November 30

Encyclopedia Article


The Shalako Ceremony is one of the most significant religious ceremonies for the Zuñi people and occurs near the winter solstice as the ceremonial year draws to a close. Those participating in it begin their preparations for it months in advance. In his 1973 Navajo detective novel DANCE HALL OF THE DEAD, Tony Hillerman selects a chapter heading that is a date late in November, signaling to the reader the imminence of the approaching dances and feasts of the Shalako ceremony.

The Shalako festival, on or about December 1, is a remarkable sacred drama, enacted in the open for the double purpose of invoking the divine blessing upon certain newly-built houses, and of rendering thanks to the gods for the harvests of the year.

Photo Credit: 

"Zuni Shalako kachina in procession, Museum of Man, San Diego, California, August 7, 2012" by Tim Evanson.

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