Legend of the Five Rings: Rise of the Four Winds
The 7-5-3- Festival in the thirteen day of the Month of the Dragon, celebrated the children of the Empire. All five-year-old boys and seven- or three-year-old girls went to a shrine to be blessed. Because these numbers were considered unlucky, these children might be most vulnerable to evil spirits. The children dressed in their finest clothing for the occasion, and their families wore white veils over their faces. After visiting the shrine, it was considered lucky to buy chitose-ame, ‘thousand-year candy’, so that the ancestors of the last thousand years would be included in the rite.
The Boar scrupulously observed the 7-5-3 festival, since they were all too conscious of the dangers of the mountains, and sickness frequently took away the weakest children.
Appeasement of Inari
The Appeasement of Inari was held at the beginning of spring, in the Month of the Hare. It is generally just before planting of Rice to ask for Inari, the Fortune of Rice, for blessings on the rice to be planted. It much more a rural Festival than an Urban one, though sometimes Daimyo and Governors make offerings so that their lands can grow the food need to make thier lands prosperous.
Ascention of the Mantis
Ascension of the Mantis was a festival which celebrated the Mantis was elevated to Great Clan status, in the ninth day of the Month of the Ox of 1128. The Mantis celibrate this where ever they are. Districs with strong Mantis connections often are filled with Mantis celbrating their clans ascentions. Much drinking is down as the Mantis are know for thier rough behavour on this day while drunk.
The Bon Festival was a festival of remembrance and reverence towards a family’s departed ancestors. It was also known as Paper Lartern Festival.
Nature of the Festival
During the festival, in the last day of the month of the Dog, a family’s ancestors, as well as the malevolent spirits of those who met violent ends or who had no grave, returned to the homes of their descendants. Extended families came together across Rokugan at this time and provided two sets of altars for the spirits: one for the ancestors of their family and one for the spirits of those with no remaining family to provide an altar for them.
Parade of the Dead
Rokugani traveled to the graves where their ancestors were interred, light lanterns to greet their spirits, and then returned to their homes, hanging the lanterns outside to guide the spirits to them. That night, the local shugenja would perform a Bon dance to entertain the gathered spirits, preventing them from becoming angry and harming people. The shugenja would travel from house to house, so they could dance for every local family.
The streets were filled with representations of the Great Kami, the Dragons of Myth, and white-faced ‘ghosts’ and spirits of the past. The Bon Festival was a time when the dead souls of the past were closest to their heirs in the world. The celebration was known as the Parade of the Dead".
During the festival, there were fireworks, parades, music, traditional dances, and long twisting streamers. Cakes made of bleached white rice and covered in brown sugar were made to remind people that death (symbolized by the white) was a part of all life.
Paper Lantern Festival
At the end of the festival, the people sent the spirits back to the worlds beyond. The people guided the spirits by floating lit candles and paper lanterns down nearby rivers in the called Paper Lantern Festival. It marked the end of the Bon Festival.
At Kyuden Doji great basins were filled of water from the sea into which the Lady Doji disappeared.
At Kyuden Bayushi the inner rooms were filled with the water of the holy lake both Bayushi and Shosuro rested in.
Sakura No Sekku
Cherry Blossom Festival, or Sakura no Sekku,  was celebrated on the 23rd of the Month of the Dragon. It was also sometimes called the Flower Festival (Hana Matsuri). It was the celebration of beauty and elegance.
Celebration of Beauty
In Rokugan, everything had its own spirit, as well as its own beauty. Traditional artwork was focused on the quest to capture a thing of perfection – the perfect mountain, the perfect lake, or the perfect cherry tree. The Cherry Blossom Festival was a celebration of this beauty, when the Rokugani gathered together for the Hanami, or flower viewing. It is sometimes seen as romantic often when last night of court affairs that have ended smoothly.
“Blown from the west, Fallen petals gather. To the east, they fall.”
-Rezan, the Ronin Poet
The festival might be the oldest of the flower-oriented festivals of Rokugan, dating back almost to the Dawn of the Empire. On this day (and in many places for several days during this season), courts and feasts were held outside, under a canopy of blooming cherry trees. Cherry-blossom viewing had long had special significance in Rokugan, since Hantei and his bride planted a cherry tree in the gardens of Otosan Uchi to celebrate the birth of their son Hantei Genji.
