|Crimson Sacrifice Ritual|
|Location(s)||Minakami Village, Hellish Abyss|
|Participants||Twins, The Remaining, Veiled Priests, Mourners|
|Frequency||Every couple decades|
|Purpose||To prevent The Repentance|
|Game||Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly|
|“||The two chosen children will be carried to heaven on the wings of a butterfly... A butterfly that will save this village.||”|
The Crimson Sacrifice Ritual is the primary ritual in Fatal Frame Il in All God's Village, and is performed every 10 years or so, during the summer months. It involves a set of twin siblings sacrificing one of the pair to appease the Hellish Abyss.
The Folk Scholar's Writing IV states that the village held a "Crimson Sacrifice Festival" regularly, which was split into two parts: the "True" Ritual and then the "Shadow" Ritual, only held if the True Ritual failed. While early supposition interpreted this to mean a yearly festival with twins was held, and the Crimson Sacrifice was the Shadow Ritual which took place rarely, a different translation from FFII: Deep Crimson Butterfly clarified in the Hidden Ceremony (memo) that the "Shadow Ritual" is the same as the Hidden/ Cutting Ritual, making the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual the "True Ritual".
The people of the village believed that twins were one soul split into two. Strangling one's twin was thought to 'unite' their souls and to make them become one. The energy unleashed during the ritual appeased the Hellish Abyss and prevented the Repentance from occurring.
When it comes time to perform the ritual, a pair of twins, preferably around 15 years old or so, though there are no specific age requirement, are moved into 'Twin Houses', also called the Kiryu and Tachibana houses, which are connected by the Earth and Sky bridges. Upon entering the houses the twins live separately and undergo a purification process to become a priestess in the case of Twin Shrine Maidens or priest in the case of Altar Twins. The period of this isolation and purification is not specified, but may be as long as one full year, due to the requirement of waiting at least one year between Crimson Sacrifices.
The degree of isolation and separation is not specified, but it is implied that the twins do have regular contact with each other, since both Sae and Yae, and Itsuki and Mutsuki had communication prior to their rituals, and even met outsiders. There are also two sets of twins rooms in the Kiryu and Tachibana houses, containing double amenities which suggests the twins were kept together. While it's possible these rooms belonged to different sets of twins, who were not undergoing ritual preparation, the sacred ropes and altars in the rooms suggest the rooms were for ritualistic use, rather than daily use.
In preparation for the ritual, the twins are dressed in white kimonos, a mourning color in Japan. Both twins are dressed with the right side of the kimono tied over the left, as in the traditional way of dressing the dead. The cut scene showing Sae and Yae's initial meeting with Seijiro Makabe and Ryozo Munakata shows both twins dressed this way, well before the actual ritual took place, implying they used this dress during the entire preparation period.
Outside, the villagers gather around the offering stone on Misono Hill. The stone is moved, revealing a hole which lies directly over the Hellish Abyss. Torches were lit, providing light to those in the underground chamber below, and songs were sung. Veiled priests would keep the villagers from wandering too close and accidentally peering into the Hellish Abyss.
At the start of the ritual, the pair of twins are lead by the veiled priests to the Kurosawa house. The pair travel along split, parallel paths through the house which keep them separated, as they travel from the Kurosawa Altar room, to the Lattice room, Rope Temple, and then into the underground tunnels under the village. It is unknown if any rituals or stops are made along this path. The pathway is lined with veiled priests who give deference.
Upon entering the underground tunnels, twins are first lead down the Stone Passageway, which is lined with sacred ropes, to the large, circular cavern outside of the entryway to the Hellish Abyss. This chamber is directly under the heart of the village. This chamber is filled with candles on spindly iron candle sticks staked into the ground around a circular, inlaid mandala at the center of the chamber. The exact details of what happens here are somewhat unknown, but two cushions are placed in this circle, presumably for the twins to kneel upon.
At some point after the exiting Lattice room and before entering the chamber of the Hellish Abyss, the twins are tied together with a long, crimson sash, tethering them together at the waist. This sash is severed at some unknown point during the ritual, presumably before the sacrificed twin is thrown into the Abyss.
From here, there are two possible options for how the ritual is carried out.
Based on what the player experiences in the ending:
The twins walk together down a series of stairs lined with torii gates to enter the chamber of the Hellish Abyss.
