Edit Traditionally, the Imperial Court under the Hantei dynasty would hold their own winter court. This was a highly selective social event, with higher stakes and rewards than any other. The Winter Court was a lengthy affair, commencing the first week of the Month of the Boar and ending when the first cherry blossom bloomed, a few months later. Afterward, courtiers engaged in a multitude of separate political discussions, trade negotiations, and backroom deals.
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Edit During the first week of the Month of the Rooster , the Emperor officially announced the location of his Winter Court for the year. It was customary for many people to gather together for the winter under one roof, and share the resources needed to survive the season. But these dignitaries were not the only ones to be invited to attend a winter court. Other guests only had access to his courtly functions and offical appearances.
Minor Clans received very few invitations and Ronin were rarely found in. The Imperial Advisor was responsible for the conduct of all those invited. This was considered an enormous honor, not to mention an amazing opportunity: the host would personally have the ear of the Emperor for the entire winter.
After the addition of the Mantis and the Spider Clan this was raised to three hundred and ten. Older structures, such as Kyuden Doji , were exempted from the new requirement. Combined with the Crane, these four factions had hosted nine out of ten Imperial Winter Courts in history. With months to spend building up relations with the other dignitaries, a courtier could easily forge enormous political power for their clan, and themselves.
They not only had time to address clan interests which was ideally what they were there to handle , but could frequently work in some personal advantage or gain. Bushi often engaged in all manner of contests of skill, such as target-shooting, displays of swordsmanship, wrestling , and various athletic contests like races. Even shugenja enjoyed the odd display of magic to determine which one was more skilled in their arts than others.
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