Choyo no Sekku
Choyo no Sekku, or Chrysanthemum Festival was a Rokugani holiday that took place on the sixth day of the first month of Summer, celebrating the day that the Kami were believed to have fallen to the earth. Though the actual festival lasted only one day, for eight straight days, four before the festival and three after, all labor stopped. Not even the peasants took up their tools, making this one of the most popular celebrations of the year.
People chose a tree and sat under it, meditating, eating nothing and drinking only water. Great favor was bestowed to the one who sat under the first falling chrysanthemums. The Chrysanthemum was the symbol of the Hantei Dynasty, representing their ties to the Sun Goddess and Hantei’s position as pre-eminent among all the Kami. Since the fall of the Hantei Dynasty it had lost some of its importance.
In the midpoint of the festival the Emperor himself visited the Chrysanthemum Petal Lake, to renew his connection to the Celestial Heavens with a silent prayer. The prayer ended with the Emperor removing a snow-white petal from the lake’s surface. Legend held that such a petal could heal the sick or mend terrible wounds if consumed by one of Imperial blood.
After the fall of the Hantei Dynasty, the Chrysanthemum Festival’s status became more uncertain. The Toturi Dynasty continued the festival, expanding it to a general celebration of the reign of both the Hantei and the Toturi Emperors.
Day of a Thousand Silences
The Day of a Thousand Silences was celebrated on the first day of the Month of the Rat, honoring those who had died performing the Scorpion Clan’s secret duties. From midnight until midnight, they no uttered a sound and held no commerce. Their silence linked them to those who could not speak of their deeds. This is true of Scorpion even in non-Scorpion areas. Other than Imperial Court trying to force a Scoprion to talk during this Day is to invite the wrath of the entire clan. the ruin of several important people over the centuries has made it clear that only fools would do so.
Day of Brother Horse
The Day of Brother Horse took place on the last day of the Month of the Horse and was intended to honor horses, the Unicorn’s most prized assets. They celebrated races that day, made sacrifices to the Fortunes of Horsemanship, and honored the spirits of fallen Battle Maidens. It can make for a intersting day for those not of the Unicorn.
Day of Remembrance
The Day of Remembrance was held by the Crab to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives to keep Rokugan secure, held on the anniversary of the Battle of the Cresting Wave and the death of Kuni Osaku. It is a Somber day for the Crab, to make light of it will get the offender killed. Conversely making offerings by other clans can gain a measure of respect from the Crab.
Days of Generosity
The Days of Generosity was a festival celebrated at Ryoko Owari Toshi after the Tax Collection in the Month of the Monkey. The local nobles were cheerful for the tax earnings and spent part of it on gifts for their fellow nobles.
In the first Day the head priest of the Temple of Daikoku oversaw the selection of the ‘King of Generosity’. The priest collected slips of paper with a name wrote on it, and he randomly chose one, who became the Ruler of Generosity for the next day. He was sat upon a throne in the Scorpion Garden.
The next day the nobles past the age of gempukku gave gifts to one or more fellow nobles, and a secondary gift to the Ruler of Generosity. The Ruler judged the best giver for the noble who gave the most gifts to individuals who only got one gift. The best giver could retrieve one of the secondaty gifts of the Ruler, and the rest of gifts were disposed as the ruler saw fit.
These days many people was drunk, thefts happened, and opportunities to feel insulted, with the ensuing challenges were usual.
Ebisu’s Day of Rest
The Ebisu’s Day of Rest was a festival held in the Month of the Serpent which celebrated that even the honest and dutiful Rokugani workers had to have a day of rest. It exstreamly bad luck to make anyone work this day. More than once Ebisu has cursed those that violated this day.
Festival of Leaves
The Festival of Leaves was a five-day festival celebrated at Kyuden Agasha during the Month of the Tiger, a celebration to honor the local kami. It involved mochi imprinted with leaves in a cup of tea.
Festival of Lights
Festival of Lights was an Asako festival when the shugenja, henshin, inkyo, and other scholars carried lanterns from the edge of the woodlands to the various cemeteries and resting places of the Asako family, to guide wayward spirits back to their rest. It was celebrated near the end of the winter
The Oshogatsu, or Festival of New Year’s Day, on the first day of the Month of the Hare celebrated the beginning of the year and the fall of the Kami and founding of the Great Clans. People in Rokugan did not celebrate their individual birthdays, and instead celebrated turning one year older at the Festival. It celebrated their position in society, their connection to their ancestors and position as samurai.
