The New Year Prayers was a sacred event for Sia’s believers. The event started before midnight, but every single recitation of the holy scripture and prayers lasted for around two hours—and it repeated three times. It was only when dawn arrived that the event finally concluded.
As the guest of the Holy Eminence, it went without saying that Roel was accorded with special privileges. He was given a spot in the VIP section, where the esteemed guests coming from all over the continent were gathered.
If anyone thought that being placed in the VIP section was a blessing, they couldn’t be more wrong. There were no snacks to munch and no sofa to lounge on here. In reality, it was just a fancy way of referring to the positions closest to Grandpa John.
Yes, there was no seating at all; it was just an area with dozens of large pavers placed right in front of the stage where the Holy Eminence was speaking from. Granted every single VIP guest was given their own personal floor tile to pray from—at least it was more spacious than the packed-like-sardines crowd behind—however, Roel still had to stand alongside these devout believers throughout the entire course of the event till daylight.
What kind of horrendous torture is this?!
The hardly-a-believer Roel felt extremely distressed about this situation.
In the first place, he had hardly any interest in this event at all! But as the guest of the Holy Eminence, he couldn’t afford to take his leave halfway through the event. That would be a blatant show of disrespect toward Grandpa John!
As a result, Roel was doomed to a night of suffering. He stood all the way from midnight till daylight, only receiving two short breaks in the middle. It was only at the end of the third set of prayers that he was finally liberated.
Of course, there weren’t too many people like Roel who thought of this event as suffering. Most of the believers were still quite excited about the new year.
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Furthermore, after the New Year Prayers, the royal family would be distributing the first wave of holy candies. This was an event that appealed to the masses. There was a prevailing notion that anyone who managed to collect the most holy candies in the first wave would be granted the most blessings for the year. In a sense, this was similar to how some people thought that being the first to visit a temple and light a joss stick for the new year would bring great luck for the next twelve months.
As a result, the crowd standing by the sides of the streets only continued to grow with time.
Unfortunately, Roel wasn’t too interested in the good omen that came with this activity. In the first place, he had received the direct blessing from the Holy Eminence himself before the New Year Prayer. As for the holy candies, all he had to do was mention it in front of Nora to obtain an entire jar of them.
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