Avisalia (ey-vis-AL-ee-uh | / eɪ vɪs ˈæl i ə /)
Avisalia is a holiday that celebrates an ancient alliance between House Avis and House Lapin. Lost to time in the Renaissance due to the decline of the Age of Literomancy, it has recently been revived among the literomantic Houses, and is beginning to catch on in popular culture as well. During the Game of Tomes: Tourney of Tales April 2022, Cryssalia, the Penguin Prinx and Sable Aradia, the Mother of Bunnies held a public Avisalia celebration and feast for the first time in hundreds of years. The event was widely attended by literomancers, though only sparsely attended by the general public. They both have hopes that the event will grow in popularity as it becomes more established.
The Word War of 2020 was not the first appearance of the Undead Horde in the world. In pre-historic times, there was a time when the power of the Undead Horde was such that there was a winter that lasted for years, accompanied by endless darkness. Perhaps The Iron Tome was in their possession. According to myth, the literomantic Houses were still new, and rarely engaged with one another outside of their own concerns. But The Big Birb and The Chief Rabbit decided to form an alliance to bring light and warmth back to the world. Together they faced down the Undead Horde, and after much loss, they were able to turn the tide, drive the Undead Horde underground once again, and bring back the sun. Avisalia commemorates this ancient alliance and its success. Echoes of this event, say the Birbs and Bunnies, are remembered in Vernal Equinox traditions and celebrations all over the world, including the modern observance of Easter. It is also remembered in numerous bird- and bunny-related myths, such as the association of rabbits with the moon, and Raven stealing the sun. Later, with the dawn of civilization, bunnies and eggs became associated with goddesses of love and fertility. Since most of these deities descend in some way from the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who descended into the Underworld to reclaim her lost love, died, and was later resurrected through the actions (or decrees) of the god Enki, some scholars of Tome Lore believe that Inanna and Enki may be half-remembered names of the Chief Rabbit and the Big Birb who were responsible for the alliance and the victory being commemorated. One key aspect of the holiday that has bled into popular culture is the tradition of the Easter Bunny. The Chief Rabbit typically takes coloured, unfertilized eggs, or chocolate representations of them or of bunnies, which have been charged with literomantic blessings, and hides them for people to find. The one who finds the treat and eats it receives the literomantic blessing. More recent traditions may have evolved from a darker development of Avisalia traditions in the Bronze and Iron Age. According to the myths of both House Lapin and House Avis, people began to hunt and eat the bunny and birb relatives of both Houses to claim some of their power totemically. They claim that encouraging people to fast, and then later, to eat chocolate representations of birbs and bunnies instead, was a grand trick (and a very successful propaganda victory) accomplished by both Houses.
It is traditional for the members of both Houses to take part in activities that honour the members of the other House. Both may decorate or dress up in ways that are associated with the other House, or serve food that is preferred by the other House (or choose not to eat things that would potentially offend or harm the other House; for example, the Birbs eat vegetarian meals.) A grand feast is served, featuring items like bananas and oatmeal, which both Houses agree are ideal fare. They claim it's because of these traditions that birbs and bunnies are intrinsically associated with the Vernal Equinox and Easter in many cultures, and often in ways that blend their aspects and features. Naturally, because this is a literomancer's holiday, writing is also involved. The members of both Houses gather, together if possible, and write. Filking is also common. Literomantic blessings on parchment are baked into cakes, pies, or hot cross buns; or added in icing or other decorative elements. Dyeing unfertilized chicken eggs is common, and the patterns may be elaborate and colourful works of art that typically contain literomantic blessings also. The blessings, whatever form of food they take, are then eaten by the celebrants. Even the members of House Avis who tend to have omnivorous diets abstain from meat-eating on Avisalia, to honour their vegetarian Bunny allies.
Avisalia used to be celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, which was believed to have been the date at which the Endless Winter ended, but in the modern revival it is celebrated on Easter to be more consistent with existing holidays.