Festival of the Moons
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- Common Names
- Festival of the Moons, Festival of Stei, Balfagor's Night
- As there are two moons in the sky of Entorais they feature prominently in both the folk lore and the religions of the peoples. In Waejir, the nights when both Rae and Nae are full are considered unique times when the veil between the lands of the living, and the lands of the unclaimed dead are thinnest. Allowing ghosts of persons not given a proper funeral to visit people in the dreams or even possibly waking moments. The festival takes place during the three nights closest matching a double full moon. A true conjunction of the full moons only occurs every 1110 days, and is cause for greater celebrations lasting a full tenday. The macro-cycle of these conjunctions repeats every 37 solar years, and the current year being 20th of that cycle, counted from the last conjunction matching the new year.
- Devotees of Balfagor, and most other Waejirans will traipse about in elaborate masks depicting either of Balfagor's Stei, Rae or Nae, sometimes a dual mask, or even full costumes are worn. They dance to celebrate hopes, dreams, and glimpse of fate delivered by these divine messengers to deserving folk when they are sleeping.
- Waking dreams
- Many celebrants will partake of hallucinogenic substances or eschew sleep to bring on visions during waking moments during the celebrations. Waejirans believe that the dreams delivered by Rae and Nae during full moons are prophetic containing hints about a persons fate. Since both moons are full during these holy times, the night visions are believed to be especially revealing.
- Devotees of Neithur, the Waejiran god of the dead, take these times to perform ceremonies intended to guide these wayward souls to the afterlife. It is considered a sacred duty to help all souls find redemption through Neithur and eventual rebirth through Silat.
- Gathering the Dead
- Every temple of Neithur will send out one or more priests, whom parades about the city calling out to the dead to join with and accompany the procession back to Neithur's embrace. The course covers most of the city and is paced to last until dawn, at which time the procession will return to the temple. The sombre bronze death masks and ashen robes of the participating priests provides a stark contrast finery of the other celebrants. Lesser temple members may often dress ghosts, skeletons, and corpses following the priest about to encourage lost souls to join the parade and find salvation. These are the three basic forms of undead believed to be lost in the world, and presumably the three forms the dead can take; a person’s corpse, or bones, or ghostly spirit may be all that remains of their original body. So all three are depicted, to be inclusive, it wouldn’t do to round up the bones, and leave the fresher corpses to decay for longer.
- The general belief is that only ghosts of the departed will join the procession, as there is only one soul to gather. Actual walking corpses, or animated skeletons are symbolic of the body states, but no one expects a real corpse to join the parade; at least that’s what they admit in public.
- Outside of the religious context Waejirans consider this festival as welcome break from the routine of working for a living.
- Waejirans have been celebrating the double full moon since times prior to the founding of the empire. It's most recent form merged and evolved from earlier separate religious celebrations dedicated to both Balfagor and Neithur. The first recorded wearing of masks was in 259 WR.