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How To Say The Months In Navajo + Their Meanings

Wondering how to say the names of the months in Navajo? 

This post will tell you all of the names of the months in Navajo and includes pronunciation.  

It also covers the meanings of the months and where these names came from.

We’ve summarised it in the handy video below, or you can scroll further down to learn more about the months in Navajo and the Navajo calendar.

List Of The Months In Navajo

Below you will find a summary list of the names of the months in Navajo. Read on to find out the meanings of the months.

JanuaryYas Niłt’ees
FebruaryAtsá Biyáázh

Check out the video below to hear the pronunciation of the months in Navajo by a native Navajo speaker:

In Navajo, they begin the yearly calendar in October and end it in September.

Before the modern Gregorian Calendar (Jan-Dec) was introduced to the Navajo people, the months were determined by both the new moon and also by the general weather conditions of that month and the birth of certain wild animals.

Weather patterns were slightly different to the weather we experience today. Nowadays you might experience less distinct weather patterns than in the past.

The months were named a long time ago before modern technology and even before the modern calendar was introduced to the Navajo people.

Below I have explained the meanings of the names of the months in Navajo.

January In Navajo

  • January in Navajo is Yas Niłt’ees which means ‘frying snow’.
  • It’s called this because January is mid winter and often by this time the Navajo people’s water source would have run out. Traditionally, many Navajo people would melt the snow to get water by gathering snow into buckets and melting it on the stove.
  • They would use the snow as a water source. This water would be used for drinking, washing and any other household use.

February In Navajo

  • February in Navajo is Atsá Biyáázh which means ‘little eagles’.
  • It’s called this because February is the month where baby eagles start to hatch. As winter is now coming to an end, animals start to come out of hibernation. 

March In Navajo

  • March in Navajo is Wóózhch’į́į́d which is the sound that baby eagles make when they are little. The word Wóózhch’į́į́d is how the Navajo people would mimic that sound. 
  • It’s called this because in March the baby eagles are growing and finding their voices so this sound is very prominent during this month.

April In Navajo

  • April in Navajo is T’á̜á̜chil which means ‘little leaves’.
  • It’s called this because at this time of the year, the leaves and plants are starting to grow again but at this point they are still small.

May In Navajo

  • May in Navajo is T’ą́ą́tsoh which means ‘big leaves’.
  • It’s called this because the leaves and plants that started to grow in April have now grown much bigger. The plant life is now thriving.
  • During this month the Navajo people would traditionally start preparing their fields and start planting new crops including corn, squash, peppers and other vegetables.

June In Navajo

  • June in Navajo is Ya’iishjááshchilí which means ‘planting of early crops’.
  • It’s called this because June is when the Navajo people would plant many of their early crops.
  • They did also start to harvest some of the wild plants that they used to sustain themselves including wild berries and seeds.

July In Navajo

  • July in Navajo is Ya’iishjááshtsoh which means ‘planting of late crops’. 
  • It’s called this because July was when the Navajo people would usually plant their late crops. They did it this way to prolong the harvest season so it would be lengthened over a longer period of time.

August In Navajo

  • August in Navajo is Bini’anit’á̜á̜ts’ósí which means ‘small harvest’ or ‘small ripening season’.
  • It’s called this because many of the crops begin to ripen during this month and the Navajo people would begin to harvest the early crops.

September In Navajo

  • September in Navajo is Bini’anit’ą́ą́tsoh which means ‘big harvest’ or ‘big ripening season’.
  • It’s called this because the crops are now in the final stages of growing so the Navajo people would traditionally harvest most of their crops during this month.

October In Navajo

  • October in Navajo is Gha̜a̜ji̜’ which means ‘back to back’.
  • It’s called this because summer is back to back with winter in the month of October.
  • This is the month where the Navajo people would traditionally clear their fields and the harvested crops would be stored in preparation for the winter months ahead.

November In Navajo

  • November in Navajo is Níłch’its’ósí which means ‘slender winds’.
  • It’s called this because November is known to have light but very cold winds as this is the first month of winter and the wintery weather begins.

December In Navajo

  • December in Navajo is Níłch’itsoh which means ‘big winds’.
  • It’s called this because in December the wintery weather gets worse and the Navajo people would experience cold, icy winds which were so extreme that it would keep them from working outside.
  • Traditionally, the Navajo people would stay inside during this month playing games etc. There would always be a fire lit to keep everyone warm.

If you need more help learning Navajo it may be worth getting a book like this one.

Thanks for reading this post on how to say the months in Navajo and their meanings. 

You should now be able to say the names of the months in Navajo and know where the names come from.

Thinking of learning Navajo? You might want to know how hard it is to learn Navajo. This post also covers how long it takes to learn Navajo.

It’s really important that people keep learning Navajo to keep the language alive. You can find out more about the Navajo language by checking out our other posts about Navajo.

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