New Year’s Fireworks
It was the most elaborate of Rokugan’s annual festivals, and it was generally regarded as the most important as well. During New Year’s Eve while listening to temple bells ring it was popular to eat toshikoshi, a type of soba noodles. Large talismans such as small bows, arrows, and wooden plaques were purchased during the celebration and were known to bring great fortune. Archery competitions were held by peasants and samurai to predict the autumn harvest. Temples and shrines were decorated, exchanges of gifts and formalized well-wishes were performed among samurai families, and flowers were strewn across the streets and placed decoratively on every house. The festival concluded in the evening with parades, music, and fireworks. Shiro Shiba hold a legendary festival.
The Emperor performed the shihohai ritual in which he offered prayers for the well-being of the nation. During the Four Winds era the festival was held without this ritual, as no Emperor sat in the Throne.
Festival of the Bloody Stone
The Festival of the Bloody Stone, most commonly known as Gisei Ningen, the “Mortal Sacrifice”, was celebrated in the Meiyoko district of Otosan Uchi the fourteenth day of the Month of the Serpent. No war was allowed this day.
A ronin named Kinryoku protected the governor of the district which would be known as Meiyoko from an assassination attempt, dying on the assassin’s blade. The stain of his blood was clearly visible on a stone, which rested next to a tall marble statue erected by the governor he saved. People visited the statue and left rice and flowers upon the stone.
Festival of the Moon’s Wrath
The Festival of the Moon’s Wrath was a winter festival. While the ground was laden with snow Rokugan celebrated the Moon in one day and two nights of complete silence. At sunset on the 7th day of the Month of the Rat, the people of Rokugan ceased talking, and did not say another word until sunrise on the 9th day. This was done to appease the Moon and attempted to avoid his wrath for the coming year. Anyone who spoke during this time was believed to draw the attention of Onnotangu.
The Festival of the Moon’s Wrath began in the earliest days of the Empire, and had survived to modern times. After Lord Moon was destroyed and replaced by the ascended mortal, mercurial and temperamental Hitomi, the nature of this festival changed little.
Festival of the Wandering Hero
The Festival of the Wandering Hero was celebrated on the 5th day of the Month of the Rooster at Mura sano Eiyu ni Suru. The most promising young samurai warrior from the local noble families was dressed up like the statue of the hero Ikoma Teidei. Another samurai volunteered to dress in black armor and carried a broken sword to play the part of the assassin of Teidei’s Lord, whom “Teidei” chased throughout the town. Others gathered around, dressed in kenku costumes, making wild cawing noises to emulate the influence of Tedei’s sensei. The spectacle ended when the assassin run ahead of Teidei and stopped with his back to the great statue in front of the Shrine of Duty, who slumped to the ground, “killed” by the vengeful glare of Ikoma Teidei.
Festival of Yoritomo
The Festival of Yoritomo was celebrated by the Mantis Clan in the 4th day of the Month of the Serpent, in honor to Yoritomo, who elevated them as a Great Clan. It was the Mantis equivalent to the various festivals of the Kami that were held throughout the Empire. It was not only a religious event, involvings tournaments and sparring on behalf of Yoritomo samurai, to prove themselves worthy of Yoritomo.
The Inari’s Festival was a peasant festival in Rokugan that celebrated their harvest was held in the Month of the Dragon. It was also known as Inari’s Blessing Festival
The Iris Festival, the Celebration of Iris Flowers, was a festival from very early in Rokugan’s ancient history. The long, narrow leaves of the iris flower were associated with the sharp blades of a sword, and many Rokugani placed iris leaves in boys’ baths to give them a martial spirit. The Iris Festival was a celebration not just of children but of what children represented: purity, promise, and hope for the future.
Celebrated on the the twenty-fifth day of the Month of the Serpent, it was also known as Doll Festival, where girls showed their dolls, and the boys flied their kites. Originally only for girls it was also known as Kite Festival when male children joined in the festivities. The young girls wearing green kimonos arranged their dolls as if they were Imperial Courtiers, representing emperor, empress, attendants, and musicians on a tiered stand in their homes. Children of both genders received expensive gifts from their families, things they would need as adults, such as weapons or court kimonos.
A famous go tournament was held each year at Otosan Uchi during the festival.
