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Title: Shalako  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Native American dances, Grass dance, Jingle dress, Native American religion
Collection: Native American Dances, Native American Religion
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Shalako is a series of dances and ceremonies conducted by the Zuni people at the winter solstice, typically following the harvest. The Shalako ceremony and feast has been closed to non-native peoples since 1990.[1]

The Shálako 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. The exact date of the Shálako is fixed each year by a formula of the Zuni Bow priests, which traditionally was the 49th day past the tenth full moon, but has been altered to the weekend nearest the 49th day past the tenth full moon, as many Zuni people work away from their Reservation at jobs that do not allow them weekdays off. The official publication of the date is not made until the eighth evening before the event. The immediate effect of this announcement, which is given out by ten people in the principal plazas, is to quicken the easy-going life of the old pueblo into a bustle of industry.


  1. ^ "Zuni - Religion and Expressive Culture." (retrieve 21 Nov 2011)


  • Charles Francis Saunders, The Indians of the Terraced Houses, Chapter XVI: Of the Night Dance of the Shálako Gods, pp. 153–166. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1912.
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