Red Day at Redberry

From here.

Redberry is the river-port for upland cranberry and rice farmers. These farmers must give 50% of the produce of their land to their liege, but nothing is said about the produce of the river. That’s taken care of by ancient laws giving the liege the right to tax passage on waterways and ancient monopolies on fishing. But the clever farmers realized there was no tax on crops grown on the water itself. So every year they build wooden frames filled with moss and dirt and plant cranberries and rice and let them drift in the river alongside their huts. When the raft slowly disintegrates over the year, the roots of the plants hold the raft together. When the crop is ready, the raft is cut loose and the eldest child floats it downriver to Redberry.

Redberry is so named because of the profitable cranberries, and the day of the first cranberry raft drifting downriver is celebrated with a big festival called Red Day. There’s also a Green Day for rice but town people don’t get so excited about it.

Red Day is also a day for trying new things. People trade old clothes for new (or different old clothes). Youths quit their jobs and start new ones. There are repaintings, and even tearing-down of old structures to build new ones. It’s an auspicious day to begin or end anything. Since almost all divorces and marriages happen on Red Day, the week or two before is very stressful.

Because of this between-time festival, it’s also a lure for otherworldly fairy creatures and dwellers of the shadow-realms. Folk stay indoors at sunrise or sunset, moonrise or moonset, and otherwise band together in celebratory groups. Mirrors remain covered and people refrain from leaning out windows or loitering in doorways or against fences. Beaches are desolate. Today, of all days, it’s unlucky to leave work unfinished or to cut conversations short.

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