Tonight is the November Full Moon and for the Cherokee Indians this moon (called Nvdadequa) was traditionally a time of trading and barter among different towns and tribes for produce and goods from hunting. The people traded with other nearby tribes as well as distant tribes, including those in Canada, Middle America and South America.

It was also a customary time of the “Friendship Festival” called Adohuna and meaning “new friends made.” That day itself was a day of atonement for the Cherokee and ritual fasting was observed. A day for transgressions were forgiven. (The exception being murder which traditionally was taken care of according to the law of blood by a clans person of a murdered person.) The festival recalls a time before “world selfishness and greed” and so it was also a time when the needy among the towns were given whatever they needed to help them through the winter.

All that does not seem so far off from Thanksgiving and other ceremonies and observations of this Full Moon that for many of us is the last one of autumn and one that weather-wise can feel like autumn or winter.

Many names for the moons come from observations of nature. This moon has been called the Frost Moon, Fog Moon, Snow Moon and Sassafras Moon (Choctaw).

Other names come from observing activities of insects and animals. The name “Beaver Moon” comes from both human activity – Native Americans and Colonists setting beaver traps during this month – and from the animal activity of beavers building their winter dams. The name “Moon When Horns Are Broken Off” given by the Dakotah Sioux is another example.

Other names for the Full Moons at this time are more symbolic: Initiate Moon, Dark Moon, Mourning Moon, Blotmonath (Sacrifice Month), Mad Moon, Kindly Moon (China), Sleeping Moon (Celtic) and Mourning Moon (Druid).

The Japanese festival honoring the goddess of the kitchen is at this time. It honors the women who prepare the daily meals.  The goddess Kami was important because she used the harvested food to protect and provide for the family.

In Tibet, they celebrated the Feast of Lanterns, a winter festival of the shortest days of the Sun.

Among the Incas it was a time of the Ayamarca, or Festival of the Dead.