The Snow Snake Game Bringing the Community Together
To face the winter chill, what better way than to come together? For several years, the Kahnawake Winter Carnival has upheld the tradition of the snow snake for some lighthearted fun among friends.
The game involves throwing a flattened or carved piece of wood into a trough-shaped space carved in the snow. The winner is determined based on the distance covered by the snake. "Every year at the Carnival, we play this game," says Kyle Zacharie, one of the event organizers. People of all ages gather near the snow structure, laughing as they watch everyone try their technique to throw as far as possible."
The length of the lane where participants project the snake varies. School children usually participate in sculpting the playing field.
Mr. Zacharie laments, however, that winter is not what it used to be. Snowfall is less abundant, sometimes not in adequate quantity to sustain this kind of activity.
The snow snake is said to be a traditional Haudenosaunee game. The games were usually played when men returned from hunting. At the time, the game was considered medicinal as it had the ability to uplift spirits during prolonged winter periods.