Silmeet

A longstanding Elven tradition, Silmeet are large regional festivals held every 5-7 years, lasting one lunar month. Attendees include almost every elven family within three months travel, halfling bands, half-elves who care to attend, and rangers of any race (though dragonborn rarely attend). Unwanted guests are immediately ejected. Silmeet can vary from a few hundred revelers to the world's largest Silmeet, the Baldion Meet that can bring up to 100,000 attendees.

Though derided as a rural, poor custom by many non-elves, Silmeet are the lifeblood of the extended elven community, functioning not only as festivals, but also trade fairs, diplomatic meets, research colloquia, cultural exchanges, and romantic meeting grounds. More insular and isolated families and clans may not have the ability to bring in new blood without a silmeet. The Silmeet is so important to childraising (and such a party) that the majority of elves are born 7-9 months past*. Those in the majority are termed Kin-Sil, and the less frequent children born in the intervening time are termed Kin-Pel.

Songbirds are understandably confused at Silmeets, as elven families identify themselves by a short whistle rather than a pronounced name. Families are said to have have forked enough to allow intermarriage when the relevant member's whistles are no longer recognizably the same.

At a Silmeet, Rangers and woodsmen exchange lore and craft, leaders renew alliances, the dead are mourned, children are celebrated, and wrongs are forgiven. By abandoning their lands for up to seven months, elves risk theft and usurpation, but stewards are usually found for the duration and long (and well-publicized) tradition declares that a victimized elven hold will be retaken and avenged by three of every five attending clans. The elven nation proves its name during Silmeet: for 71 months out of every 72 it is no nation at all, and for the remaining one it is an empire.

The tradition of forgiveness is so strong that any elf holding a wrong after a Silmeet with an enemy must braids his hair and swear vendetta. To avoid vendetta, most elves will seek arbitration even if they are in the wrong.

A typical Silmeet is rich in dancing, music, games, and feasts. The assembled elves consume massive amounts of wood brandy, acorn beer, spicy cured meats, mushrooms, and smoking herbs. Drums played during the festival are typically made for the purpose and abandoned or destroyed at its end, though no such tradition exists for other instruments.

Elves coming of age since the last Silmeet will often be given advice from distant relatives and such tools as they need to make their own path and fortune. Apprenticeships, magical heirlooms, tradetools, and secrets are frequently given.

*Elves typically gestate for 7 months, but twins gestate over 9 months.

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