Meikat's Flight Tradition / Ritual in The Calinan Sea | World Anvil

Meikat's Flight

"Meikat, lady of the night sky, we welcome you to Annyrion. We hope this humble show of our faith pleases you, and if it does not, we hope you can guide us to do so as you have guided us through our lives."
-a priest of Meikat in Port Avadia during the opening night of Meikat's Flight
    Meikat's Flight is the Avadian name given to a celestial event that occurs on Annyrion every nine years; namely the passing of a bright comet with a blazing purple glow past the planet, easily visible with the naked eye from the ground. Avadian astronomers and priests have studied the passing with enough detail that they can now predict the passage of the comet.   The comet is observed by a number of cultures across Annyrion, but the Avadians hold it in special regard. The common belief in the Avadian religion is that the comet is in fact the spiritual manifestation of the star goddess Meikat, visiting the world and observing humanity. The Avadians treat this event as a chance to show appreciation and reverence to the goddess, as well as petitioning her for good fortune in the years to come. This manifests in the form of a festival over the space of three weeks named 'Meikat's Flight'.   Meikat's Flight is particularly notable in that it is a univerally-observed tradition among the Avadians, who usually take a laissez-faire approach to religious ceremonies. All Avadians across the Calinan, from the Beyan Archipelago all the way to the Avadian Colonies, trade outposts on both sides of the Calinan, and every Avadian ship at sea all take the time to pay homage to Meikat.


The observation of Meikat's Flight traces back as far as the Neolithic, and was a tradition of the earliest Avadian tribespeople. Like much of the Avadian culture, the faith and traditions of the Avadian gods spread throughout the Beyan Archipelago as it was explored and consolidated, and by the time the Avadian Sovereignty had been formed, the festival had become one of the major celebrations of the Avadian culture. With each settlement and colony the Avadians set up, Meikat's Flight became an essential festival, to the point where in the present day, the festival is ubiquitous in southwestern Arikanda and on many settlements on both shores of the Calinan Sea.


Meikat's Festival begins with the appearance of the comet in the night sky, although preparation for the festival is usually carried out days or weeks in advance.   Due to the dispersed nature of Avadian society, there is no one unified method of celebrating the festival. There are usually publicly-administered festivals held in most of the major settlements, towns and villages. Publicly, a settlement can expect a large, co-ordinated festival with prescribed traditions, usually led by several priests of Meikat, while in remote locations or at sea, a smaller, more intimate festival may be held between families, crews or small village populations. Avadian Captains, who rely on Meikat for their very livelihoods, usually contract priests prior to the event to help observe the festival on their vessels.   In either case, the first step of the festival involves welcoming Meikat to the world. In public festivities, this usually involves the people congregating in various large public places with song and dance. In larger port cities such as Port Avadia, the Admiralty may dispatch biremes into their harbours to form a sort of honour guard. Priests will then carry out burned sacrifices of flowers and powders to Meikat. In the event of a small private celebration, the sacrifice is performed by a senior family member, a Captain or a village leader.  

  Throughout the festival, Avadians are encouraged to show their appreciation and love for the goddess however they are able. Artisans often create works of art dedicated to her over the period, while songs, plays and dances are often composed and performed during this period for the goddess' entertainment. A popular practice to gain the goddess' favour is both the payment of outstanding debts by debtors and the forgiveness of debts by creditors; these acts of integrity and compassion respectively are believed to please the star goddess.   Several Assembly sessions are held in the Archipelago cities, with priests of Meikat invited to interpret the goddess' wishes as legislation is being proposed or debated, or propose legislation themselves. As the priests are said to represent Meikat herself in the Assembly, it is expected that this is done honestly, and harsh divine retribution is expected against priests who abuse this special position of influence.   As it is believed that Meikat herself is physically present above the world directly at this time, a great emphasis is placed on proper conduct during this period, in great contrast to the relative religious liberalism Avadians usually practice. It is expected that people behave charitably and fairly during this time, and the usual more cutthroat practices of trade are curtailed, considered to be in extremely poor taste during this period.   It is also common for gestures of love, such as confessions of love and proposals to be wed, to be made during Meikat's Flight. The beauty of the night sky and the sea during this period is said to inspire beauty for the rest of the union, and the goddess herself is said to be pleased by both the union and the thought put into such gestures.   As the comet begins to fade, a final day is dedicated to wish the goddess farewell. It is common for this to be a time for people to make amends with those they have wronged, or otherwise settle outstanding affairs before Meikat's eyes. The people wish the goddess well on her journey across the skies, and make promises to her that they are expected to fulfil before the next passing of the comet.


The passage of the comet has been observed by Avadians over centuries, and priests can now predict the precise time that the comet is likely to pass. The festival takes place over the entire period the comet is visible, which is usually three weeks.
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Cover image: by World Anvil


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