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Old 02-02-2015, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default (0.03.1) Holidays of the Sutherland Calendar

THE HARVEST FEASTS


Harvest Festival (Erinalia), dedicated to Erianthe. The 20th of Ninth Month - some regional and local variation.
The autumn equinox corresponds with the festival of Erinalia, a harvest celebration dedicated to the goddess Erianthe. It is a time of sacrifices, and the first crops of the field are often offered to the flames along with livestock, in thanks for a good harvest (or in fear for a repeated poor one). Some of the largest and most elaborate feasting happens during Erinalia, among peasants and nobility both, and while some families do have their own private celebrations, it is largely a communal holiday to share the wealth of the table before the impending winter and the end of many growing seasons.

Dances are popular, as are competitions between lords and villages who produce wine to make the best of the year. The wine competition is an unofficial aspect of the holiday, but typically whomever gets their wines to the king's table gets bragging rights for the next year. It's also highly regionalized, and towns and cities in Westridge or Southshores might compete for the attention of the Harrowmonts of Solvitreos instead of the king in Kingsreach.

Erinalia is more fervently celebrated in Westridge, at least from a religious aspect. The seasonal cycle is more dramatic in the mountains than anywhere else in Edolon, and as a result, sacrifices to Erianthe take on a much deeper meaning in a region where shortages and winter starvation are very real threats to the population. There, Erinalia can last a full week depending on the harvest bounty, and all of the temples light bonfires throughout the entire holiday. Many whisper that the end of Ninth Month seems to be when people sometimes go missing in the mountains, but that's usually shushed as ridiculous rumor and strange coincidence.



Corvidum. The full moon of Tenth Month (the second full moon, if there are two in one month)
The Corvidum is a "second set" of harvest festivals, far more celebrated in the lowlands - especially Southshores - than in the mountains of Westridge. It is a moveable feast, aligned to the full moon of Tenth Month (or the second full moon, if two happen to be in one month) and dedicated to the god of death, Corvus, and the rise of his supremacy over the agricultural year as Erianthe refuses to allow crops to grow due to the loss of her daughter, Valdis, in the Underworld. The full moon of Tenth Month is said to be when Validis ate the pomegranate seeds that bound her to serve part of the year at Corvus' side, and so in many ways the holiday is as much hers as it is her husband's.

Since the holiday is so strongly aligned with the Underworld, it is a time of respect and remembrance for the dead. Cemeteries, tombs, and burial grounds of all sort are cleaned this time of year, with families making offerings at the graves of their ancestors and loved ones for their comfort and rest in Corvus' realm. Often, cemeteries become scenes of great color, as the last flowers of the year are cut to decorate them and the night of Corvidum sees many people bring candles and lanterns to gravesides - along with many bottles of wine, which can lead to some drunken festivities in the burial grounds themselves.

Rather than be a dark and solemn holiday, Corvidum is typically quite cheerful, and it is a favorite of performers, who take the opportunity to dedicate plays and songs to the deceased. Painters and artists also use Corvidum to display their works of great, departed figures from their patrons' families, and often elaborately decorated tombs formally unveiled during Tenth Month just in time for the celebrations. Bonfires are often lit in the center of towns, where people gather after their visits to the graves, and dances are popular. Local feasts often include extended toasts to those who have died in the past year, along with sharing memories of the dead; funny stories about the departed are favorites, but tears are common as well and there is never any shame assigned to anyone who weeps at the Corvidium feast.

The holiday takes on special meaning to those cities who have particularly strong ties to the Corvus and Valdis cults, and the holiday may extend the entire week of the full moon waxing, with elaborate processions and many offerings given at temples. Tal Dragore is noted for celebrating Corvidum in its own unique ways, with many funerals and weddings being postponed until the holiday, and a level of wild frenzy tolerated in the revels that is not permitted at any other time during the year.
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:54 PM   #2
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Default The Holy Days (Midwinter Festival) , 17th - 23rd of Twelfth Month

THE MIDWINTER FEASTS

The Holy Days are a week long period of feasts, celebrations, and rituals surrounding the Winter Solstice. While they are variously dedicated to multiple gods, they are often seen as a celebration of the entire pantheon of the Faith- those who give no dedications or sacrifices at any other time of year will do so during the period of the Holy Days, though their choice of deity will vary. Commoners and nobles celebrate the Holy Days quite similar to each other, and even in the smallest village, tradition will run close to what is celebrated in noble courts throughout Edolon with the major difference being the size of the feasts and revels.

