What is Huron Dream Guessing and How often is the Ononharoia ceremony held?

Hundreds of years before psychiatrists began analyzing their patient’s dreams, the Huron people believed that nightmares held hidden clues to a person’s innermost desires.

Once a year, they held a ceremony called Ononharoia (meaning “upsetting the brain”) to examine their dreams.

The ceremony began on a winter night. In the cold and dark, everyone troubled with bad dreams ran crazily through the village, stumbling into other families’ longhouses and riffling through their possessions.

The next day, they returned to these houses and asked the inhabitants to guess what they had dreamed about the night before. Each guesser had to give the dreamers an object, such as a tool or a pot, that their dream showed they secretly wanted.

Dreamers went from guesser to guesser until someone gave them the thing they wanted most.

With their dream fulfilled, they were then cured of all their bad thoughts.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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