The first-born twin (considered the younger) lays upon a stone altar in front of the Abyss, while the second-born twin (considered the elder) strangles them to death with their bare hands. As this occurs the veiled priests filling the chamber rhythmically beat their staffs in time. Once dead, the body of first-born twin is thrown into the Abyss.
Based on multiple images of the twins strangling each other in the outer chamber, and the placement of the candle sticks preventing the twins from walking together directly to the passage for the Abyss.
The twins will kneel or stand on the cushions in the outer chamber, and the second-born strangles the first-born twin to death here. Presumably, mourners would then assist in carrying the body of the first-born twin down to the Hellish Abyss and throw the body in.
In either case, the Mourners and Veiled Priests are allowed to help, such as in the case of the Kiryu Twins, who were too young to understand what was happening or have the physical strength to carry out the strangulation.
After the body of the sacrificed twin was thrown in the Abyss, a crimson red butterfly would emerge from the pit, settle on the Remaining twin for a moment, before ascending to the heavens through the hole in the ceiling of the underground chamber. The appearance of the butterfly signaled a successful ritual, and the villagers would celebrate.
The ritual was considered successful if the crimson butterfly appeared, signaling that the Abyss was "appeased" and would stop causing earthquakes and expelling toxic malice.
The ritual was believed to join the souls of the twins back into one being. Due to the concept of "shared pain," the living twin will be left with a red mark on their throat, mirroring the one from strangling their sibling, in the shape of a butterfly. Called 'The Remaining, their duty is to then watch over the village, providing blessings and prosperity. A Remaining would be considered a divine being, akin to a kami, straddling the worlds of the living and the dead and existing in both simultaneously. The dead twin would become a crimson butterfly, a spirit that acts as a guardian deity aiding the Remaining, and blessing the village.
In some cases, the remaining's hair may turn white, this is thought to be due to the shock of killing one's sibling. Afterwards, a Twin Deity Statue is erected in the village.
Only mentioned in FFII: Deep Crimson Butterfly, the Shadow Festival is held at the Kureha Shrine after the completion of the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual. During this event, hundreds of sky lanterns are released, representing the spirits of the sacrificed twins becoming butterflies. The festival gained in popularity and soon spread to nearby areas as a yearly festival held in late summer, possibly during Obon.
The ritual can fail in a variety of ways, and did, frequently. It is unclear if the Abyss is appeased by strong negative emotions, such as the extreme pain and suffering a Kusabi goes through, or if a lack of worldly attachments and willingness to die releases a great deal of pure energy, temporarily appeasing or sealing the Abyss.
If a Crimson Sacrifice results in failure, a new Crimson Sacrifice is carried out the next year, rather than in 10, with cutting ritual being carried out as a temporary appeasement method.
There are four failed rituals noted in the game;
- The failure of an unknown set of twins, for unknown reasons, which required the ritual of Kiryu twins to be moved up, while they were still very young.
- A pair of unnamed twins attempted to escape the ritual by running away. They were caught near the Kureha Shrine, ambushed, and killed.
- The Tachibana twins. The twin's ritual is said to have failed because they loved each other too much. This may have meant there was no resentment or pain to appease the Abyss; their souls may have already been one, so no power could be gained from joining them; or, their love meant they had worldly attachments to each other, which prevented a successful sacrifice.
- Sae's ritual failed, due to it being performed incorrectly. Her twin, Yae, had escaped the village. Unable to get her back, and desperate to appease the Abyss, Sae was taken to the Abyss and hanged from a torii gate by the Veiled Priests. Her dead body was then thrown into the Abyss by Mourners in the hopes it would be sufficient. Since she was killed alone, her soul was not reunited with Yae's.
Too many failed rituals in a row resulted in the Repentance happening.
An alternate ritual, known as the 'Twin's Ceremony' is performed by other villages in the mountain and is a non-fatal form of the Crimson Sacrifice. The twins are dressed in white and tied by a red cord, connecting them as 'one'. They then conduct a séance and in the end become 'deities'. The ceremony is briefly mentioned in a Folklore book that Miku finds in Fatal Frame III: The Tormented.
While it is thought that many twins have been sacrificed over the years, (Due to the large amount of Crimson Butterflies in the village.) There are some known Sacrifices.