Day (Hąp)

by Richard L. Dieterle

The Sun is known as Hąbᵋwira, the "Luminary of the Day." The very name leads to some confusion. The Sun is not the same as the deity known as "Day" or "Daylight" (Hąp).1 The god Day, who can assume the form of a man, differs both from the physical sky and the god Sun. Sun neither causes the daylight by his presence nor the night by his absence. Just as darkness comes with the arrival of the Nightspirits, so the light of day comes with the ascent of Hąp into the sky.2 Daylight, like darkness, is conceived as a substance that Day spreads around as he ascends before the sun into the sky. In certain times and places, Daylight can be moved aside by the dark clouds of the Thunders, who then control the day. However, when Day is induced to stand immobile over a region, the day itself is said to be "held."3 Members of the Bear Clan are often blessed with the power to hold a day, and may in certain cases be able to hold as many as four days. When this happens the weather remains fair, since Daylight is not moved from his suzerainty over the atmosphere in that region where the day is held.4 Thus, in the primordial world, before the creation of clouds, "Day appeared motionless, and the vibrations of heat seemed to be like spider webs going past, floating."5

Links: Sun, Nightspirits, Bear Spirits, Blue Bear, Spiders.

Stories: featuring Day as a character: The Creation of the World (v. 1), Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth.


1 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 393.

2 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 413 nt. 47.

3 Walter W. Funmaker, The Winnebago Black Bear Subclan: a Defended Culture (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota: December, 1986 [MnU-D 86-361]]) 56-57. Informant: One Who Wins of the Winnebago Bear Clan.

4 Walter Funmaker, The Bear in Winnebago Culture: A Study in Cosmology and Society (Master Thesis, University of Minnesota: June, 1974 [MnU-M 74-29]) 65-66. His informant is Walking Soldier (1900-1977) who was a member of the Bear Clan.

5 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 302.