Leyaflanzula Festival Tradition / Ritual in Vilyiterna | World Anvil
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Leyaflanzula Festival

Just as the days stretch their longest and the heat borders on unbearable, the red moon Leyfira reaches its zenith. Green and red ribbons birthed of light burst from Leyfira, spiralling to meet their great lands. Anzul's Light Bridge reaches past even the pink and green rings of summer, connecting the spiritual cosmos to the physical world for just six days. Leyafazior descends.   Every midsummer in the hottest part of the year, the people of Leyakizt holiday for seven days as the Leyaflanzula Festival is held. The festival is a highly anticipated event for everyone in the continent as they look forward to a period long rest, delicious food, fun and partying. While the holiday runs seven days the festival lasts only the first six, throughout Leyfiras' zenith. The seventh day is one left solely for rest and recovery.   People spend the hottest midday hours in siesta before jumping straight into the afternoon festivities lasting well into the cool nights. But the Leyaflanzula festival isn't just about fun and games. It's also a time of community and spirituality as people come together under their Ankuk and Ankul to learn their histories and stories in storysong, participate in their culture, teach and learn their arts and show their gratitude to Leyafazior for teaching them their arts. This is especially true for the children.   During the siesta while most adults are talking a well earned nap, children from 6 to 16 years of age are gathering at the community Shadery, large, cool structures made for community events and sheltering people from the heat. At the shadery there are interactive learning programs set up and run by governing Clans and volunteers lasting about a Che . The children are taught their stories and participate in different artistic activities everyday. Some groups might even set-up a week-long project for the children to work on until the end of the week. The parents are endlessly grateful for their brief respite in the hardest hours of the day. They are so very grateful that any competent Clan knows to prepare for a population boom in 3 seasons time. Even the staunchest of Ankuk's will joke that perhaps Leyafazior is also patron deity to love and fertility.  

Hitting It Off

The festival starts and ends with religious observation led by the Zyruk . First the Ankul directs the community into the gathering and settles them for the observance. The Ankuk opens the ceremony by greeting the local spirits. The Ankul then start the storysong through percussive ceremonial music. Different stories are told each year according to what the Clans and Ankuk consider important but every year tells the tale of the gifting of the arts by Leyafazior. As the evening starts the Ankul and Ankuk greet Leyafazior and Anzul through song and dance. To settle and ground everyone before all the carousing and hype, light treats are handed out to the gathering, typically corvray root tea and fruit jellies, drawing the opening ceremony to a close.  

Fun & Games

With all the official obligations out of the way, it's time for fun! Throughout the six days of the festival there's all sorts to be had, each day bringing something new enjoy. The towns are bright and lively with stalls, markets, games, performances and competitions. Scents of all sorts of delicious foods waft through the streets. Bags are heavy with trinkets and artworks. The people are a true sight to behold dressed in all sorts of wear, from traditional garb to flashy festive wear.   On the first night of activities the stalls and night markets start opening. The stalls will be throughout the week, some exchanging limited edition goods by the day, but the night markets will only be there for the first few. The markets showcase all manner of goods, from crafts and artworks to specialty foods and live animals. Some will even hold raffles to be announced at the end of the third day or the start of the fourth. While some are doing their shopping, others are wandering through public art exhibitions and auctions looking through extensive selections of crafted goods. Waterpainting, textiles, carved chitin, ceramics, resin art, gelatin art and sand sculptures all take centre stage in the craftsmanship sectors.   From the second day through to the 5th, performing arts take centre stage. Throughout the week there will be a rotary of performances during concerts, in competitions and on the streets. There's no shortage of variety to enjoy. Some people enjoy the more bombastic performances with loud percussive displays, group dances and fire shows. Others choose subtler arts, buskers, street painters, waterphones, and face painting. More traditional arts also have their time to shine, with storysongs, plays and crossdressing performers, the last of which is always especially anticipated.   The focus of the festival, Leyafazior, is a genderless being with no set sex or gender. People of mixed or contradictory spirits and bodies are those considered closest to their beloved deity. In deference to and attempt to grow closer to them crossdressing and androgynous fashion are common throughout the festival week. There are even special modelling activities and competitions specifically in celebration of these fashions and genders, the most famous of which has people dress half each way down the middle. Many find this the funnest part of the festival.   Lining the streets there are all manner of stalls piled high in festive foods, drinks, games and trinkets. Painted masks, hanging decorations and handwoven ribbons are hung up on racks. Shelves are lined up with jewellery, marbles, mini resin sculptures, carved shells and touristy miscellany. Open stalls and fields are filled with people playing all sorts of games. The largest crowds are found slinging pebbles at targets, pulling lottery strings and kicking ball-darts.  
  On the sixth day things are winding down as the festival comes to an end. The competitions, exhibits, auctions and markets are closed until next year. The food stalls are open but half the trinket stores are closed. There are still some street arts but most performances are down to a third. Instead the third day is taken over by finale concerts and town wide games. The games differ from town to town but the favourite one by far is the water fights spread throughout every public corner that hasn't been expressly zoned off. It is not a day to dress to the nines.  

