Fireside is an annual celebration which occurs in mid-to-late November, usually lasting a week. During the Fireside festival, citizens of Subeta gather with friends and family to share the harvest season's bounty and honor the legendary red rreign who once saved their ancestors from a frigid Winter with no food or fire.
Every year, when the days began to grow mild and the leaves began to fall, a small community upon the banks of Veta Lake began their harvest season. This was a time for both hard work and togetherness, as every family gathered in the fields to reap the planting season's rewards.
Unfortunately, it also brought a great red rreign down from the mountains. No one was certain exactly what he wanted from the townspeople, and yet every Autumn he dropped from the sky to snatch up whatever he could carry of picked vegetables and grain, spewing smoke from his nostrils and making a fearsome racket. There was little anyone could do to fend him off; farm tools were all they had, and they simply bounced uselessly away from the beast's thick scales.
Resigned to the fact that he would come yearly, as certain as the seasons themselves, the townsfolk continued with their harvest regardless, some planting extra in anticipation of the annual attacks.
One year, Autumn seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye. Taken by surprise, the community found itself waist-deep in snow well before they could tend their fields. With the harvest frozen and the weather showing no sign of relent, it was all the people could do to huddle close together in their homes with what little firewood they could gather, cold, hungry and miserable.
On the coldest night of the season, a familiar sound echoed from the mountaintops -- the old rreign was coming again! The townspeople came to the windows to watch him wheel about in the air, curious as to what he would do with no food to steal, and fearful that he would finally turn his wrath upon them.
What they saw next drew gasps of wonder and disbelief. The great red beast landed in the deep snow and clawed about for a moment, then promptly took to the sky again, belching great blasts of flame over the frosted landscape with careful precision.
He was thawing the fields!
Cautiously, families crept out of their homes to watch the rreign at work, dipping and diving in and out of the clouds as he went. As the last bit of snow and ice melted away, he landed again, spreading his wings and dipping his head in a gesture of peace.
Overjoyed, the community set to work at the fields once more, the red rreign close at hand to keep everyone warm all the while.
As thanks for his help in their hour of need, the people of Veta Lake held a special festival in honor of Red Rreign, as they so named him, in which they gathered together around a great bonfire created by his breath and shared with him not only season's bounty, but also their merriment, as the leaves of Autumn fell all around.
Customs and Traditions
The bonfire is a central part of Fireside, not only a symbol of the fire of Red Rreign, but also as acknowledgment of the shortened days and colder nights of Autumn. Typically, families will enjoy a large feast at home and later attend one of many public celebrations around a large bonfire, burning relics of Red Rreign to signify the purging of his former bullying behavior. One can often see impressive displays of fireworks in all shades of red, orange and yellow at these public events.
- Children will often make small rreign dolls out of scraps of burlap and stuffed with straw. It is not uncommon to see vendors selling much more high quality rreign items, as well.
Fireside festivals in larger cities will often have a live rreign available to view. If such a rreign is available, it will also light the festival bonfire. People will typically bring extra food from their feast to share with the rreign at these events.
While the main feast is usually eaten at home, vendors will often sell various cakes and pastries, usually elaborately decorated to portray some aspect of the festival. Popular flavors include pomegranate, sweet potato, apple, cinnamon, plum, pear, carrot and cranberry, although any fruit or nut may be used.
Larger festivals may have stage performers acting out the origins of Fireside in full costumes and makeup, ending with the lighting of the bonfire. Live rreigns are seldom used in these portrayals, but fake snow may be brought in to add to the experience.
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