Historical Event: Harvest Festival


The great Harvest Festival of Aerilon is said to be the largest of its kind anywhere. Growers, artisans, artists and crafters alike flock to the enormous fields outside Mykenae, Aerilon's charmingly rustic Capital City, for the event. Unlike the modern Artisans' Fair in the Spring, the Harvest Festival is held in the Autumn and hearkens back to days of yore.

While everyone is invited to attend, and all are encouraged to enjoy themselves, there are some important points that should be observed. Firstly, dress is mandated to be as close to early periods as possible. A Master or Mistress of the Wardrobe is appointed every year to facilitate dissemination of garb to those who do not or cannot bring their own. As this is a camping event, a Master or Mistress of Land is appointed to arrange appropriate locations for merchants, participants and visitors alike. For those who cannot camp out, the Master or Mistress of Accommodations will work to see to everyone’s comfort. While this Festival is dedicated to Dionysus and Cybele, culminating in a celebration of the Bacchae ritual cycle on the final weekend, there is room to accommodate other ecclesiastical needs. The Eleusinian Temenos appoints a Priest to organize worship on an 'as needed' basis. Please contact their representative well in advance for anything elaborate.

The dates for the festivities are determined by a combination of natural elements and careful divination. Traditionally, the festival is held during the week of the first full moon after the first hard frost after the harvest has been gathered in. The dates are set by the Priests of Eleusinian Temenos, who give the organizers as much notice as the Gods provide.


The first day of the Festival opens with an invocation Cebele in the morning and to Dionysus at dusk. Typically, this begins with a parade headed by the Priests of Eleusinian Temenos that wends around the fields, stopping at a set number of campsites where celebrants will join the procession. This ends in the center of the Festival grounds were the oreibasia ("mountain dancing") is celebrated. While minstrels play flutes, drums, and cymbals, the celebrants, garbed in traditional clothing, dance until dusk. The priests themselves, arrayed in traditional vestments and carrying artifacts appropriate to the era, lead the dancing. As 2041 marks the thousandth anniversary of the Festival's origin, it is rumored that something spectacular is planned with participants drawn from all the major farms across Aerilon. Judging by the success of last year's event, if true, this promises to be exceptional.

Over the course of the week, the Festival boasts contests centered around the size and quality of produce and farm animals. There are cooking contests that range from meats to desserts with the goal of identifying the best in all categories. Each entrant must be able to produce not only small quantities, but enough to feed everyone in attendance. The sewing contests have several categories from the basic to the embellished. Each morning, areas are cleared for various feats of strength and stamina with the winner crowned Festival Senator. Each evening, large bonfires are set in the center of the fairgrounds and bards from the Twelve Colonies vie for the title of Festival Fool. Both the Senator and the Fool may name a Consort for the duration of the week. Both couples will officiate over the final rituals at the end of the week.

Midway through the week, the sparagmos ("tearing to pieces") is celebrated. During this ritual, the contenders for both the Festival Senator and the Fool mime the catching of snakes and small animals. In light of modern sensibilities, these are made from artfully constructed sausages. The contenders must catch enough to feed everyone in attendance, tearing the 'bodies' of their catches into pieces. Each piece is skewered, roasted over an open fire and handed out to participants. Participation is not mandatory, but is encouraged as a special invocation to Dionysus and Cebele as celebrated by the Priests of Eleusinian Temenos.

At the end of the week, the Festival Senator and Festival Fool are announced. They spend one night cloistered with their respective consorts and the Priests of Eleusinian Temenos. After this, they emerge before Dawn to hold the first and only 'court' of the Festival. At this time, the final contests are announced. These are presided over by the two couples and determine the strongest, fastest, and cleverest of the remaining contestants. Final prizes are awarded in the evening. On the following day, the last day of the Festival, the omophagia ("eating raw flesh") is celebrated. Again, a nod is made to modern sensibilities, hygiene and health. The meat, or flesh, is cooked as is appropriate to its nature with a gravy or red sauce prepared to simulate the blood of the raw flesh in the original ritual. To add realism, some cooks will add gobbets of cut up tomato or uncut giblets to the sauce though others find the practice disconcerting.


Mistress of the Wardrobe: Lady Hilde Florentine Lady Florentine came to the Festival several years ago when her husband, Admiral Florentine, was stationed at Fort Dictys off the coast of the Aegean Sea. Renowned for her dedication to accuracy in all things historical, Lady Florentine earned the moniker "Authenticity Maven" for her tireless efforts over many years. She has not only succeeded in creating costumes for her family, but has provided numerous outfits to loan to others. Without her labors, the Festival would not be the colorful, educational extravaganza that it is today.

Master of Land: Lord Bartholomew Cubbenes Lord Cubbenes is uniquely suited to fill the post of Master of Land for this year’s Harvest Festival. He is chairman of the board of Evia Land Acquisitions, a ranger with Aerilon Parks and Recreation Department. As such, he is well acquainted with the hillocks, dales and waterways within the Festival grounds. Rumor has it that he intends using his position as Master of Land to curry the favor of visiting dignitaries. He has refused to 'dignify the query with a response'.

Master of Accommodations: Theseus Agromonica Master Agromonica spent his early years in the hospitality industry. While there, he developed an adept tongue, a bent toward customer service, and an unerring ability to acquire the 'best price anywhere'. He is already hard at work securing writs of lodging for the entire week of the Festival from all the nearby hostels. It is even rumored that the Grand Hotel at Dodecanese Islands is conceding an entire floor to the festivities. It is whispered that Master Agromonica himself benefits by a percentage of each hotel room sold, but the veracity of the accusation has not been established.

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