Harlequin Books
Navajo Traditions

By Aimée Thurlo

Welcome to a world filled with wonder and the magic of falling in love - the Navajo Nation. It has a heartbeat all its own and is filled with tradition. One of the Diné’s - the Navajo People’s—most important traditions is the Kinaaldá, which marks a girl’s passage into womanhood. Among the many tasks and rituals she’ll have to complete is a full night of prayers. During those long hours she must sit perfectly still, back straight, legs outstretched before her. Eventually, as dawn breaks she’ll rise and race toward the east (where all things begin), symbolizing the journey from childhood to adulthood. The ritual celebrates the traditions of the past and gives the young woman a greater understanding of her place in the tribe.

One of my favorite traditions revolves around weaving. The Navajos are known for crafting exceptionally beautiful rugs, but there are rules for their successful completion. Since a piece of the artist’s heart and soul goes into the work,  every Navajo rug must include a small “opening” that leads to the edge. Sometimes this is a strand of yarn that’s woven with a contrasting color and winds its way to the rug’s border. Without this, the weaver’s thoughts might become trapped inside the blanket. This practice is a tribute to Spider Woman, who taught the tribe how to weave.

According to legend, Spider Woman also required that the skill of weaving be taught to other Navajos. This struck me as particularly beautiful because I can so easily liken it to writing. To me, a book is never complete until it’s in the hands of the readers.

Winter Hawk’s Legend is our 30th Harlequin Intrigue and like the Diné rug it has a piece of our heart and soul.