Kairnátt Tradition / Ritual in Pekkola | World Anvil


A Festival of Rock and Flame

This is what ensures our well-being. Our southern neighbours might not understand it, but how could they? Their lands are paradise compared to the rocks and ice we dwell on.
— Rev, Keeper of the Waterfowl
  Kairnátt is an annual event held on the outskirts of Guthen in the Valníki Realm by the local Vakner inhabitants. While similar in many ways to a regular summer solstice festival, the kairnátt involves quite a lot more bloodshed and sacrifice. The unforgiving homeland of the Valníkers has entrenched their firm beliefs in what others might consider silly superstitions. They are convinced that their survival depends on annual sacrifices which serve to prove their dedication to their gods.    


  People from all across Valníki gather in Guthen right before the summer solstice to prepare for the event. Families often bring rocks from their home regions so that they can use a piece of home to make the circle of cairns that will surround the great bonfire. In addition to the stones, people also bring food and plenty of drinks. The atmosphere of the festival is always cheerful as families get to know one another. Often, they even end up arranging betrothals and marriages before their minds are too addled with alcohol to decide on such crucial matters.    

Circle of Cairns

After a couple of hours past noon, all the participants will begin preparing the circle of cairns and the bonfire itself. The women, children and the unmarried are responsible for getting all the wood together and preparing the bonfire while the married men work on the cairns that need to surround the fire.   At around this stage, the first of the sacrifices will be made and their blood shall be used to paint the stacked stones. Typically, these early sacrifices involve poultry (with the exception of waterfowl) or goats, but during the harshest and most desperate of times, the locals have been known to use human blood instead.   The cairns are believed to amplify the power of the fire, allowing them to reach out and plead for mercy and support from their gods.

Sacrificial Fire

Once the bonfire and the cairns are ready and the sun is about to set, the participants will gather around, outside of the circle itself, and they bring forth the primary sacrifice.   The sacrifice is almost always a willing volunteer, often one who is either extremely faithful and wishes to serve their gods in the afterlife or simply someone who's had enough of living in such a cold, miserable and bleak land with no hope for a good and prosperous life.   A priest, often the Keeper of the Waterfowl, will provide the sacrifice with a quick and merciful death and lay their body atop the pyre. As the fire envelops the pyre, the people will chant their messages to the divines and with that, the drinking and feasting can continue until the sun rises again.
A Cairn of Kairnátt by Midjourney
Summer solstice
Important Locations
Related Organizations
Related Ethnicities
Valníki Realm
Organization | Jul 1, 2023


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Jul 3, 2023 11:21 by Catoblepon

I'm glad the human sacrifice is willingly, but poor animals! At least the waterfowls are safe.

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Jul 3, 2023 21:20 by AP.

This feels accurately grim for a tradition in a harsh, cold land! Do the cairns have to be built to a certain acceptable height?

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Jul 3, 2023 23:41 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Just a touch human sacrificey. Suitably grim tradition for what sounds like a grim land.   What happens in years where there are no willing sacrifices?

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