Festival of the Mirror
The Festival of the Mirror was held in the Shrine of Heaven’s Mirror, on the 9th day of the Month of the Tiger. It was a remembrance of the day when a peasant woman named Rei found a piece of polished metal, named the Heaven’s Mirror, which granted visions of the Spirit Realms and the creatures therein. The mirror was brought out and any participant might claim the right to look in the mirror. Participants threw off their usual decorum in the hope of glimpsing something beyond their daily existence.
The Kanto Festival was a festival from very early in Rokugan’s ancient history. It was celebrated the second day of the Rooster. Its name and purpose derived from a legend cherished by the Tribe of Isawa. The purpose of the festival was to drive sleepiness away during the hot summer months. The Rokugani raised kanto – large bamboo poles with rows of a dozen or more lit paper lanterns – and paraded through the streets, drawing the sleepiness out of the people. The kanto were also traditionally carved in the form of the ears from rice plants, expressing hope for a bountiful harvest in the fall.
Kaze Matsuri, the Wind Festival, was celebrated during the first three days of the Month of the Monkey, imploring Kaze-no-kami and the other Wind Fortunes to not damage crops and property and allow for a bountiful autumn harvest.
The Liberation Day festival celebrated the releasement of Crab’s hold on Ryoko Owari Toshi after one year of occupation during the Crab Invasion of Scorpion lands. It was held on the first day of every Month of the Ox.
In each district men dressed up in wooden or paper versions of Crab mempos and armor. Starting at the Moment’s Edge Bridge they marched to Mountain Goblin’s Rest Road, then towards the Gate of Oni’s Teeth. They were invited by onlookers to trade their armor for food, drinks, or even the kisses of beautiful women. By the time they reached the Gate of Oni’s Teeth, they were naked except for loincloths. They were given heavy stones and piled them in the Tower of the East Eye. Many in the parade were badly drunk at this time. A traditional food for this festival was crab meat stewed in sake, eaten from its own shell.
Some investigators theorized there was a great conspiracy of sake merchants, geishas or people pretending to be geisha, who simply corrupted the Crab soldiers until they were too weak to hold the city.
Painter’s Day spread over three days, beginning at sundown on the eighth day of the Month of the Dragon and lasted until sundown of the tenth day. During this time, all peasants were exempt from their duties on the fields and were expected to paint their homes. Food, dancing, music, and song all framed the celebration.
Porridge Stick Day
The Porridge Stick Day celebrated the day that a citizen of Ryoko Owari Toshi named Okami finally got the better of his wife Riko.
Riko sent her husband to find a left-handed widdershins porridge stick to replace a supposed broken one. Riko was a clever woman and had realized Okami was not, so she sent him in a nonsense errand. A porridge stick was simply a rod the length of a forearm and as thick as a finger, which could be used in either hand. Okami eventually got one, crafted by a smart sailor who had heard of his quest and had put an abusive price for it. When Okami returned he found a Riko’s former suitor and threw him away from his home. His wife was impressed by how honorable her husband had been, and confessed her deceitfulness. The punishment for her actions Riko should be publicly beat with a staff. Okami did it, but with the purchased porridge stick, and doing it once in a slender way. With that, they went home and nine months later, they had their first son.
Since that time, women of Ryoko Owari celebrated the event by carrying porridge sticks with them on this day and using them to swat each other on the backside. It was only considered proper to hit those of your own or lesser station, and only then with affection.
Festival to Kakita
The Festival to Kakita was held the first day of the Month of the Crane in the Chisei district of Otosan Uchi to celebrate Kakita’s life, lasting one complete month. It was an immense affair, concentrated in waves from the Road of the Most High to see the Fireworks and many non-lethal duels were performed to show perfection. The sparring organization Kenka Kurab proved the worthy of their individuals in duels to death, as part of an initiation process on the criminal oyabun ranks
The Setsuban Festival was a Rokugani festival which celebrated the time of renewal, 1 the turning of the year from the time of war in spring and summer, to the peacefully winter. It was held in a day considered lucky, the eighth day of the Month of the Monkey. 2 Along with the Kanto Festival and the Iris Festival, the Setsuban Festival originated during the Dawn of the Empire.
Expeditions to view the autumn foliage were a popular entertainment, which eventually was formalized in a festival. Since the warmer months were most favorable to war, the arrival of autumn came to symbolize the arrival of peace. No man might shed blood upon that day, all executions were put off, while occasional prisoner was given freedom. The celebration incorporated flower offerings to ward off illness and natural disasters. The Rokugani made excursions to view the brightly tinged leaves which symbolized autumn.
