-A certain color or type of decoration is hung in front of everybody's home or business.
-Not allowed to go outdoors. Forced family fun time.
-Requirement to give alms to any poor that asks. (begger holiday)
-Everybody has to travel to a certain tree to put up one decoration per household. Go to Comment
This holiday could also have a different kind of presents expected:
Those that were unfriendly throughout the year, have to be kind to one another, for this one day at least. If you argue with someone constantly, if there is a long dispute about grazing rights between your family and another, if you can't find a nice word for someone, you must treat him/her/them friendly, and bring presents. It may come from a peace treaty between bitter enemies a long time ago, or a love goddess can "sponsor" this holiday. The best moment to ask for forgiveness, and to repent for ones sins and errorrs.
All in all very nice, until your nemesis, your hated enemy comes along with a nice sword (a replacement for the one that broke during your last fight) and wants to be your friend, for a moment. It is of course _very_ unfitting for a hero to treat him badly, and attacking or even killing marks you as scum for the public, or the goddess will curse you. Go to Comment
(Aside: there's a similar old custom in our parts of the world to make a symbolic representation of winter at it's end, and burn it (or drown it) to get rid of winter and embrace spring. I also heard somewhere, that animals like rats were on occassion sentenced in courts for their crimes against the people, as a warning to others. This whole concept seems to have been a favourite in the past.
The midst of winter is not a time of celebration for Agerans. Indeed, most in fact hole up in their homes during this time to wait out the darkness and icy cold. The people of Carmania, who's land recieves the hammer blows of storms of the Sea of Esh-Eir, gather together in the local Temple of Amalias during the last week of the year, lighting great fires to drive away the forces of evil. The Mysians hold no specific customs, but especially pious devotees of the Phoenix are known to light bonfires in this time, while other Mysians simply hold bacchanallian feasts to stay warm and comfortable. Go to Comment
A festival of lights perhaps. Someone could have a "charm" that lights up crystals (or it could be a magik item that is frequently found).
A great holiday I read about in a book (whos name escapes me) is a festival of lights. Every year on the same date a meteor swarm hits the planet. Nothing large, but lots of falling stars. They run around with mirrors turned upside down to "collect them". Masks were worn, gifts are also exchanged, a feast occurs. It was a summer holiday. There were hundreds of laterns and luminaries spread about.
It had something to do with some mythical tale from some historical personages. However, so many generations later... most people do not care about this. It is just a holiday to have fun. (Kind of like how Christmas is for most people.) So all you need is threadbare story to provide motivation and select the traditions you want. Go to Comment
Fremos 34: Day of Gods- Holy Day of worship and family gatherings
Fremos 35: Day of the People: Day for friendships, family, loved ones. Token gifts are sometimes given.
Fremos 36: Day of the NewYear: PARTY like you were a Dwarventi! Gift giving.
These are the last three days of the year.
Houses and businesses are often decorated with colorful little flags. There are no "holiday colors". The colors people use match their personality and sometimes their guild/ clan.
Day of the Gods- The Mid week day (34th in this case) is always the day of observance (commune with diety forces). If you had been skimping on your visits to temple, this is the day you really should go. Many people avoid the serious crowds at the temples, and worship together at their home cretchs. People occasionally dust off their holy week tabards and sashes, to "show off their piety".
Day of the People- Gather at home or visit friends/ acquaintances. It is the biggest social day of the year. Those whos jobs involve serving and sales are often working this day, so they do everything in the night. Gifts are often exchanged by family. These gifts are normally fairly small, but exceptions can be made. The new "in thing" is to wrap them in colorful paper. (Paper being a huge new trade in the Known World, given the impressor's (printing press) guild's existance).
The only real tradition of this day is the large family dinner, a small feast. Various family members gather and entertain each other after dinner.
Day of the New Year- New Years day is the day when people put on new (fancy) clothes and go be with their real friends. It is mostly a night time event, where adults have sophisticated little parties that emulate the parties of the SecondLand Nobles. In Antioch, nobody will leave before dawn beause the elementals are especially busy this night.
