The Fresh Food Feast

A celebration in memory of the first harvest after the Final War.

History

The Famine after the War

After the last bombs of the Final War had fallen, all that remained of the Rul civilization were a few million survivors locked away in bomb shelters in the Ralenlos Mountains. The surface became largely uninhabitable due to nuclear fallout and numerous biological and chemical warfare agents.   Although both the Rilanga and the Ran-E-Zu had taken some livestock and plants along with them, the production of fresh meat, grain or fruit was very limited for a long time. There was no proper farmland anymore, and clean water had to be rationed, so the vast majority of the 11 million survivors had to rely on canned, pickled or freeze-dried food.   Many people had also underestimated the time they would have to spend inside the shelters, so they ran out of supplies over the following years. After the Peace Conference in the year 1 VZR, one of the first steps towards building the new Rilsu society was to organize the fair redistribution of whatever supplies existed. Though the idea was initially met with a lot of resistance, most people quickly came to agree that it was necessary and eventually began to bond over sharing their resources.  

Reclaiming the Surface

For almost 6 years it was extremely dangerous to travel down to the foothills of the Ralenlos Mountains. Most of the contamination was concentrated near the seas, but nevertheless there had been radioactive fallout over the mountain massif which was only washed down slowly.   In the year 7 VZR, the first expedition reached the Zugnur sea to find that the plant life in that area had recovered and formed lush jungles on its shores. However, contamination in the soil and plants was still too high, making them unsafe for food production. Likewise, many animals found in the oases suffered from mutations and various illnesses from the contaminants in their bodies.   It took another 3 years before a sufficiently large area of safe farmland was found. At long last, the Rilsu were able to grow crops and raise cattle on a larger scale again. The first harvest from this land took place in the year 8 VZR and was celebrated with numerous community feasts among the roughly 9 million people who had survived up to that point.

Execution

Sharing among the Community

To commemorate the hardship before the first harvest, people celebrate by organizing lunch buffets to which every participant contributes. Usually, entire neighborhoods gather to feast together.   Before the buffet is declared open, the person who organized the buffet gives a speech, thanking the guests for all the food they have brought and reminding them never to take this luxury for granted. People are encouraged to try as many different things as they like, but also reminded to leave enough for the others.  

Food

To this day, the focus is on fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. Even those Rilsu who normally buy ready-made meals prepare some food on their own for the celebration. This can be something as simple as a salad, meaning that everyone can do their part regardless of their cooking skills. Rilsu who have their own garden traditionally bring fruit or vegetables that they have grown there, and farmers commonly donate a sizeable share of whatever they specialize in.  

Activities through the Day

Kongebla Haghaku is a global holiday, so most people get the day off by default. The early morning is traditionally spent on gathering fresh ingredients, for example by going to a local market, before people turn to cooking and otherwise preparing for the celebration.   At noon people gather to enjoy the buffet and mingle with their neighbors. The afternoon and evening are commonly spent dancing, making music together or playing social games.

Observance

Frequency

The feast takes place every year at the time the last crop harvest is brought in. This places any two feasts 521 days apart.  

Milestones

Round anniversaries, such as every 64th or 512th year, are celebrated more intensely than others. For these occasions people often challenge themselves to prepare an extraordinary dish, grow a new plant species in their garden or save up money to buy particularly high-quality ingredients for their contribution to the buffet. Entertainment for these anniversaries is more prestigious as well, as organizers tend to hire professional musicians, acrobats or other performance artists for these milestones.
Table of Contents
Alternative Name(s)
Kongebla Haghaku
Related Ethnicities


Cover image: by Kathrin Janowski

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