Tournament – Bloom of the White Orchid
Once every fall, the shugenja of Rokugan held a great festival at the Shrine of the Ki-Rin. They feasted, politicked and competed in a tournament designed to challenge their wits and abilities. The winner received a cache of scrolls, gathered from all the major schools and monastery in the Empire, gaining the respect of their peers as the greatest shugenja in the land. The tournament marked the beginning of Winter time, and it was also known as the Festival of the White Orchid.
It was divided into four parts, based on the four tangible elements. Each contestant must cast one spell based on each element (Air, Earth, Fire and Water). The winners in each category were determined by the respective Elemental Master. In addition, the top four “all-around” winners moved on as well, leaving a field of eight to compete for the grand prize.
The eight remaining competitors then each cast one spell, earning bonus points if a shugenja created a new or previously unseen effect. Four semi-finalists were chosen who cast new spells to the tournament. The two finalists had to cast one by one, a series of spell names the judges called out: the first finalist unable to cast the proper spell lose. The winner might not participate in any future tournaments.
Festivals to the Seven Kami
The Seven Festivals of the Kami were celebrated throughout the year and were rarely acknowledged outside of their home clan.
They were elaborate festivals that included music, theatrical performances, dance, and fireworks.
Crab Clan: 3rd day of the Boar. The Crab held a bragging competition.
Crane Clan: 1st day of the Rooster
Dragon Clan: 17th day of the Hare – Saijitsen no Togashi
Lion Clan: 15th day of the Tiger. Samurai of courage and discipline were reputed to receive special blessings on this day.
Phoenix Clan: 1st day of the Monkey. The Phoenix Clan Champion was at the center of this festival.
Scorpion Clan: 28th day of the Goat
Unicorn Clan: 20th day of the Horse. The celebration was suffused with the strange customs they encountered in the Burning Sands.
The Shouting Day was a peasant festival celebrated on the fourth day in the month of the Tiger. The peasants of a village would all come together and shout their plights to Osano-Wo. Many villages made Shouting Day a contest where the participants competed upon the content, loudness and time of their shout. Shouts were generally complaints about the harvest, disobedient children, and disrespectful wives. Samurai did not participate in Shouting Day, as it was well below their station. Smart Governors put ears to listen, and many samurai do come and watch the event.
Mura Sabishii Toshi was the community which founded the festival, and held the largest celebration on that day. The origins of Shouting Day dated back to a tsunami that struck the coastal village. The crops and many farmers were lost, leaving the village in disarray. Iochi, an older farmer, saw the tsunami as an unprovoked attack by Osano-Wo. He stood upon a stone and began screaming, and he was followed by the populace. Villagers later moved the stone into the village and used it as the platform for the annual event.
The Star Festival, also known as the Festival of the River of Stars, was based on a Phoenix folktale concerning a weaving maiden and a cowherder that were madly in love, but unable to be together. They were taken by the fortunes and placed in the sky, as the Weaver Star and the Cowherd Star, separated by the River of Stars. One day a year, if the River did not flood, they could cross and meet, but to make sure no dishonor was brought to their families, the people of Rokugan came out on this day to chaperone the meeting of the two lovers. The Rokugani often wrote wishes and romantic aspirations on long, narrow strips of colored paper and hanged them on bamboo branches for this festival. It was held in the 9th day of the Month of the Boar.
Toshi no Ichi
Toshi no Ichi, the Year’s End Festival, was a festival that celebrated the end of the previous year and the coming of the next.
Month of the Tiger
Toshi no Ichi took place the day prior to the Oshogatsu, or Festival of New Year’s Day, on the twenty-eighth day of the Tiger and prepared the Empire for the coming of the new year.
Participants invoked rituals meant to prepare Rokugan for the visit of the Sun, the Moon, the Fortunes, and the kami, as it was said that they looked down upon the Empire with great interest at this time, seeking something or someone worthy of their blessing and patronage.
Peasants hung a rope of straw known as the shimenawa inside their houses to ward it from the evil spirits of the previous year. These ropes were burned at the end of the festival along with the other parts of the celebration. Homes prepared a special altar covered in rice cakes and sake called toshidana, which honored the spirits of the new year. At dusk, the temples of the Brotherhood of Shinsei were emptied, and their walls and floors scrubbed cleaned with fresh water. The monks then rang the bells of the temple forty-nine times, seven times seven, for the benevolent and wrathful faces of the Seven Fortunes, and invited the peasants and the nobles back into the temples.