For a short time between the 28th and 31st of Duminas, Elysia's second moon, Selene?, is visible as a small red disc pockmarked by black craters. During this time, the dead are said to return through an intermittent hole torn in the veil between life and death when Xanth created the original Shades?.

Never a society to miss an opportunity for a festival or a feast, Elysians (mostly those on the mainland? east of the Duskies?) spend the first three days of the festival honouring the dead by wearing white. Each night they go home to share a feast with extended family where they talk about and celebrate their lost loved ones well into the night. When the spring weather permits, these feasts are set up outside under the full light of the Red Moon.

On the final night, the 31st of Duminas, Elysians abandon the white in favour of bold, vibrant colours meant to celebrate life. Wearing decorated masks to disguise their identities, they make their way to the nearest burial grounds (such as the Death Spires of Alexshire?). At midnight, as Selene gradually fades out of sight, a Death Scribe will perform the death rites on all the urns simultaneously in order to put the dead back to rest.

As part of the ritual, music and dance accompanies a final feast intended for all the participants to enjoy together. They then return home in the very early hours to seat a lighted candle in each window of the house before finally taking off their mask. The festival is not over until each candle has burned out naturally, and the day after the festival (the 1st of Thallominas) is considered a holiday (at least in part because most people stay up too late the night before to be fit for work).

A Note on Masks

Masks are an integral part of the festival and one may only participate in the death rites if they are wearing one.

Originally, the masks were considered protection against repercussions of the death rites, as it was thought that bitter Shades might seek revenge the next year against those who helped return them to rest. However, over time some of the original urgency has been lost and the masks are now for fun as much as for practical purposes. In fact, many participants spend days, if not weeks, before the festival making their masks, while other families have heirloom masks passed down through the generations.

Created by Emma? and Liv?