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Imbolc, February 2nd,is a festival of the Kithain celebrating the Balefire.

Overview Edit

The Balefire is the most important part of a freehold as it keeps the cold winds of Banality away and preserves the Glamour that maintains the freehold. The festival celebrates the replenishment of the hearth after the long cold of winter. Also known as Bard's Day, this holiday also incorporates competitions among bards and other performers. It was originally sacred to the goddess Brigid, patroness of fire, smithcraft, and poetry and still honors the creative spirit.

On Midwinter's Night, special travelers called firebrands set out from Tara-Nar carrying lanterns that contain fire from the Well of Flame beneath High King David's palace. These lanterns are used to replenish the balefire of every freehold during the Imbolc ceremony. It is considered bad luck if the firebrand fails to arrive at a freehold before the holiday.

Shadow Court Variations Edit

Imbolc
Filled with the strength to resist the onslaught of Banality, the balefire burns away the old, replacing it with a new, vibrant blaze. The symbolism is not lost on the Unseelie, who see Imbolc as a time to get rid of negative influences in themselves, to burn out that which denies them the freedom to fully express all aspects of themselves and their beliefs, thrusting through whatever impedes their spiritual growth just as the flowers break through the snow.

As most of the currently reigning kings are Seelie, they remain caught up in ancient customs without fully realizing what those practices mean. After all, it was the Unseelie rulers who oversaw this festival in the past. And so the modern balefire burns less brightly and holds off the ravages of Banality less fully, reliving the past instead of replacing it with something strong and new. To that extent, if for no other reason, the Shadow Court views its takeover as not only necessary but vital to the survival of the fae. Only when the generative, chaotic fires of the Unseelie once again form the basis of each freehold’s heart can the Kithain survive the law-abiding chill of Banality.

Although both courts hold bardic competitions, the Unseelie give higher honor to tales of destruction and woe, as they recognize that creation can only arise from destruction, than do the Seelie. As old patterns are broken down, they provide the raw materials from which new patterns are built. Imbolc is the fulfillment of the promise made in the dead of winter that spring would come again and Glamour be replenished as the Earth reawakens. Imbolc’s association with both fertility and Brigid requires that females take the lead in the festivities and rites. It is often the women of the Unseelie freehold who relight the balefires kindled from the firebrands.

References Edit

  1. CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 81-82.
  2. CTD. The Shadow Court, pp. 43-44.

Changeling: The Dreaming Festivals

Kithain:

Yule · Boxing Day · Midwinter's Night · Imbolc · Homstrom · Carnival · Vernal Equinox · The Greening · May Day · Beltaine · Midsummer · Highsummer Night · Lughnasa · Autumnal Equinox · Pennons · Samhain · Guy Fawkes Day · Nizhniy Novgorod · Holidays of Oah'u

Kith:

House Warming · Labor Day · Spring Cleaning · Harvest Festival · Night of the Embers · Festival of Alysoun · Pranksgiving · Tragoidia

House:

Vengeance Night · Walpurgis Night · First Night

Inanimae:

Spring Equinox · Summer Solstice · Autumnal Equinox · Winter Solstice · New Year's Eve · Remembrance Day · The Moot

Hsien:

Nanusuka · New Year's Day · Obun · Moon Festivals · First Moon · Second Moon · Third Moon · Fourth Moon · Fifth Moon · Sixth Moon · Seventh Moon · Eighth Moon · Ninth Moon · Tenth Moon · Eleventh Moon · Twelfth Moon

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