Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Navajo Ceremonies

Ceremony is a vital part of Diné (Navajo) culture. Based in Diné spirituality, ceremonies are used primarily for healing or the restoration of hózhǫ́ (harmony and balance), which requires constant attention. More than 50 different types of ceremonies are practiced in Dinétah (the Diné homeland). Ceremonies can commemorate significant moments in Diné culture and life, from a child’s first laugh to a wedding. Some ceremonies last a few hours, while the healing ceremonies, or chants, may continue for as long as nine days and nights. The ts’aa (ceremonial basket) is integrally linked to Diné ceremony. Its design and form portray the universe in balance and harmony. Sacred stories explain how the Holy People created baskets to keep the world in order and to teach ceremonies to the Diné. Baskets hold the prayers and implements of ceremonies. Many basket makers participate in ceremonies to maintain their own hózhǫ́ as they create these powerful objects.