Day of Mourning
The traditional rites of passing for the Drakari people, including the day-long mourning, Passing Speech, Burning Ritual, and the Feast of Passing.
This article is currently a work in progress and may be incomplete or subject to change.
The Day of Mourning is a full day event, encompassing a day long fast, followed by the Passing Speech, Burning Ritual, and Feast of Passing in the evening. Drakari participating in the Day of Mourning always wear black Karili Tiku, informing all those around them that they are in mourning.
The Day of Mourning begins the moment a Drakari wakes up, with the Mourning Fast. Everyone observing the Rites of Mourning will not eat for the entire day, until the Feast of Passing to break their fast after the sun has set and the Burning Ritual is completed. It's commonly believed among Drakari culture that the fast brings one's body closer to the spirit of the deceased, to aid in the spiritual Burning Ritual that takes place at the end of the day.
As the sun begins to set and the skies turn colors of orange and red, the deceased's body is laid out nude on a pyre and his closests friends, family, and lovers gather for the closing rituals. Those gathered take part in a Passing Speech, where each Drakari speaks of lives with their fallen comrade and bades his spirit farewell. Some clans and cultures prepare full speeches, accounting the entire history of the deceased. However, most clans simply find the shorter gathering and speaking to be sufficient.
Once the Passing Speech has completed, and the sun has fully set, the Drakari closest to the deceased steps forward as the Dalo Kota. This spirit guide holds the honor and responsibility of performing the rites of the Burning, which releases the spirit from the body and guides them to the afterlife. Once the pyre is lit, the Dalo Kota begins a form of traditional throat singing, using her vocalizations to free the spirit and guide him, while everyone else remains quiet. The ritual has been known to take upwards of a few hours.
Feast of Passing
With the completion of the rituals, the now empty body and pyre are left to burn and the gatherers withdraw. At this point, traditionally, the period of mourning is considered complete, and a feast is prepared to break the Mourning Fast. The components of the feast vary widely from clan to clan, family to family. The feast is not just a meal, but a communal gathering and continues into the night until every Drakari present has fallen asleep. The next day resumes normal life for everyone that had taken part in the Day of Mourning.
Main article: Drakari-Ta Na'Tika
The Day of Mourning is also observed as a part of the Drakari-Ta Na'Tika, or God-King Festival. On the first day of the three-day festival, most of the Drakari Union's population observes the Rites of Mourning for the previous Drakari-Ta vessel. In some Drakari cultures, however, the Day of Mourning is not observed in respect of Altara Krieus' original wish to not be mourned. Instead, these cultures partake in a 'Day of Preparation', preparing for the remainder of the festival. These Drakari still attend the Passing Speech and Burning Ritual, however.
Unlike normal, the Passing Speech and Burning Ritual for a Drakari-Ta are held publically. Those closest to both the Drakari-Ta spirit and the vessel the spirit once inhabitated take part in the Passing Speech, before beginning the Burning Ritual. Again, unlike normal, the Burning Ritual is directed at two spirits - The Drakari-Ta himself, and the spirit that shared his body with the Drakari-Ta's spirit. The sharing spirit is guided to the afterlife in the first half of the ritual by the Dalo Kota. The Drakari-Ta's spirit is then guided by his chosen successor performing the second half of the ritual, embracing Altara Krieus' spirit into his own body.
The Day of Mourning typically begins the morning after the death of a Drakari. Sometimes, however, this can be delayed if the body is inaccessible the next day, such as if the Drakari was abroad when they passed away. In such cases, some cultures will fast until the body is returned to them, while others will postpone the rites of mourning entirely. In recent years, with the recent integration of the Drakari Union into the Varkesh, some families have enacted the Day of Mourning for close friends from other races.