Day of Light
The Day of Light is a festival commonly celebrated in the Inner Shell across several different city-states, where countless Ahi Bugs are let loose across the caverns. The agitated bugs will light up and swarm, creating brilliant displays of dazzling lights rarely seen in the depths. The Day of Light is celebrated at the end of a good harvest season. If times have been good and plenty of Ahi Bugs have bred, the Day of Light is a sign of the fortunes enjoyed. When times are lean and harvests fail, there is no Day of Light and people instead eat the insects gathered.
Preperations for the Day of Light begin in earnest at least a week out from the day itself. Vast quantities of Ahi Bugs are gathered from any nearby ranches and stored in large cages throughout the city or settlement, while street vendors begin setting up stalls to sell any number of food items or trinkets. There is much excitement as the Day of Light draws close and it serves in part as a confirmation that there will be no famine this season.
Competition between ranchers and politicians about who will have the lucrative honor of providing the Ahi Bugs can be ruthless. Bribes, threats and even murder are not uncommon as the celebration is announced. Criminals and aristocrats collude to secure the riches to be gained for themselves, while con-men and gamblers set up shop on the streets.
Day of LightThe day of the celebration itself begins around lunch time. Either a gong or horn is sounded to mark the time and after the third sounding, cages throughout the city are opened and the Ahi bugs are allowed to swarm. The bugs are roused with fire and made to fly above the city as much as can be managed. Many settle on the city buildings, covering the caves and homes in a thousand lights. Dancing and drinking typically follows, while some entertain themselves by agitating the swarms to move around by using either whips or fire. The revelry last until the evening, when the feast begins.
The FeastAs everyone in Araea knows - no celebration is complete without Chnagahn. As the evening begins, the great cauldrons are brought out and the broth begins to cook. At this stage, the Ahi bug turn from decorative lights to targets to hunt and they become the majority of the Chnagahn's stew. Children especially turn to hunting the bugs both for food and sport, while the parents cook and tend the stew.
There is no single Chnagahn for the entire settlement - each neighorbood, guild or other faction host their own, though they sometimes intermingle. Competition between different chefs to make the best Ahi Chnagahn can be fierce, with the celebrants watching closely and eager to taste. To some, the lights are secondary and they instead consider it "the day of a thousand Chnagahn".Entertainers of every stripe travel around to each party to provide their service and make a few coin. Gradually, as the number of Ahi bugs begin to dim and the Chnagahn pots slowly empty, the last stage of the Day begins.
Darkness FallsThe next day is one of rest and recovery, both from the toil of the harvest and the celebration of the previous day. This Day of Darkness is a more somber affair, where light is celebrated by its absence. It is a more personal celebration, usually limited to the immediate family or closest circle of friends. Whatever remains of the Chnagahn is cooked and eaten, but alcohol is not usually consumed.
AftermathAfter the Day of Light, the cleaning begins. Ahi Bugs have a tendency to get everywhere and people find them in their homes and kitchens for weeks after. While some places claim that finding a Ahi Bug in your kitchen means good luck for the next season, most find it a nuisance. Prisoners and the poor are drafted to clean the streets and public areas, and are usually treated to their own poor-man's Chnagahn with all the bug-bits and whatever else they sweep up put in their cauldron. Once the Day of Light has passed, life returns to normal and people pray that the good times remain good enough to celebrate again next year.
Ahi Bugs One of the most commonly domesticated insects in the wild, Ahi bugs provide illumination to almost everyone of the great city-states. These wasp-like bugs are lazy and docile, with a large abdomen capable of bioluminscence. They are raised in vast quantities and used in lanterns or cages to provide light. And in a pinch, they make for a decent snack. Read more about Ahi Bugs