Celebrate the three sisters: corn, beans and squash
According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. Corn, beans and squash were among the first crops. The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Great Spirit, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the “Do-o-ha-ko,” or “our sustainers.”
Planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of “green” corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Native Americans passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations. Traditional planting of these three vegetables close together works well for soil and is good nutrition.
Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates and the dried beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.
Recognize, celebrate and offer thanksgiving for these gifts which sustained generations of Native Americans, other civilizations and the Pilgrims, well-known through the story of their encounter with the New World.