warm weather period accompanied by bright blue skies. But why Indian summer? There are only conjectures. For example, that this was the main hunting season of the North American natives and the last opportunity to gather supplies for the winter.
The Iroquois bear hunt
The Iroquois people tell a beautiful story about the Indian summer. According to it, every year in autumn two hunters and their dog chase a big bear. Since the bear has magical powers, it flees up to the sky. But the hunters and their dog follow it and kill it. The blood of the bear drips on the earth and colors the leaves of the maple trees red. Even today, the constellations of this hunt can be seen: the Great Bear, better known as the Big Dipper, and close behind it the two hunters and their dog, represented by the three draw-bar stars.
The importance of leaf colors for Iroquois
In the mythology of the Iroquois, the colors of the Indian Summer have a special meaning. The yellow leaves symbolize the fires of the spirits, while the red leaves are soaked in the blood of the bear, slain by the celestial hunters. However, such stories were told by the indigenous population only in winter. The summer was reserved for work. And whoever broke this law was punished by the invisible nature spirits Jo-ga-oh. Colors also have their symbolism here.
More about Indian Summer
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