When the holidays were upon us, it occured to me that holidays are part of every fantasy world. As it happens, in MyWorld there are only five holidays (one of them lasts a week, but occurs only every third year); however, I played in the game of a friend who had--well, several holidays each month. (Part of the secret was that different holidays were celebrated by different cities, countries, or faiths; but the calendar was
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New Life Festival-In many worlds, the new year begins shortly after the Winter Solstice. This holiday is a celebration of the beginning of the gradual return of the sun in the expectation that, although winter may yet lay largely ahead, spring is now inevitable.
Ovanka-A couple weeks after the new year begins, a solemn new year holiday is held, with religious services focused on a prayer for a merciful year.
Bounty-This day of thanksgiving commemorates an ancient event in the history of one theocracy. During a long and hard winter which followed a poor harvest, food was running out. There was enough grain to last a week, but due to the intervention of their god it did not decrease until spring brought new vegetation. The celebration includes a feast largely of bread and cake products, and the distribution at the temple of bread and cake to everyone in the community, especially the poor.
Walking Day-In the midst of the snows, this rather religious holiday is marked by a hike through the woods, to wake the gods of nature so they will bring back the spring.
Javan's Feast-In the midst of winter long ago, Sir Javan Truman paid a local innkeeper to feed all of the poor who could find their way to his inn on one chosen day. It became a tradition in that city for good wealthy nobelmen and clerics to finance such a feast once each year during the worst part of the winter.
Orthroctide-Orthroc led a seige of castle Wightmoor, and captured it on this day. He declared it a holiday, which is still celebrated locally by festivities generations later.
Family Day-The continuation of the family is commemorated. As part of the recognition of the family's connection to its ancestors, an extra place is set at the table to invite the dead to continue to be part of the lives of the living.
Heart's Day-To celebrate the approach of spring, groups of celebrants travel from house to house singing songs about the rebirth of the earth and the end of winter. It is considered proper for those so entertained to participate in the celebration by serving a hot alcohol punch to the singers.
First Planting-A major agricultural event, this is the celebration of the first crop entering the ground in early spring. It is not usually celebrated in the cities, but almost universally in the countryside.
Day of Waiting-On this day, everyone waits to see if the dragon will come. It is a day of fasting (it is hoped that the dragon will not come).
The Feast of Years-In MyWorld, after every three years there is an extra month; the last week of that month becomes a great holiday marked by fairs and exhibitions at which everyone displays their accomplishments from the past three years.
New Year-This MyWorld holiday marks the beginning of Spring on the Vernal Equinox (late March on the Julian calendar), and the beginning of the new year. It is a solemn holiday, on which everyone considers his future, makes choices and changes, and determines what he hopes to accomplish over the next year. It is of greater significance every third year, when it falls on the day after the close of the Festival of Years, as people consider their direction for the next three years. Most apprenticeships end with the apprentice moving out on his own on or shortly before this holiday.
Flower Day-A local holiday, this is a day of general merrymaking in one district. It comes in early spring, and is marked by decorations of fresh flowers.
Festival of Blades-This memorial holiday celebrates the defeat of giant goblins in an ancient battle.
Gardtide, Festival of Flowers-This is very similar to Flower Day, but is celebrated later in the year and farther north.
Day of the Dead-This day of fasting occurs on a date on which the Dead are rumored to rise (with the hope that they won't).
Day of Shame-It was predicted that the Crimson Ship would return to seek revenge on this day, and years later it did return. To mark the occasion, all shipping stops the week before and remains stopped for a week after this day. It is considered both disrespectful and bad luck to be at sea during this time.
Jester's Day-Carnival celebrations are held at most castles on this day, more so in the north. This is the type of holiday which is held principally because a holiday was wanted.
Nyar Samoht-In northern latitudes, about half way between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice comes the moment at which there is more daylight than nighttime; for some, this is the beginning of the new year, as the morning is the beginning of the new day. It is usually marked by feasts and tournaments, with plenty of drinking.
Second Planting-Near the end of spring, the second crop goes into the ground and agricultural communities hold another celebration--often with the first fruits of the first crop.
Fire Festival-This local city holiday is an excuse to display fireworks and have a party as spring begins to give way to summer.
Fishing Day-In the area around the bay, they hold this celebration of the way of the fish.
Drigh R'zimb-Another regional holiday, this one salutes the sun as it approaches the Summer Solstice.
The Festival of Man-MyWorld celebrates the Summer Solstice (end of June on the Julian calendar) and life on earth with this feast at the beginning of summer. The most universal custom associated with this day is the giving of gifts to those regarded as important or special to the individual. Although sometimes the gifts themselves are minor things, it is still the case that they carry great import; to give too many gifts to too many people is to cheapen the giving. No one gives more than one gift to any one person, and care is taken to give to those who are closest and most important.
Mid-year Celebration-Celebrations vary from solemn to festive on this holiday, celebrated in many ways by many peoples all around the world, at just about the mid-point of the year.
