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Festival of Birds

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For the chapter in A Crown of Swords called "The Festival of Birds", see A Crown of Swords/Chapter 29.
WoT German20b

A cover for a Wheel of Time book in German, possibly depicting a bird-masked Ebou Dari in a costume for the Festival of the Birds

Festival of Birds is celebrated on the eighteenth day of Taisham,[verify] observed primarily in Ebou Dar.

The holiday entails men, women, and children wearing feathers. Commonly, feathered masks are worn, shaped into a bird such as an owl, eagle, hawk, wren, or a fanciful feathered creature that represents "no bird ever seen by human eyes."[1] Men and women also wear feathered costumes or feathers sewn into their clothes or coats. Usually wealth takes a factor in how elaborate one's mask is and how revealing their costumes are. Poorer folk usually adorn their hair with a few feathers, perhaps from pigeons gathered on the pavement for the poorest, while the more wealthy wear elaborate masks and feathery - and often scandalously revealing - costumes.

Celebrations usually take place indoors for the most part, since the festival occurs while the weather is usually "cold enough to keep people from running around outdoors all but unclothed."[1] Extravagantly costumed people pose, showing off great plumes, crests, and long colorful wings inside guild halls and private palaces and homes. However, when weather permits it, the festivities joyously pour into the streets. Parades of wagons pull platforms, called settings, upon which those most ornate, feathered costumes are displayed. Tumblers, jugglers, and musicians wearing feather sewn clothes or in their hair play at every street corner throughout the day time.

Another tradition on this day is giving money, done with jubilant tossing of coins amidst shouting and laughter or simply folding bills. The money may be directed at the appreciated costumed display or toward those in need: raggedly dressed children and beggars.

As provocative as the scarcely-covering costumes are during the day, it is said that when the sunlight fades, so do the inhibitions.

Parallels Edit

A probable parallel to this in the real world is the Carnival of Venice in which it is custom for many of the inhabitants of the city don masks and dress in costume. Although not related to birds in any way, Ebou Dar is also a major port riddled with canals and its people are close to those of the Mediterranean in real life.

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Crown of Swords, Chapter 29

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