As the seasons turn from Autumn to Winter, the Feast of Ancestors is celebrated all over Brittanis. Giving thanks for the harvest and turning to the bitter work of culling the herds and flocks for the winter, both the nobility and the smallfolk of Brittanis are all too aware of the power in the blood and the spirits called to torchlight in the misty evenings...
This holiday is when the upcoming event, Event 2.5: INTO THE LONG NIGHT
, takes place. It was also the setting of last year's "Harvest of Heroes" event.
Commonly Known Lore:
- The holiday lasts for 5 days, beginning at sundown of the first day.
- The veil between the moral realm and the Otherworld is thin, and Weird Stuff can happen.
- Celebrated as a holy day of Rhaine in the Three Sisters faith, Aenriya for White Court followers.
- Torches are lit at night to light the way for the lost ... both the living and the dead.
- Most folk do not travel, for fear of getting lost in the mists and finding themselves permanently relocated somewhere... else. Many legends tell of travelers walking into a bank of mist and finding themselves inexplicably transported hundreds or thousands of miles, or even sometimes into the Otherworld itself.
- Spirits and strangers can appear on the doorstep. It is good to keep warm drinks and good food on hand to comfort and appease travellers with the grace of good Hospitality.
- Blood power is especially potent, making blood magic even more wild and dangerous.
- "Rhaine's Windows" are triangles of tied sticks, hung from trees and walls during the holiday. These can act as "magic mirrors" showing glimpses of strange people and places, including the faces of loved ones who have passed beyond into Rhaine's realm. But it's best not to make them too large or to step too close, for sometimes a window can act as a door...
- Weddings are common this time of year, as the beloved ancestors can perhaps attend and witness the union.
- The Tiberians had a similar festival this time of year, where reflective surfaces -- like mirrors and still water -- could act as portals or windows. They were surprised to find the same phenomenon in Brittanis when they arrived, and quickly adapted to the local customs. So -- White Court devotees don't necessarily feel this is a Three Sisters holiday, they see it as a festival recognizing a natural phenomenon. But they do have lovely songs and stories about visions of Aenriya rising from still lakes and pools on this day, which Tiberians call "The Feast of the Lady's Vision"
- Gael'Dar hold this holiday the most holy of the entire year, calling it the Feast of Four Ancestors (Mereth en Canad Nothlir). The wild elves use it to mark the passing of the old year into the new. Their culture's reverence for the Four Ancestors means they are literally closest to those spirits at this holiday. It is usually marked with great hunts, offerings to the Four Ancestors while they are close, and rites of passage into adulthood.
- Before the Fall of Valyngaard, the holiday in this time of year was called "Heirsmeet", when the designated heir to the ruler of a settlement would host a feast or celebration in order to establish positive relationships with the people she would eventually rule. After the Crown Prince betrayed his people and murdered his entire family, the Free Dwarves replaced it with a festival known as "Intercession" (Estver Gromthi Vlag, literally "Call the Lost Ancestors") where the living dwarves pray for the spirits of those who died and went unburied during the Fall of Valyngaard. It is believed that those spirits still wander the Otherworld, unable to find their final rest. Much symbolism is placed on the similarities of Free Dwarves abandoned in Brittanis and the spirits of the dead wandering the Otherworld. Many Free Dwarves build Rhaine's Windows (see above) in hopes of contacting those lost souls and guiding them to rest, regardless of whether they personally honor Rhaine or not.
- Erin'Tar call the holiday "The Night of One Ring" (Dû en Min Rithil); with the Veil so thin and the two worlds so close, it is the High Elven custom to focus on the similarities and unity in all things. It is the time of year when elves seek atonement, pursue deep reflection, and both ask for and give forgiveness. Of particular note is that many Erin'Tar legends speak of the binding power of oaths given between elves during this holiday.
Photo Credit: Jeremiah Mitchell, taken at the 2014 Brittanis Feast of the Ancestors event, "Harvest of Heroes".