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441.25 // Republic Celebrates Festival of Cultures

Chancellor Rei has declared an executive order that will open the Senate building on Coruscant for a multi denominational celebration of diversity, faith, and expression from across the Republic. Opening on Life Day and running until the start of the next cycle, the ‘Festival of Cultures’ is a celebration of the wide diversity of beings, cultures, beliefs, and expressions of the pluralistic society that makes up the Galactic Republic. In his announcement, Chancellor Rei wore traditional garb of his home world while introducing the festival.

“It’s our intention to take advantage of the spirit of Life Day, a Kashyyykian holiday that has spread to a galactic significance, to celebrate all the beautiful diversity that is the soul and strength of our society, culture, and government. In the face of rising totalitarianism, intolerance, and political violence across the rim it’s our responsibility to celebrate others, to give voice to those who feel as if they’ve been silenced. We encourage everyone who can come to the Senate building to participate in the festival. My administration will also be setting up local festivals in our federal government buildings across hundreds of sectors for those who wish to express local cultures and for those who cannot make the long trek all the way to Coruscant. Happy Holidays to every being, you’re celebrated here in the Republic.”

Translated as she spoke, Wookie Senator Uma from the Mytaranor sector said this about holding these ceremonies during Life Day.

“It has been the greatest honor to our culture, planet, and our people. Our species has long known that when the limbs of two Wroshyr trees meet and meld together they form both a physical and spiritual bond with one another, turning two into one. So too is the spirit of this holiday being embraced and celebrated by all beings in the galaxy! Every time the galaxy celebrates with us, we bind ourselves closer together as one people. A celebration of our differences is a celebration of us all. Kashyyyk is happy to endorse this festival and we look forward to celebrating with the galaxy.”

Cynics argue that this is a political maneuver given the current election cycle and uncertainty in the Rei administration’s re-election campaign. Supporters argue, however, that regardless of the political season this move is important to the values of the Republic and to vocally answer the stifling of the free expression of religion and spirituality being seen in the Third Estate in the last cycle. Several local religious organizations in Third Estate territory have been arrested or driven underground. Most recently, the Temple of Light, a religious organization based out of Elamposnia, Chenowei, Atorra, and Troos has been subject to mass arrests for “felony thought crimes” and “seditious activity.” Their Great Abbot and other leaders have not been seen nor heard from since they were arrested and imprisoned in a secretive, undisclosed location.

While the purpose of the Republic’s festival is clear, the impact and significance are multifaceted and already organizations from all across the galaxy are setting up areas inside the Senate Building’s many chambers to share with one another the things we all hold dear.

Reporting from Coruscant, I’m Quan Regal of the Associated Presses