Anishinaabe Word of The Day

Spring (ziigwan)

Spring, also known as springtime, is one of the four temperate seasons, succeeding winter and preceding summer. There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. When it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. At the spring (or vernal) equinoxdays and nights are approximately twelve hours long, with daytime length increasing and nighttime length decreasing as the season progresses until the Summer Solstice in June (Northern Hemisphere) and December (Southern Hemisphere).

Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Subtropical and tropical areas have climates better described in terms of other seasons, e.g. dry or wet, monsoonal or cyclonic. Cultures may have local names for seasons which have little equivalence to the terms originating in Europe.


Audio Piece

Anishinaabe Story

Source (

Once there was a spirit-boy named Winabojo who taught the Ojibway how to live in the natural world.

One day he asked his grandmother what was the biggest fish in the lake. She replied that there was an enormous fish that lived by a rock ledge but it was very powerful and would harm Winabojo. No one could kill the fish because no one could get down there where it lived.

Winabojo thought about how to hunt this fish, so he got some wood to make a bow and arrows. Then he asked his grandmother if there were any birds whose feathers could be put on the arrows to make them effective. She told Winabojo the only feathers strong enough come from a bird that lives in the sky, at the opening of the clouds. One would have to go there to get these feathers.

Winabojo climbed to the highest cliff and discovered a nest of the Thunderbirds and saw their babies. Winabojo turned into a rabbit so the Thunderbirds would bring him to their nest for their babies to play with. Winnabojo stayed in the nest for a long time; the babies were cruel to him and tossed him around. Eventually Thunderbirds went away to hunt for more food for their babies. Winabojo turned back to a boy; he clubbed the baby Thunderbirds and pulled out their feathers Before their parents could return, Winabojo jumped from the high nest with the bundle of feathers but he was knocked out, but he was not killed because he was a manido.

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Related Words

Niwii-gitige ziigwang.
I’m going to plant this spring.

Ziigwang iko gagwaanisa-maanamonoon ini miikanan.
In the spring the roads used to be just terrible.

Bijiinag miinawaa ani-ziigwang gii-saagibagaag ji-mazhii’igewaad igiweg anokiiwininiwag.
Next spring when there is foliage that’s when the work crew will start clearing and brushing.

Gii-ziigwang aamiwag ogaawag.
Walleyes spawn in the spring.