CHANUPA (SACRED PIPE) CEREMONY
Tobacco, which originally grew in North America, was the subject of active trade between Indian tribes long before the advent of Columbus, and the smoking process itself resembled a leisurely ritual. In principle, this was a real religious ceremony, akin to meditation. Accordingly, the art of making pipes was highly revered and was considered one of the main ones in the culture of many tribes.
There were several varieties of pipes, but the most popular was the long peace pipe. Initially, such a pipe was used by the Indians of the open plains, then other North American Indian tribes adopted this tradition. The peace pipe was made from a long wooden mouthpiece and a small bowl hollowed out of catlinite (its homeland is what is now the state of Minnesota, but thanks to close trading relations between tribes, it spread widely throughout the North American continent).
There was also a tradition of making smaller pipes, either entirely carved from stone or molded from clay. The latter were especially popular among the Iroquois and Cherokee Indians. In the southwest of the continent, pipes were made of wood and deer antler, and during colonization, so-called “tomahawk pipes” already appeared, where stone cups were replaced with cast metal ones, to which a knife or hatchet for throwing was attached to the back.
The American Indians are perhaps the only nation that has a separate ceremony for smoking. Its meaning lies in the tranquility that, in theory, brings measured sipping of an aromatic potion (fragrant, since in addition to tobacco, the mixture also included some other herbs). This is a prayer ritual that calls on the spirit of the world to send its revelation to the participants. The roots of the ritual most likely originate from the worship of fire, and the pipe is, as it were, a child of the hearth.
The smoking ceremony was different for each tribe, but one thing remained constant – the peaceful intentions of those who wished to share the pipe potion with each other.