Funeral of Darlings Tradition / Ritual in Aidonia | World Anvil

Funeral of Darlings

27th of Overlight, AE 721  
The Funeral of Darlings is an annual event which occurs on the final week of summer, the 22nd-28th of Sun's Swell, in each of the Pearl Cities of The Most Serene Republic of Allathoné: Asha Allanar, Lyfalorian, Illstaesi, Cenodorran, and Fel-Shora. A play on the phrase kill your darlings, the week-long fête consists of a number of events including premiers of new symphonies, pop-up restaurants creating innovative feats of gastronomy, opening nights of new plays, but the major event that kicks it all off is a marathon of art starting at the first tick past midnight on the 22nd, all the way until noon on the 28th. Despite being referred to as a marathon, most artists do take breaks, although over-indulgence in caffeine, stimulants, and other substances is not uncommon.  
Allathonéan Dancer by illumiinae with Midjourney
No medium is discriminated against during the Funeral of Darlings; paintings, sculpture, music composition, theatre, dance, even architectural drawings are appreciated. Artists often plan out their Darling pieces well in advance so they can make the most of their week, creating intricately detailed works which are presented during the final afternoon of the event. Pieces are displayed in windows, propped up on front porches, or on display tables set up in public spaces so that the artists, as well as general onlookers may promenade and view everyone's works. Viewers must move quickly, as when the clock strikes six, all art pieces– sheets of music, screenplays, choreography notes, canvases– will be gathered up by their creators, brought to a central area of town, and added to a large bonfire.

Purpose & Origin

Even among other elves, sun elven culture in Allathoné is known for the value which they place on consistency and endurability, the Funeral of Darlings was made to acknowledge that such qualities are not always possible, as well as a way to force artists to not fixate on their prior successes, and always continue forward. The Funeral began as a tradition between a group of friends in Lyfalorian in the 510s, and steadily grew out from their friend group to members of local artisan's guilds, eventually expanding into other cities. The founders still regularly participate in Lyfalorian's festivities.   The founders have often been quoted as saying the original Funeral of Darlings was meant to be a lesson in humility and letting go, in disenthralling themselves from pieces they desperately wished to perfect but needed to move on from. They have also described it as their own metaphorical take on The Gift of Time, part of the elven creation mythos in which representatives of the Elves were given a favor of Senetsal, then the deity of art, to deliver to Prem, the deity of death and time, and in return, they were conditionally gifted their long life spans. It served as a reminder that no matter how long they may live, and no matter what they create, all will return to Prem in time.  

Dress Code

While there is no strict dress code for the Funeral of Darlings, it is often used as an opportunity to wear one's finest clothes that are dyed in the traditional sun elven mourning colors: greens, browns, and greys.
Pearl Cities
Generic article | Dec 22, 2022
The Gift of Time
Myth | Jun 14, 2023

An Elven creation story illustrating how they were gifted their unusually long life spans.

Cover image: Pearl City Gallery by illumiinae with Midjourney


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Sage nnie
Annie Stein
3 Jul, 2023 08:14

I like these sort of contradictory traditions, often people are scared to add something that goes against what a culture is supposedly all about, but I think they help to emphasize those beliefs.   I can also imagine that, at least with painting, there is something freeing about creating without needing to worry about all the work that goes into preservation and longevity.

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6 Jul, 2023 04:30

Thank you! I definitely like to think of it as a bit of a humbling, Ozymandias-type of exercise, like no matter how long Elves may live, they aren't immortal, and neither are any of their works.

3 Jul, 2023 10:14

This is an amazing and unique cultural tradition with an interesting flair, the creativity is one thing, but the destruction of the works in a large bonfire that obviously feels as if there is an almost quasi-spiritual nature to it really makes this tradition interesting in how it operates because it turns creativity on its head. The idea of art meant to be destroyed as a sort of offering is a fun and unique take. It is the sort of tradition that makes one wish to learn more of the culture of the peoples involved, a lot more, because you want to try and come to understand the beliefs and mindset behind it.   A well written piece, a very interesting idea. Well done

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
6 Jul, 2023 04:21

Thank you so much! I'm really glad the sort of spiritual nature of it comes through. In my setting, Elves attribute their long life spans to being a conditional gift from the deity of death, given in exchange for living their lives in a way that would please a now long-dead art deity, so they definitely have a different relationship with and understanding of death and endings than other cultures.

3 Jul, 2023 11:27

This looks like such a fun festival! Although perhaps exhausting, so Im glad artist take breaks

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6 Jul, 2023 04:09

Thank you! It's definitely a chaotic week, but most people manage to rest at some point haha

27 Jul, 2023 09:02

I was really enjoying my read, visualising myself walking down that promenade viewing the artworks and then... bonfire?! You got me shocked for a moment there, but you also explained the concept behind it beautifully.   Well done!

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27 Jul, 2023 19:18

Haha thank you, and I'm glad you liked it! I was a little hesitant at first if I wanted to commit to the bonfire bit, but it just felt right.