Festive Foods

There's lots of delicious food to be had, both at home and at the stalls. At home people are indulging in creamy seafood soups, peppery stone grilled meats, roasted eel and fruit jelly. In the stalls people are feasting on foods trickier to prepare over the home hearth. Roasted beachrice is snacked on while wandering the exhibits, artistically presented foods and jelly designs can be found at set-up restaurants, and where would the festival be without their iced teas and creamy jelly drinks.   But the star of the festival is none other than the eel. During the earlier summer people make use of the animals coming closer for shade to harvest them in preparation for the arrival of the eel spirit Anzul. It's thought that eating eels during the Leyaflanzula sends off their souls to keep Anzul company. Eel dishes can be found in all sorts of preparations around Leyakizt according to regional preferences. Some people even choose to spend their holiday travelling around on a food tour to enjoy the differences. But over the continent there are definitely three dishes that shine.  
  • Shelled Eel - eel chunks grilled over a fire in a painted shell, covered with a light, peppery soup with crab stock and sea grapes
  • Coast Roast - eel breaded in roasted beachrice husk and mixed herby seasoning, baked in a woodfire oven, served with a creamy citrus based sauce and wrapped in local greens (usually seaweed)
  • Fira Buns - steamed or fire-grilled sweet potato buns, basted with garlic & chilli oil, stuffed with ground eel and vegetables in a thick, spicy gravy sauce
 

Regional Differences

Whilst under the control of the Zyruk, the Leyaflanzula festival is celebrated in all corners of the continent Leyakizt and under the leadership of all 7 main Clans. Which such a large, diverse ground to cover it's only natural that there'd be more differences than just the cuisine. Depending on the geographic location, local demographics and leadership there all manner of differences from the games played to the arts focussed on.   In areas with stricter leadership, large scale games and loud concerts will be kept to a minimum while traditional arts such as storysong and percussive dances take centre stage. Larger cities will are likely to have endless varieties of events, performances and goods while smaller towns tend to focus on local specialties, mixed exhibits, barbecues and community activities. Areas close to the Billiway entrances will focus on carved chitin, resin arts and fusion foods. Wet mountainous regions will have a wide variety of ceramic arts. Shorelines star water games, sand art, painted shells and marbles. The Rainbow Desert oases display extraordinary dyed textiles, watercolour artworks and fire shows.   The many differences are enough to gift any adventurous soul a bounce to their step.  

Drawing It To A Close

Alas, the fun must reach its end eventually. Leyafazior and Anzul must be on the their way home before Leyfira leaves the skies and travel becomes too difficult. To make up for the ever closer end to their fun and start to their work, the more formal arts events are cast aside for a day full of playing. Once the night reaches its close the Zyruk take over the crowds with a light closing ceremony. People are drawn over by the thrumming of their drums and watch a series of ceremonial dances. Warm root teas and breads or biscuits are handed out while the Ankuk gives a speech, short and sweet for the distracted and worn, before calling on everyone to shout their goodbyes and gratitude. The Ankuk then gives way for the true end of the festival, a beautiful and artistic light show of fireworks to see Leyafazior and Anzul off and light their way home.
by made using canva
A poster for a youth cultural arts event. - Translated from Kiztfliln Common Script to Earthian English

Leyafazior

  The patron deity of Duality, the arts & the opposing forces of fire and water.     Leyafazior is a sexless spiritual being that encompasses all.   When they appear in male form, within they are female. When they appear in female form, within they are male.   They are always accompanied by their spirit guardian, the ribbon eel Anzul.   Anzul uses themself to build a bridge of light from their home on Leyfira to the physical realm for 6 days every year to enjoy the spectacles of man.  

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Cover image: by made using Canva

Comments

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Jul 7, 2023 21:02 by Annie Stein

i love all the art! i'm especially glad to see you drew the food :D

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jul 8, 2023 08:39 by Verita Raizel

thank you XD