During the day, the giving of gifts to friends and employers/ employees is common.
Note: Dwarves work harder than any othe species. When they do party, they party with such an exuberance that they often do not remember the previous week. It is not just drink they take to excess, they over eat, flirt, sing loud songs, and generally act out. Thus the phrase, party like a Dwarventi.
The next day if often called "The day of the dead" as people are recovering from their new years exuberance. Go to Comment
In an accursed land, Long Night, the Winter Solstice, is the most terrible night of them all, for the dread powers of Darkness are at their peak this night, a full twenty hours of pitch-covered skies. It is custom for men and women to spend this night in hiding with their families, weapons and holy sigils at hand to fend off the Black One's might in the inky dark. Runes of the patriarch's blood are drawn upon the entry ways to the house, a desperate magic to fend off the evils, and woe unto the family who has no man's blood to give. Woe also unto the one who hides alone, easy prey for the curses of the Black One. So too, do sickness, hunger, and terror come, fell and eternal companions to the Black One, and, despite the efforts of the healers, many of the elderly and youngest are lost during the unseemingly long night.
The next morn, the morn of the First Dawn, the people emerge from their holes, and a grand pyre is built for the dead. That tended to, the people then celebrate, a celebration of survival. While gifts are not exchanged, and it is rare that there would be enough food for a feast, stories and song and dance and fire are a part of this day, a two fold rejoicing in those who survived, and a committing to memory of those who were lost. It is on First Dawn that children are given names, for it is custom that no child be named until they have survived the first Long Night. Many marriages, too, occur on First Dawn, a recognition of the strength of a bond tempered during the Long Night. Go to Comment
Random gift exchange: Everyone spends a certain amount of money on a gift, packages it, and then throws it in a big bin in the center of town. Each person then takes a gift. Nobody knows who it is for, or who it is from, the idea being to simulate a deity's largesse. (Maybe?) Go to Comment
In the Midlands of Aterrizar, Winter is a time of bitter cold and wolven howls in the valleys. The populace has struggled through the first half the cold season, and on the Winter Solstice, they celebrate Candlemass. The occassion is noted by feasts since food has been rationed (not stringently unless the harvest was very poor) It is a time of roast boar and kegs of beer. A celebration in the face of the dour and humorless winter, a celebration of the joy and hope of humanity in the face of adversity.
The celebration takes a more sombre note with the lighting of the candles, where each family lights a candle for a loved one not home, or a loved one lost. This can be recent, or from a great time ago. The lords and ladies of the realm perform recitations of their lineage, lighting candles for relatives long since dead. The more poor who cannot afford the larger candles often are only able to remember those who have passed away recently. The evening is concluded with solemn hymns, alcoholic beverages to ward away the bite of the cold, and admonitions to children to behave for the rest of the winter. Good children often recieve small gifts of candy, and small toys to entertain them for the rest of the cold months Go to Comment
Bathland is one of my three worlds, and it was made several years ago, which is why it has a silly name and why only parts of it are orginal. Here are the holidays.
January 1st-New Year's Day A time to sleep off the alcoholic excesses which mark most people's New Years's Eve.
January 6th-Christmas's End A time when all the decorations are taken down and burnt, binned or put away for next year. School/work starts the next day.
March 15th-The Day of Love, when people all over the world exchange gifts
June 1st-Killem Day. The only day in the year when hunting is allowed,even in places where hunting would normally be very strictly punished.By allowing this, the idea is that it lessens poaching during the rest of the year. No work or school takes place. Laws banning weapons are relaxed outside the cities on this day.
September 5th-Victory Day, when people celebrate with fireworks the end of the Bathlandic/Imperial war that took place a century ago.
November 1st-Halloween-where the dead really do rise. A time of danger in the capital city in paticular.But also a time for the dead to meet their relatives.Most dead are not evil but some are.
December 24th- Christmas Eve-Like ours except Father Christmas really does come and fill stockings of children and adults alike.Bathland has the death penalty for murder but no executions are preformed at Christmas time.
