January 4th – Saint Reinard’s Day

One of the more important events in the Buentoilliçan Chastise Church’s calendar, Saint Reinard’s day is a time of prayer and of giving thanks to Saint Reinard, popularly known as the most sinful man to have walked the earth, and patron saint of dentists.

Saint Reinard was the last known Buentoilliçan sin eater to be officially supported by the Chastise Church. He rose to sainthood shortly after he was ritualistically killed at the age of seventy six, on this day in 1846. In his seventy six years walking the earth, Reinard, whose birth name was Hamish Bulgarrson, had accumulated the sins of over thirteen thousand sinners, around six hundred of whom were fellow sin eaters that had been collecting the consolidated sins of many generations.

The practice of sin eating is frowned upon by the Church nowadays, although many studies indicate that it still survives in a modified form in some small sections of Buentoilliçan society. The act itself is a protracted ritual wherein the sin eater bakes a loaf of bread containing a small quantity of finely crushed teeth from a recently deceased person. At the time it was widely believed that a person’s sin was concentrated in their teeth (a rotting tooth was a sure sign of sinful behaviour), and that by eating the loaf a sin eater would take this sin onto themselves, freeing the soul of the deceased from its ultimate chastisement.

Today followers of Saint Reinard will complete their month-long pilgrimage around the Seven Cities, ending the journey with a torturous procession up Ranaclois hill on their knees to the Church of the Holy Host. They wear red masks in honour of Reinard’s famously ruddy face. There, in the octagonal central chamber, each follower lets a small quantity of blood onto the central altar; the ceremony commemorates the killing of Reinard, who is said to have bled in a constant torrent for sixteen full days after his death.

By his death, Saint Reinard apparently freed followers of the Chastise Church of some of humanity’s original sins, which had been held by generations of sin eaters before him. A combination of astrological alignments and prophesied signs meant that sins he held returned to the earth with his blood. As such, devotion to Reinard is strong, and blood letting can at times be excessive; The Orderlies of Good Health are paid by the Church to oversee proceedings.

Visitors to the City are advised to wear appropriate waterproof footwear if they intend to visit The Church of the Holy Host or its environs today or for the next sixteen days.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Homily Collection Open Day
  • Dan ‘the Shill’ Johnson’s Advert Extravaganza