Cultural Snapshot: The Carnahl
The Carnahl is a festival in Helios to praise the Goddess Lorna. the Carnahl is a festival that is rarely celebrated outside of Vansen County, although has had a growing following in Hyperion in recent years. The Festival is one of passions, renewed faith, renewed vows and ultimately sex. Traditionally the festival is a night of passion with few limits although it expressly is never done with a committed partner. The point being that one escapes any vows of marriage, or vows of chastity for the night. One is permitted to lay with any other who is willing.
Those participating in The Carnahl denote their desire by painting the crescent moon of Lorna on their left cheek, or wearing a white armband with a black crescent moon on their left bicep. When a partner is approached and found the two put a red mark in the middle of the crescent moon, often times they will put a mark that matches each other there. They then part ways until the large party when the moon rises.
At the start of the moonrise, all those participating gather together to drink, dance and generally revel. As the night goes on couples who had met earlier in the day pair off and disappear from the party to truly pray to the goddess in some passionate act. Younger participants tend to use The Carnahl to experience their first time, offering their virginity to Lorna. When the moon is at its zenith all couples who are participating should be paired off and gone their ways ending the party. The next day arm bands are burned and paint washed away.
While sex is often the result of The Carnahl, there has never been a child conceived as a result of it. Faithful often cite that Lorna would not allow it.
The Carnahl is met with some push back by the Church of Wenna, who believes that it is a perverse festival that leads couples to be unfaithful, and leads young people to not wanting to commit to one another. Although this sentiment is not reflected in the people of Vansen County who have been practicing it openly for centuries.