December 25th-Christmas Day-very much like ours.Officers serve the men in the army. Rich people serve their servants. Even prison officers give the prisoners Christmas dinner! A topsy-turvy time.Goverment stops for a day.Roast wrapper eaten in some areas.
December 26th-Boxing Day-Money given as gifts,and boxing matches occasionly take place.Very much like ours.
December 31st New Year's Eve. At midnight people stand on chairs and jump into the New Year.Prisoners bang their doors for a minite at midnight without punishment.Fireworks, singing and often debauary and drunkeness. Go to Comment
I cannot mention the name of my second world in case my first ex finds out and causes trouble, but the southernmost province of that world is inhabited by people made of stone. Their festival at the end of the year is named Sunreturn,and takes place on the day after the Winter Solstice. On Sunreturn Eve Father Stone is said to come from the South pole of the world in a coach drawn by two dragonettes. With his magic he stops time for a night, and then acts like our world's Santa Claus, stuffing pillow cases and stockings with gifts.
On Sunreturn Day people give gifts to each other. Neither executions nor assassinations happen on such a day.Prisoners are decently treated. Ordinary people can ask questions to the King and the high officers of state,and, within reason, their questions are answered.People eat roast wrapper, sweet puddings, and, if they can afford it, jewels. The more exspensive the jewel, the better it tastes.Ordinary stone people eat quartz at their Sunreturn meal.Those who are richer get to eat amythest and all kinds of semi-presious stones. The aristocrats and the Royal Family eat diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sahppires.
Five days later comes New Year's Eve. People clean their houses and take down the decorations and at midnight they jump off their chairs into the new year,sing, dance and kiss and make as much noise as possible to welcome in the New Year. The Old Year's calanders are burned and paper effegys stuffed with gunpowder of the Old Year are set alight on funeral pyres. Go to Comment
In Valermoore, everyone is given roast turkey and sweet pudding on the Winter Solstice, known as the Darkest Day. Even in Queen Yocasta's most dreary dungeons, prisoners are unchained and fed....even they have the right to celebrate on this day, perhaps the only right they possess.It is beleaved that to interfere with the celebrations, will plunge Valermoore into a new Ice Age.
Presents of all kinds are given,and debts are not collected upon this special day, nor are houses repossessed.Great fires are kept burning in the houses and, providing there is no danger caused by them, in the fields and streets. It is a day of remarkable free speech,where almost everything,with the exception of blatent incitement of crime or treason, is allowed,even in the Royal Court itself.For one day the fear level drops to almost nothing. Go to Comment
Nine centuries ago, Father Olaf, who lived in Vallermoore, was a priest of Mammon with a difference. He cared about his people, and not just those in his flock, but those who worshipped other gods and goddesses. He would help the poor and those in need without demanding anything in return, most of all at the Festival of Sunreturn, the shortest coldest day in Vallermoore.
The Bishop heard of this and was outraged, requesting the secular authorities to arrest him and throw him into prison on charges of misuse of church funds and heresy. But when the City Guards turned up to arrest him a beam of bright sunlight shone down upon him and when it vanished in a few seconds, he had gone as well.
The next year on Sunreturn Eve there were strange rumours of a flying sleigh pulled by boars, the sacred animal of Mammon. People of all religions woke with gifts in their stockings and socks, mostly children, but some adults as well, providing they had been good. Bad people only got lumps of coal. Since then the same thing has happened every year. There have been attempts to capture the sleigh but they have all failed,and resulted in the people involved having their spare socks stuffed with coal.
Nobody knows where Father Olaf lives. Some say he lives in Heaven, others that he lives with the Gods and Goddesses, others that he lives in a cave in the Sabertooth Mountians or at the inaccessable ice-gripped North or South Pole of the planet.
Noone has seen the sleigh except on Sunreturn Eve either. Go to Comment
A cult's theology is binding on the god involved: it is possible for that god to believe (and see, just like Winston Smith in 1984) that other gods are mythical, or jumped-up demons, or failing older spirits, even while those gods actually exist and thrive and act in the cosmos, even while working against him.