|"There's a reason the Glacier Spirits Festival ends on the winter solstice. That's when the Spirit World and the physical world are close together."|
|— Unalaq explains the significance of the Glacier Spirits Festival.|
The Glacier Spirits Festival, or Southern Water Tribe Festival, is a celebration held in the Southern Water Tribe, founded with the intention of strengthening ties between the North and South, as well as maintaining the nation's connection to the spirits. It is considered by the more spiritual tribe members, such as former Chief Unalaq, to be one of the "most hallowed times". The festival ends on the day of the winter solstice.
Six months after the end of the Anti-bending Revolution, Team Avatar, Tenzin, and his family attended the Glacier Spirits Festival. During the festival, Avatar Korra learned from her uncle about the spirit attacks on ships in southern waters. Despite the latter's insistence to become her spiritual mentor, Korra's father, Tonraq, refused his brother's offer, reaffirming that Korra's training would only be overseen by Tenzin. During their discussion, Korra discovered that she was incorrect in believing it was Aang who tasked the White Lotus with keeping her in the South Pole, and that the decision to isolate her was instead made by Tenzin and her father.
At night, Korra was awakened by an alarmed Naga, who alerted her of a dark spirit, who subsequently attacked Korra just outside of the camp grounds. Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, and Tonraq all attempted to assist her in defeating the spirit, albeit unsuccessfully. The spirit was eventually calmed following Unalaq's intervention, through the use of a specialized waterbending technique that allowed the spirit to depart in peace. Korra dismissed Tenzin as her spiritual mentor following the incident, choosing instead to seek tutelage under Unalaq after witnessing his display of spiritual awareness.
Originally, the festival was a solemn time for fasting and meditation, during which tribal elders would commune with the spirits. As a result, spirits would dance in the skies, creating beautiful displays of light.
By 171 AG, the festival had evolved into a frivolous carnival, spurring recreational games which included amusement booths, where stuffed animals, such as flying bison, are offered as prizes. Confectioneries, including cotton candy and popcorn, are available on the festival grounds as food.
A royal feast is also held in honor of the Chief of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, during which animal shows and other forms of entertainment may be featured. Despite the festival having its origins in the Water Tribe, numerous attendees from other nations are welcome to take part in the festivities.
The Legend of Korra
Book Two: Spirits (神靈)
- 201. "Rebel Spirit"
- Chief Unalaq theorized that the deterioration of the festival's spirituality was one of the reasons angry spirits were roaming the southern waters around 171 AG, stating that some of the tribe's traditions had a purpose.
- The water shooting booth features targets with the same chibi design of Aang that was used in the Super Deformed Shorts.
- Michael Dante DiMartino stated that the festival was a fun way to show how Aang, Appa, and Momo were now part of popular culture in the Avatar World.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 13, 2013). "The Southern Lights". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book Two: Spirits, page 18.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (September 13, 2013). "Rebel Spirit". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.