Yeibachi (sic) Yeibichai

Encyclopedia Article


Known as Yébîchai in Navajo, the Nightway is a ceremonial that lasts nine nights and is performed by a singer to heal a patient, although family members and friends are often present in the hogan, along with the Holy People, for the healing. The Nightway includes singing, dancing, pollen blessing, sandpainting, sweating, and other offerings and rituals.

This is one of the only ceremonials occasionally performed in public, but the patient decides which parts of the Nightway are private and which are left open. On the last night, masked dancers appear dressed as "yei", or spiritual beings to conclude the ceremony.

Photo Credit: 

The three figures are medicine-men, or singers, chanting. The patient lies under the blankets surrounded by a line of sacred meal in which turkey-feather prayer-sticks, kadán, are implanted. By Harold Carey Jr.

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