How to perform a Native American rain dance

Written by dan richter
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How to perform a Native American rain dance
Turquoise clothing and feathers characterise the wardrobe worn during a rain dance. (surajps/iStock/Getty Images)

A rain dance is a ceremonial dance that many Native American tribes have performed for centuries. Rain dances are typically performed by both male and female members of the tribe during the late summer months when rain is needed for crops and droughts most often occur. Many tribes around the United States keep this tradition alive and perform rain dances to this day. Even if you're not a Native American, you can perform a traditional rain dance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Turquoise-coloured clothing and jewellery
  • Feathers

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  1. 1

    Wear turquoise and feathers, if you have any. Many Native American tribes associate turquoise with rain and feathers with the wind. Put on any turquoise-coloured clothing that you may have and turquoise jewellery. If you have access to any bird or decorative feathers, place a couple in your hair or secure them to a hat and wear them during the rain dance.

  2. 2

    Find an outdoor space where you have plenty of room to move around. Choose a space that has sparse or no tree cover so that you have a clear view of the sky. The terrain of the space you choose should be relatively flat, which will make it easier to perform the rain dance.

  3. 3

    Spin around in circles. Begin spinning clockwise at a slow and steady pace. Chant your own simple rain chant as you spin. Your chant can be something as simple as the word "rain" repeated over and over or an entire phrase, such as "Come down rain." Raise your hands to the sky occasionally to urge the rain to fall.

  4. 4

    Speed up your spinning and chanting. The longer you spin and chant the faster you should spin and chant. Close your eyes as you dance and breathe in deeply between chants. When you want to end the dance, drop to your knees in silence. Stay on your knees until any dizziness you feel goes away and you can regain your balance.

Tips and warnings

  • Spin around in a counter-clockwise manner and chant something like "rain go away" to perform a dance to make it stop raining.

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