Ezǫ Nǫǫdèe Toò K’e - Returning of the Spirits
Tonight is the Return of the Spirits
On the night of the Return of the Spirits, the last night of October, October 31st, we pray together and prepare to set the table with a table cloth, as we did in the past in our tents on oıl cloth, using spruce bough for our table. During the night, which is a holy night, the Spirits come back to visit us. They give us something special for the whole year. It might be signs of animals in the form of animal hair, the fur of large or small animals, or little pieces of food--all signs of good fortune and health.
In the morning of All Saints Day, November 1st, we look in the plates and cups to see what the Spirits had given to us. If there is evidence of animal hair, fur, a feather, or fish-scales it is a sign that there will be plenty of caribou, moose, rabbit, chickens, and fish. If there is animal fur, trapping will be good for trappers and hunters. In the camp and in our communities, people come together to celebrate this Holy Day with praying and feasting. Every family would bring something to share for the feast. All Souls’ Day was combined with All Saints’ Day.
People have always celebrated together; it is our tradition and our Spirituality. We learn to accept what has been given to us, we learn to appreciate and be grateful. We learn to share, love, and support others. We learn to respect what we have and we learn to survive with what little things we have. Living on the land with our families made us so grateful, especially when people lived a healthy lifestyle. The Return of the Spirits was so spiritual that the women prepared for the family. They sewed and made clothing so that their husbands and sons would use their new hand-made clothes to go to church. That was a very special day for them.
Rewritten by Rosa Mantla.
The Return of the Spirits comes once a year, and through it we celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Some families lived close to Behchokǫ̀ and they would bring their families to Behchokǫ̀ to take part in church services. Men would go and travel by dogteam to Behchokǫ̀ł some traveled all night on foot. People with dogteams would run their dogteam close to church and join the people in prayer as soon as they arrived. They didn’t often stop to drink tea or eat; they didn’t want to miss the special service because they hoped to be part of their families’ journey until next year. Hunters and trappers have experienced spırıtual sıgns whıle they were on the land, some durıng theır travel on Hallowe’en nıght.
Today, we celebrate Hallowe’en by dressing up in scary and weird colorful costumes
Today, we celebrate Hallowe’en by dressing up in scary and weird colorful costumes, wearing all types of make-up, and black, orange, and white colours. Unfortunately, a lot of money is being spent. Partıcıpate ın Hallowe’en dances. When Halloween was first introduced in Behchokǫ̀, the kids went wild--they turned over outhouses, untied dogs, tied dog chains together, and went sliding with people’s canoes. When the people got up in the morning, they too went wild with fear and anger, not aware of what had happened during the night or who had played tricks on them. There was nothing else for the children to do in the village at the time. It took quite a while before they learnt about what Hallowe’en is all about. Hallowe’en was not our custom but ıt ıs a specıal event world wıde. We need to share with our children how and why Tłı̨chǫ people used to celebrate the Return of the Spirits.
Rewritten by Rosa Mantla.