Kwiyamuya, Hakitonmuya, and Wuko'uyis

Ye´ii Bicheii, Navajo Grandfather Katsina, PM 45-25-10/28900
Taatangaya, Moth Katsina, PM 45-25-10/28817
Koo´awkatsina, PM 985-27-10/58965
Koyaala, Hano Clown, PM 61-1-10/39025

Kwiyamuya: Footraces

In April, the Hopi start preparing and planting their gardens and fields with various crops, especially corn. Racer katsinam appear in the plaza and challenge men and boys to foot races, thus blessing them with strong and healthy lives. "As the men race, so the water will rush down the arroyos," the Hopi say. A Mudhead katsina leads the Racers, carrying prizes in a blanket. During the kwiyamuya races, two katsinam who are female fertility figures force men and boys to the ground and make copulatory movements that symbolize procreation.

Koona, Chipmunk Racer Katsina (no image)
Hömsona, Hair-knot Racer Katsina (no image)

Hakitonmuya: Plaza Dances, Footraces

During this period small quantities of beans, pumpkins, gourds, muskmelons and watermelons are planted. The word "haki" means "wait," as it is not yet the time to plant most of the crops. Katsinam are called upon to help the plants sprout and grow. Many of them represent seeds and different kinds of sacred corn, or blooming plant life; others represent rain, or the increase of game animals. During the early planting season katsina dances are performed on the plaza.

Ye´ii Bicheii, Navajo Grandfather Katsina'

Ye´ii Bicheii is dressed in the traditional Navajo ceremonial costume, a white buckskin cape. He appears with the Tasavkatsinam (katsinam who represent and honor the Navajo tribe) and dances on the sidelines, acting out the meaning of the songs with arm and hand movements.

Taatangaya, Moth Katsina

Taatangaya represents the different species of moth that pollinate Hopi crops and other vegetation that grows on their land.


Koo´awkatsina is one of the most ancient Hopi katsinam. This older version, with a green mask and chevrons colored red, black, yellow, performed for the last time in Musangnuvi in 1914. The face paint represents rain, which is symbolized by the cloud or rainbow symbols on his forehead. He wears an eagle down and parrot feathers on his head that represent clouds. Flat dolls represent children of katsinam and are given to infants.

Koyaala, Hano Clown

Koyaala, also called Hano clown (Hano is a village on First Mesa), is a priest who takes care of the katsinam during the summer dances. His name refers to his two-horned headdress (koya´lashen). He is also called Tsuku, a Hopi word for clown. He was introduced to Hopi by immigrants from the Rio Grande Valley in the early eighteenth century. He appears only during the spring and summer dances and performs only in the afternoon. He arrives in villages by traveling from roof to roof, announcing his presence with loud yells, then descending ladders and falling comically to the ground. Because his eyes and teeth are showing, this particular doll represents Koyaala as a human clown, not a katsina.

Kuwanhömsona, Racer Katsina (no image)

Wuko'uyis: Plaza Dances

Wuko´uyis, the main planting season in early June, is an important time when the first corn is planted and young people and children are taught how to farm. Katsinam appear at sunrise in all twelve Hopi villages and proceed in single file to the plazas. The dances conclude at sunset with prayers and blessings.