The Blue Corn MaidenA Hopi Legend
The Blue Corn Maiden is said to be the most beautiful of the corn maiden sisters. The people loved her very much and they loved the blue corn that she brought to them all year long. Because of this, they felt peace and happiness when she was amongst them.
One cold winter morning, the Blue Corn Maiden went to gather firewood. This wasn’t a typical chore but she wanted to be helpful. She was outside of her house, when she saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit whose breath creates the cold wind. He brings winter to earth wearing a blue and white mask. When he saw the Blue Corn Maiden, he fell in love.
Winter Katsina told the Blue Corn Maiden that she must go to his house. There, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and he took her as his prisoner. Even though, Winter Katsina loved her and treated her well, she was sad. She missed her home and wanted to make blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.
One day, Winter Katsina went out to to scatter snow on the mesas. While he was away, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow from the door and went to look for the plants she loved to find in summer. Beneath the snow, all she could find was four blades of yucca.
She took the yucca to Winter Katsina’s house and made a fire. Once the fire was started, snow in the doorway melted away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina had fresh corn in one hand and blades of yucca in the other. He walked toward the Blue Corn Maiden.
At that moment, Winter Katsina blew winter wind through the doorway. He held an icicle in his hand like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in the other. As Winter Katsina blew cold wind, Summer Katsina blew warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised an icicle knife, Summer Katsina raised burning yucca leaves to melt the icicle. Winter Katsina saw that he must make peace with Summer Katsina.
The Winter and Summer Katsinas agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina.Blue Corn Maiden left with Summer Katsina, and she became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People of the Pueblos.
There are still times when after spring has come, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind and scatter snow. This is simply to show that he is angry for having to share Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.
Blue corn is an essential part of Hopi culture. The Hopi use blue corn in ceremonies naming their infants and believe it represents a long life. Hopi men ate it before long journeys and to this day, they believe in its power.
The Hopi have a reputation as superior dryland farmers. Their conservation is reflected in their crops – most notably in blue corn. Blue corn has several advantages over other corn. It contains 20% more protein and a lower glycemic index. When used for tortillas, blue corn produces a sweeter, nuttier taste.
Hopi Blue Corn Hotcakes
1 cup of blue corn meal
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup milk (I use 1%)