fter Hallow’s End, a celebration where it is believed the barrier between the living and the dead is thinner, it is only normal other traditions and celebrations happen in different cultures around the living and the dead. Such is the case of the Day of the Dead, which was celebrated the 2nd of this month at the Sri-La Village in Pandaria. It was organised by Siavash Wildhaven, who in his initial speech puts words on what the festival means to him: Siavash Wildhaven: “The Day of the Dead is one of the seasons that not many pay attention to, and likely because of a cultural clash: Maybe some find it “wrong” to host a festival, based on the grief of our beloved ones. It is typically considered more appropriate to honour the deceased in silence and with mourning. But the thing about grief is that it is more complex than that. Those who have experienced losing someone can experience that they’re given a grace period to express their pain, but afterwards it’s expected of them to put their grief behind and move on. Truth is, that it is an unfair and impossible expectation, as the sorrow death leads to, is a sorrow we have to learn to live with for the rest of our lives. Regretfully this aftermath of death can lead to loss of loved ones in our living world too, as it is not all who can cope with how grief inevitably changes us. Therefore, the best help and support that we can provide to each other, when facing loss and death, is to learn how to live with mourning and its many faces. The pain will soothe, and the people we have lost will always be with us, in heart, and should not be put behind us. More importantly should the good memories we cherish be remembered - and the relationships amongst us living - should be nourished. Thus, once I declare the festival officially started, I wish to inspire all of you guests to think of this: Let the Day of the Dead be the ritual where you remember your friends on the other side, and nurture those still amongst you. Use this evening to share and cherish all the good memories of your deceased and share this moment together: This festival is for all of you!” The celebration started with a parade from the top of the village to the beach, accompanied with the music of the great band, Shredding Accordingly, who played the entire night, even after the festival officially ended. During the festival people could get spirit candles to offer to their deceased, but various stalls where also open, such as Hummingbird Emporium, Blackrose Foundation trading good for adventures, The Toy Box, and Yacubi and Mearin with an alchemy stall offering diverse potions. There was of course a great selection of themed food, offered by Theodore Mortimer and Nathan’roleios Flamestrike who had meaty bites and bread of dead, and Tristan Shelly offering cocktails, such as the marigold margarita. Finally, Daras and Kay offered free cookies and origami cranes. During the night a story contest was held, in which four people delighted the audience with stories or poems about Life After Dead. For those that missed it, here are the stories:
Key Davenport – My Brightest Star, a story about a mother and a daughter… "It has been years. Ten, no... more. I think it's more. Hard to tell... the days start to merge in on itself after a while. Who am I...? Oh! Right, yes. I remember. My name is Alliana, I'm a farstrider, or well. I was. Before I died. It's been so long; I don't even remember what happened. I do remember that I had a daughter. I wonder how she's doing. It's been so long... does she even remember me? I've spent year in, year out, looking for my little girl. But I finally found her. How big she's grown. She's turning into a beautiful young woman. Wait... no! Don't go! No... no... I found you and then... I lost you again!" A light appeared, blinding the audience, once gone, an illusion of a mausoleum could be seen with candles and incense burning. Over a kneeling figure, a ghostly image could be seen. "You're back! My brightest star. I can barely hear you but you're here. Oh, how I missed you. What's that? You're telling me about your life? Oh, how proud I am of you. Hush now, my baby. Be still love, don't cry. Sleep as you're rocked by the stream. Sleep and remember. My last lullaby. So, I'll be with you when you dream."
Tavari Wildhaven – In the Afterlife Curled up in bed you lie, Your fingers caught in a tome. Through the veil you take my breath away, While the air my fingers comb. Your hair is soft as feathers, Yet you cannot feel my touch. This pain will be my punishment, For loving you so much. Our love was wild and boundless, Our home a haven to rest. Must I wait an eternity, To hold you to my chest? Your name is mere a whisper, You cannot hear me call. So I'll await you in the afterlife, My love...my life...my all.
Istel Dewcrest – Eternal Love This is the story about love, betrayal, and redemption. Our love starts at the Court of Nar’thalas. Where a young Priestess became the apprentice of a revered Arcanist. Over time love bloomed between the two. But tragic struck! Hellfire rained from the skies as demons swarmed the lands! The lovers were torn over their duties. The Arcanist wanted to help her people. She turned against her Queen and her demon masters. The Priestess was ever so loyal to her Queen. She left her love behind to prove her loyalty. The Arcanist killed by her Queen bound as a ghost to this world for an eternity. The Priestess rewarded for her loyalty was transformed into a foul satyr. But in the end her loyalty gave her nothing but death in return. Now both forever bound in an eternal hell. Torn apart for ten thousand years, their love never wavered. But redemption came! The Demons returned with fury and hellfire once more. The Priestess struck with regret about her lost love turned her hatred against the demons who tore them apart. The Arcanist saw her actions and pleaded Elune for her aid. Elune granted her wish. In her light the Priestess was cleansed of her foul visage. Reunited with her lost love, even in death. Now they spend eternity together once more.
Vivian Skybreaker – Life After Death (as translated by Fyre’radell Featherbrush) Life after Death. When Viv lived in Stormwind, she often did say: What if my death comes, tomorrow or today? Then there will be nothing, just blackness and sand. No memories of snowflakes, or the touch of a hand. No parents, no family, no Stormwind, no friends. Surely that's what comes next when my life some day ends. Oh yes, I did think that, but boy! Was I wrong! Because before I was ready, life was suddenly gone. So where was the blackness? The Empty, the nothing? But no, then I woke up, twitching, squeaking and frothing. At first I was scared, left on the wrong side, surrounded by zombies, with nowhere to hide. Then there were Orcs too, and Goblins and Trolls, everything would scare me, yes, even the Gnolls! But then my friend Kurgie, when he passed away, had one final message... His will then did say: "This farm was my parents, and then it was mine. But now let it be Viv's." was his final line. I then had a new start.. With his final breath, He gave me a purpose: There's Life... After Death.
After the voting, Tavari Wildhaven got the third place, there was a tie on the second place between Istel Dewcrest and Kay Davenport and finally, the first place was for Vivian Skybreaker. The final part was the offering at the altar, a tradition which in this case mixed traditions from different places ones more: Siavash Wildhaven: “It is the tradition of the Day of the Dead to light a spirit candle to commemorate the deceased and doing this together is the most powerful way to display that you are not alone. The Pandaren tradition varies by planting an autumn blossom tree and incense rather than a candle - Tonight we encourage you to do BOTH! If you have a token to memorise your deceased: A toy, jewellery, or a favourite dish, you can also place this by the altar. The time has come: Light your candle and place it by the altar. Plant the autumn blossom trees and place your tokens. Fill the altar: Make this your moment of memorial!” A solemn moment in which everyone seemed to reflect about their loved ones that weren’t around and those that died in the recent war and conflicts, because none of them are forgotten.