Tibedetha-This is a party celebrating the birth of the ancient deliverer Tiber Septim in one province.
Merchant's Festival-Held in early summer, this is celebrated in most cities, but not so much in the countryside. It is a celebration of free enterprise (although they wouldn't call it that) and the marketplace. Many merchants give away small gifts to visitors, especially if they recognize customers from previous encounters.
Firey Night-The hottest time of year is marked by a day off in the midst of summer.
Deliverance-In the history of one theocracy, the land had been laid waste by an invading army which laid seige to the capital city and the main temple. On this date, in a miraculous deliverance, their god sent a plague upon the invaders, killing many and forcing the army to withdraw. The celebration actually begins with a three-day fast to commemorate the seige, followed by a day of festivities, which usually includes trips out of the cities into the surrounding countryside.
Maiden Katrica-This is a celebration for the maiden warrior who saved the city which celebrates it. It is a popular festival, and people come often from distant cities to enjoy it.
Koomu Alzar-As the last plantings are made near the end of summer, there is a solemn day of thanksgiving for the harvest.
Feast of the Tiger-In other parts of the world, there is a party for the harvest including feasting and celebration.
Harvest's End-Although long before the end of the harvest, this is late enough in the year for food to be plentiful. A thanksgiving feast is held, at which large quantities of fresh food are consumed. Frequently these feasts are public, open to all in and around the community, especially in smaller villages where everyone knows their neighbors.
Tales and Tallows-This holiday is solemnized by the fact that several major churches throughout the world have selected it for the same purpose. The admission into the priesthood of the finest candidates is held on this day in many churches and temples of many faiths.
Midyear's Day-In MyWorld, more holidays are solemn than not. This one occurs on the Autumnal Equinox (late September on the Julian calendar), and is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the progress made in achieving objectives set at New Year. It is a time for making small adjustments, getting back on track, to achieve those goals established half a year before.
Children's Day-The celebration of youth and the young is held early in the fall.
Witches' Festival-Although a celebration in some dark corners of the world, this is largely regarded a solemn day. No respectable person would wish to be found celebrating this day of dark and evil rituals.
Emperor's Day-At one time, it was the law in the empire that the Emperor's birthday was to be celebrated by the giving of gifts and the closing of business and commerce for the day; but given the size of the empire, it was often the case that those in remote regions were unaware that there was a new emperor, or knew his birthday. To solve this problem, Emperor Tinochi VII decreed that during his reign the empire would continue to observe the date of birth of his beloved father Tinochi VI, and Tinochi VIII repeated that decree, creating a new tradition which continued thereafter.
Broken Diamond-This solemn regional holiday mourns the untimely death of Kintara, Second Empress of the region generations before.
Toro D'Nahr-About half way between the autmnal equinox and the winter solstice (depending on your latitude), the ratio of daylight to nighttime shifts on a day on which there is as much of each. For some, this is the beginning of the new year, as the evening is the beginning of the new day.  It is a day of community, on which all fires in houses are extinguished and relit from a community bonfire--literally, a fire on which bones of a sacrificial animal are burned, signifying the obliteration of all that was the old year.
Serpent's Dance-This is a minor religious holiday celebrated by worshippers of snake gods.
Moon Festival-In an interesting astronomical event, a second moon appears in the sky this week only. There is a party in one region to mark the event.
Communion-The full name of this holiday is Communion with the Sword Saints, and it is held in one city in honor of the warriors of an earlier time who defended the city and temple with their lives. It tends toward a solemn memorial.
Warrior's Festival-This is another local memorial day, couched as a celebration of the victories won by those who fought in ages past and present.
Tor Kahl-In the late autumn in many regions, the poor go house-to-house begging food and drink. The practice has become ritualized, and it is considered bad luck to turn away anyone without giving something to eat or drink.
Northwind's Prayer-An important holiday among the allied faiths, on which each church in every city or province sends a proven priest to the north mountains to fast and pray. One priest is anointed with the Breath of Life for one year, and becomes spokesman for the gods and the churches for that year.
Baranth Do-As the year draws to a close, many celebrate this as a way of saying goodbye to the beast of the last year. The focus of the celebration is the eating of a slain beast in a representational feast.
Fast of Winter-In MyWorld, it is said that before recorded time men noticed that the days were getting shorter, and began to fast and pray that the sun would not leave the world forever; and that the fast ended when the sun began to return. As the years went on, men learned the day on which the sun would disappear for the longest time--the winter solstice (in late December on the Julian calendar)--and marked it with a day of most solemn fasting and prayer, later combined with the notion of atonement and confession.
Chulu-Priests bless the coming of the year in this local holiday.
End of Year Festival-Another local celebration marking the approach of the end of the year.
Old Life Festival-An unusual new year's eve tradition, this is a time for looking back. A major part of the occasion is the storytelling, during which the elderly recount the events of their own lives and the stories they were told of the past. Although tales of great events are commonly told, there are also more mundane tales and the telling of genealogies and family histories.
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