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Ilah's BirthdayIlah constantly found her birthday to be ironic. Her birthday was December 21st which was the Winter Solstice. However, the Summer Solstice was the holiest day in Fire Nation culture resulting in a substantial three-day celebration.The Winter Solstice is the Day of the Dead for the Fire Nation. It's ironic to be born on the day you're to commemorate and honor the departed. Given you're born on that day. However, she didn't begrudge her birthday, only finding it ironic. Her family had continually made sure to honor both the deceased and her birthday. This year wouldn't be any exception.The Day of the Dead's traditions differs significantly from the Summer Solstice extravaganza. For one, everyone has a distinctive golden skyward phoenix candlestick. On each wingtip is a candle with the final candle on its beak. This is called the Flame of Rebirth.Just as the Phoenix is perpetually reborn from the ashes, their loved ones indeed lived on forever in their hearts. As long as you carry their memory and love in your hearts? Then they will live on forever, just as the Phoenix does.There's a total of seven candles on Flame of Rebirth. You light one each day leading up to the Winter Solstice and reserve the final one on the beak on the day of the Winter Solstice itself.All the candles must be kept burning until the Solstice is over. This is to honor your departed loved ones and to show they're welcomed into your home. Plus, it helps them find their way back to the spirit world.They also had incense sticks with distinctive smoke to ward off evil or dark entities that might come trespassing. It prevents them from pursuing your visiting loved ones while safeguarding the living from hostile wraiths.The Day of the Dead is for both sides of the family. The living visit cemeteries to wash and embellish their families' crypts while telling their lost loved ones what they've been missing.Families host enormous banquets leaving half the food for the dead. Families also make several little gifts for those they've lost. It's a sign they're still loved and welcomed among their families. Day of the Dead can be quite bittersweet. However, the family still enjoyed it nonetheless. Plus, again, they never forgot to celebrate Ilah's birthday either.Kimana, Lu Ten, and Ursa were busy preparing the traditional food for the celebration. Plus a few extra delicacies to celebrate Ilah's birthday. They could hear the children in the living room.Iroh was in the living room with his grandchildren, niece, grandson's friends, and girlfriend. Since they're all part of the family, they all celebrate together. "How does this look, Uncle Iroh?" a young teenage girl in red-violet questioned. He turned to his attractive niece Ember. She'd been engaged in crocheting a dragon doll for her late father.He carefully took the handcrafted gift and then smiled. "You've done quite a satisfactory job, my precious niece. I'm sure your father be exceptionally proud of you!" handing her back the yarn dragon.Ember reddened intensely. "Thanks, Uncle Iroh. I genuinely want to say thank you for allowing me and Mom to move in! It's nice to have a proper family surrounding you! Especially today! I hope Granny Ilah has a good birthday as well! I've been crocheting a surprise for her!" Ember beamed as she said this.Even though technically Iroh's parents weren't related to his wife's sister and daughter? They still adopted Ember as another grandchild and treated her as one. Thus she referred to them as Granny Ilah and Grandpa Azulon. Ember and her mother never truthfully felt at home till they moved in. Feeling at home is challenging when you've moved miles away to evade an appalling mother-in-law.Ember then turned to Kiyi to give her the crochet doll she'd made for her as a late birthday present. She squealed happily before running off to show her mommy. "It's so much fun to have you around, cuz. I'm so delighted you live here now. Plus, Kiyi and I have one decent cousin.""Thanks, Zuko. I'm pleased to be here. So what are you planning on doing for Granny's birthday? What do you generally do to observe it?""Well, like you've made her a handmade gift? We make enough handmade goodies for both our deceased relatives while also making some for her. Grandma Kimana continuously makes her unique floral arrangements. While Grandpa Iroh makes the most outstanding tea ever.""Do your parents do anything special?" she questioned, to which Zuko gestured to the kitchen. "Mom bakes her an amazing cake every year. Plus, all of her favorite foods. Grandma and Dad are responsible for the banquet and offerings for the departed. I hope Grandpa Azulon and Granny Ilah are alright. They insisted on going by themselves to finalize decorating the family crypt.""Don't worry so much, Grandson. Your great-grandparents are both healthy as a horse! So nothing to stress about there," Iroh chuckled, to which his handsome grandson frowned."It's difficult to ignore that one day Granny's birthday will truly be celebrated with the rest of the dead. It's not easy to come to terms with Grandpa Iroh.""I understand completely, Zuko. But, still, let's not worry about that right now, shall we?"The kids and Iroh returned to finishing the gifts while the rest of the family did their part to celebrate the day. Finally, night had fallen, and it was time to light the final candle.Ilah always lit the final candle, which was gold, unlike the red ones. After lighting the candle, everyone bowed to begin reciting their prayers to Agni and the other hallowed deities.Twenty minutes later, the family started eating half of the meal. Everyone chitchatting happily with each other and having a good time. Half an hour before delivering the gifts and food at the cemetery, they celebrated Ilah's birthday.She adored the beautiful crochet doll Ember had made for her. Plus, she treasured the musical performance of Zuko, his friends, and Akiko. Finally, Kiyi read aloud a poem she had written all by herself.After eating Ilah's birthday cake, the family headed to the graveyard. First, they carefully laid the offerings to the correct recipient. Next, they positioned plates of everyone's favorite food. After that, they lit some incense sticks, ensuring the perfumed smoke drove away any dark spirits. Finally, they finished by singing traditional songs.As was the custom, you must vacate before midnight. For that's when the Solstice will conclude. Anyone who stays passed that time might accidentally prevent a spirit from returning home or be brought along by accident.And for those who didn't believe in the Spirit World or Spirits? Families must wait three days before coming back to collect their plates. And always the food and gifts have evaporated. And NO, it's not the cemetery attendants stealing them. They've had CCTV cameras up to keep people out. And they've more then once caught paranormal activity.So no, its not just a bunch of hogwash! Everyone was happy as Ilah smiled, knowing despite her birthday being ironic? At least it'd be a double celebration when she finally passed on!
1500 watchers raffleIt`s finally here!I hit the next milestone, so it`s raffle time!How to join: be my watcher (new watchers are welcome!) fav this journal comment for a ticketFor extra tickets share this journal (status, poll, journal - whatever) tag a friend (no matter how many people you tag - you`ll recieve 1 ticket anyway) follow me on Insta (cranash64) Prize:Fullbody drawing of your OC/FC/cannon character with simply bg (or two characters halfbody)(The second prize will be unlocked at 15 participants)I do: humans and humanoids of any race, age, gender and body type, anthros, animals, not very complicated mechas, soft nudity/erotic (m+f, m+m, f+f), medium goreI do not: porn, fetishis (includes but no limited to - futas, mpreg, vore, inflation, milking, coprophilia, bestiality), overly suggestive poses (tasteful pinup is fine), sexual/suggesteve art of teens/minors (including "growing up" versions of characters who are minors in original book/movie/game etc), extreme gore, copying other artissts` art/styleFeel free to ask if unsure, I don`t bite!Some examples of my art:, Deadline: July 24th (inclusively, all timezones)Welcome and good luck!
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