Nisga’a New Year, known as “Hobiyee,” was celebrated in Vancouver at the Agrodome last week and we have some video.
Hobiyee is the new year celebration of the Nisga’a First Nation that celebrates the first crescent moon that is shaped like “hoobix,” which is the the shape of the Nisga’a spoon. This special crescent shaped moon with its bowl facing upwards indicated that the following season would be a bountiful harvest of oolichan, salmon, berries and other resources.
From Hobiyee 2012 Ts’amiks Edition, here’s an explanation on the meaning of “Hobiyee”:
The Simgigat-Nisga’a Chieftains in past centuries studied the celestial heavens. They were knowledgeable in the behaviours of the stars in proximity to the moon which forecasted the weather patterns. They studied the astrology not from text books but by years of observing the heavens.
The Halayt-Simgigat (Spiritual Leader- Chief) studied the “Buxw-laks” moon, The Moon of February. Over time, they observed that whenever the first crescent moon is in the shape of a “Hoobix”- the bowl of a Nisga’a wooden spoon, thin shaped and the ends pointing upward- that in the following seasons the resources of our lands would be plentiful, the oolichan, salmon, berries and various other resources, bountiful.
Hobiyee is about the point in time when our “Gal-ha’ink” Cedar Bent Boxes of the Nisga’a are near empty of their winter provisions and they have begun to ration the last of their provisions. The Nisga’a are hoping and praying for a bountiful season of oolichans (saviour fish) and a fruitful year.
So the Nisga’a say, “Hobiyee” meaning “the spoon is full”.
Hobiyee is celebrated with a potlatch filled with traditional song and dance. This year in Vancouver, the Hobiyee celebration was taken to a new level when it was hosted by the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Organization at the PNE Agrodome and streamed live onto the internet.
The event included hundreds of drummers, singers and dancers from around British Columbia and lasted 2 nights. Although this event has already passed here in Vancouver, there is an even more traditional event happening in the traditional territory of the Nisga’a in Gitlaxt’aamiks, which is the capital of the Nisga’a Nation 97 kilometers of Terrace, British Columbia. For more info on that event, visit: nnkn.ca/content/hobiyee-2012-feb-24-252012-gitlaxtaamiks-bc-rec-centre.
The archived live stream of the Vancouver Hobiyee celebration is some of the best footage capture of the event. Here is the grand entry: