Kiocress Eape (Keye-oh-criss Ee-ap)
You want to see one of the Eltaa just cut loose? At least for one of the stoic Eltaa, anyway. Well, have I got a festival for you...
Kiocress Eape, also called the Rivermoon Festival, is the traditional fall harvest festival celebrated by the Eltaa people in the Great Northern and Dead Swamp regions. It lasts for two days, held during Illuria's fall equinox when Tempis, the "Green Moon", is full and at its brightest.
During this time, the Eltaa celebrate the fall harvest of Erindocot, Pygmy Farant, and Sun Rice. Those celebrations involve dancing, singing, colorful displays of costumes, bright banners, and sharing of Pine Nut cakes in colorfully woven reed baskets called 'Ajupar'. Board games and competitions of all kinds are common.
A Necessary Riot of Color
For the stoic and reserved Eltaa, the festival is also a means of release. Paintings, costumes of figures of legend and myth, elaborately decorated foods, and more, allowing the Eltaa to express themselves in dozens of creative ways. This provides a mental release, a way to relax and just celebrate being alive.
The festival begins with the traditional lighting of the sigils. Here, elders selected by drawn lots light fires that burn in the ancient rune for the deities the Green Watcher and Tyeal. Those fires are located around the celebration area and are kept lit through the entire festival. Once the runes are ablaze, they held opening ceremonies with a song to the Green Moon that thanks the Father of Nature, the Green Watcher, and the huntress, Tyeal.
After the song, celebrants don their costumes of all kinds. Those that lack costumes douse themselves in face paint and powdered dye. Feasts, competitions, songs, and even purifications through meditation at the fire edge go on over the next two days.
To honor both the Green Watcher and Tyeal, they place offerings at the respective runes of each deity. This is a portion of the harvest, pine nut cakes, painted figures and more. The Eltaa believe that at the end of the festival, avatars of the Green Watcher and Tyeal arrive to enjoy the food and give blessings on the Eltaa for a bountiful harvest next year.
Ancient History, Ancient Traditions
This festival is ancient for the Eltaa, with its history dating back to the 2nd Age to celebrate a harvest after a two-year drought. It was initially to celebrate the end of the drought, the hard work at ending it, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Along with that was to give thanks to the Green Watcher and Tyeal for the harvest.
For the Eltaa, the Green Moon represents the Green Watcher's blessing of the harvest. As for Tyeal, they revere her as not so much for hunting but for her other aspect of balance. In this case, the seasonal transition of the equinox, which represents a balance of the seasons.