The most famed and well known celebration of the Chatûl, the Great Hunt is an annual week-long festival that calls all children and devotees of Jolarä to celebrate the glory of the untamed wilderness and partake in its splendor and bounty. While generally speaking the Great Hunt is a Chatûl celebration, devotees of Jolarä from all races will come to participate in the festivities. In some cases, people from other races and other walks of life will participate simply to engage in the festivities, even with no particular allegiance to Jolarä, though this is far less common.
The Great Hunt is known in some places of the world as a time of relative safety, as the number of battle-ready Chatûl increases to such a degree that any Goblin, Gnoll or Orc with any sense in its head at all will lay low until the festival passes. The Great Hunt festival is also a time where the young aspirants to the Order of the White Lion who have already completed their training and their preliminary tasks are charged with one great task to become initiated into the Order. This is also the time where other Chatûl who wish to become aspirants to the Order are reviewed and accepted pending completion of their first task.
Many activities take place during this seven-day festival. On each evening, a great feast takes place, with the most significant day of the feast being the day of the Hunter's moon. However, in preparation for this feast, there is also a hunt every evening, with a special type of prey being designated by the High Priestess presiding over the Great Hunt in that area. In some cases, this special prey is a particularly elusive type of animal, in other cases it is a foul and marauding beast that has caused great pain to the people of the region. In either case, the Chatûl participating in the actual hunt will do so only with their claws. They will not use ranged weapons under any circumstances, and will often hunt in large groups. Once they have claimed their first kill, the Chatûl participating will drink the blood of their prey to pay homage to Jolarä's act of giving life to her chosen people.
While non-Chatûl are, in a sense, welcome to participate in the Great Hunt, they are often charged with a task or a duty to earn the favor of the Chatûl and of the Beastmother before they are allowed to participate in a hunt. Non-Chatûl must prove that they are able to contribute to the good of the group in some way, and these tasks will often revolve around gathering some item or another, or bringing back meat and hides to be distributed among those in attendance.
Providing for the mothers of the tribe is considered to be a sacred and important task in Chatûl culture, and the Great Hunt is no exception. Expecting mothers are given a place of honor and respect during feasts, and Priestesses of Jolarä will often use their powers of divination during this period to determine the gender and health of any expecting mothers and their unborn children present at the festival. While most Chatûl directly participate in the Great Hunt, expecting mothers never participate and are expected to remain in town or at the main camp so as to preserve the life of their baby.
The festival of the Great Hunt is seven days long, with the festivities reaching their peak on the day of the Hunter's Moon, which will always be the fourth day of the festival. On rare occasions, the Great Hunt will overlap the Day of Shadows festival, and will cause a great deal of internecine conflict between the forces of Shadow (particularly worshipers and devotees of Sléachta), and the loyal followers of Jolarä . These uncommon intersections are known as the Days of Blood among both devotees of Sléachta and devotees of Jolarä .
Despite the obvious similarities, the Great Hunt is not the Sidereus corollary to Thanksgiving. The Sidereus version of Thanksgiving would be more accurately represented by Anaris - the Day of Light, which takes place on the 26th day of Nuallan every year. In Sidereus lore, Anaris is a sort of combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas.