Festivals are the most important aspect of kami no michi, the religion of the fortunes.
Every place in Rokugan, right down to the smallest fishing village, has its own festivals celebrating the kami and the fortunes. These festivals often celebrate fortunes important only to the particular village or city, as well as others like it. For example, nearly every fishing village and town has a festival in honor of Suitengu, but nowhere in the lands of the Unicorn Clan is the Fortune of the Seas likely to be singled out for remembrance. In Sunda Mizu Mura, an annual festival is held to honor Willow-Healing kami, a particularly helpful tree spirit. Nowhere else in Rokugan honors this particular tree.
Festivals generally follow similar patterns. To begin, the shugenja (Monk/Village Elder/Local Lord) in charge of the festival undergoes ritual purification by bathing in ice-cold water or walking over hot coals. The path that the kami or fortune in question is expected to take also is purified by villagers walking the path with giant torches. After the purification is complete, the shugenja invite the kami to visit, with the villagers bowing respectfully.
Parade & Banquet
At this point, the kami is believed to enter the shintai -- "god body" -- generally a statue made to resemble the fortune in question. The shintai is then placed on a specially constructed portable shrine and paraded through the village. Performances -- usually plays and dances -- are put on for the kami's entertainment, as kami enjoy watching mortals and their entertainments. After this, a great feast is held and shared by all. It is considered a great honor to share a meal with a kami.
It is important to note that these festivals are generally ceremonial in nature. Shugenja rarely actually summon a fortune -- especially a major one. Despite this, the fortunes have been known to appear occasionally.
At the end of the festival, the shugenja makes a petition to the kami. Depending on the nature of the particular fortune, it may be for a good harvest, good fishing, good weather, or protection for the village from bandits or illness.
- A New Year (Twenty Festivals flavor)
- Way of the Phoenix Pages 30-31.
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