12.17: Day of Dedication
12.18: Amarata / The Great Hunt
12.19: Day of Gifts
12.20: Day of Misrule
12.21: The Long Night
12.22: Aramata / Day of the Sun
12.23: Edelinalia / Day of Grace



Day of Dedication
12.17
The first of the Holy Days is coincidentally the most religious. It is the day where the major dedications and sacrifices are offered, and temples are cleaned from top to bottom to welcome all those who visit. It is seen as an especially lucky day, when the gods look at men and women with the most favor. As a result, it is a popular day for treaties, contracts, betrothal arrangements, and agreements to be signed, as lying on the Day of Dedication is regarded as a bad omen that will bring ill luck for the following year. Those who formally and publicly forgive grudges and quarrels on this day are said to receive the blessing and favor of the gods.


Amarata - The Great Hunt
12.18
A day beloved by the goddess Amaris, it is also a day beloved by all those who hunt game for a living or for sport. Lords and nobles participate in hunts of various sorts depending on the region (it may be bird hunting in one place, deer or boar in another, or fishing - there's a great deal of variation), and large afternoon feasts are served outdoors in the most wooded areas available. Of the game killed on Amarata, at least part of it should be given in offering to the goddess, but the rest is used for the feasts in the upcoming days, as it is seen as poor form to not eat or sacrifice what is killed during the Great Hunt.


Day of Gifts
12.19
At least in part dedicated to the goddess Milena, the Day of Gifts is seen as an important day to express love - be it familial or romantic. Gifts are exchanged between family members and lovers in private or semi-private settings, and often the things exchanged are intended to have thought and consideration put behind them, even if the gifts themselves are small and humble. Those without loved ones or relationships intimate enough to warrant a gift exchange often go to one of Milena's temples to make an offering of some kind. Feasts thrown on the Day of Gifts are warm, happy affairs, with an abundance of wine and sweet foods served, and seating arrangements are often ignored in lieu of people sitting and eating with those they love the most (which can, at times, lead to some jealousy and disagreements).


Day of Misrule
12.20
The Day of Misrule is dedicated to Chaos, a none-too-subtle reminder that all things were derived from it and that no person is strong enough to escape wherever it might strike. It is a day of comedy and a playful turning over of the natural orders - a servant is always chosen to serve as the Lord of Misrule for the day, and they will use their power to give harmless but hilarious commands that cannot be disobeyed without disapproval from everyone else. Absurdity is part of the fun, and costumes, masks, and dressing as the opposite sex are often looked forward to by those participating in the revels. It is also a very popular day for gambling, and fortunes can be made or lost on the Day of Misrule, as no one is seen to have Fortune's favor more than someone else on this day.


The Long Night / Midwinter
12.21
Midwinter is the longest night of the year, and though the season continues on for several more months, the solstice is seen as the halfway point of winter and thus an important day of celebration for those awaiting the coming of spring. Less vaguely, it is night of pure revelry. The largest and most elaborate of Holy Days feasts and dances are held during Midwinter, and the parties will go on literally until dawn, when the first rays of the sun are cheered and the wheel of the year begins to turn back to the growing months. Those who do not participate in the dancing and feasting are invited to spend the nights in vigil at various temples (especially those of Erianthe, Valdis, or Aramis), offering gratitude and prayers for the previous year. Midwinter is also a day beloved by the cults of Bromios, who are out in full force during the Long Night.


Aramata / Day of the Sun
12.22
Following the Long Night comes the Day of the Sun, dedicated to the god Aramis. As it is seen as a day especially important to him, it is also especially important to those who practice professions associated with the sun god: performers of all sorts and artisans of all types take an especial interest in Aramata, and there are great competitions in the noble courts among the throng of singers, mummers, acrobats, and painters who flood the halls to search for new patronage or favor. Perhaps thanks to the previous day's late-night celebrations, it is widely regarded as a day of leisure and entertainment, and even in small villages, traveling performers will offer at least a few hours of music or mummery for even the poorest peasant.


Edelinalia / Day of Grace

12.23
The conclusion of the Holy Days is dedicated to Edelina, and in contrast to the previous week of wild celebrations, is considered to be an important day of temperance, remembrance, wisdom, and chivalry. This is the second day of the exchange of gifts, but rather than be given to family and loved ones, gifts exchanged on the Day of Grace are as much gestures of charity and respect as they are love and adoration. Servants are given their Holy Days gifts this day, which are typically small trinkets of some sort, but in very wealthy or generous households, the rewards might be much greater. Those belonging to retinues are given larger gifts corresponding with their position and favor from those they serve, and liege-lords often open their castles and holdfasts to their vassals for feasts. Boons are sometimes granted depending on the quality of service given by the vassal in the previous year. Pardons may be issued for crimes committed.

The Day of Grace is also a day for tournaments, though quite often these are small, local events and rarely attract people from very far away. In small towns and villages, tournaments may consist of little more than foot or horse races, wrestling, or archery. In the cities there may be a joust and a melee, but the prizes and pool of competitors are small and more often the honor of winning is seen to be the most important aspect of the competition.
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