Festivals, Holy Days, and Celebrations
The long nights of Rabna are interrupted with the festival of Erabnag’s evening celebrations. Theatres put on grand performances, fortune tellers offer cryptic hints free of charge, and storytellers bend the ear of anyone willing to listen. Plays and stories of this night are almost always more fantastical and wild than any other year, and run from the impromptu and penniless to prepared and showy. It is an evening of dreams and wonder, mundane acts are saved for another day.
As the frost thaws and the green returns to the land, Rettam’s embrace is felt and the people rejoice. To secure a bountiful harvest for the year, Rettam is welcomed back with offerings of grain and seed, as well as generosity of the same to neighbors. Communities come together to prepare the land and share the seeds. Once the sun sets the work is paused and the night is spent enjoying warm drinks, both alcoholic and not.
Vemir’s observance at the height of Vemist is truly a spectacle in the capital. Groups prepare weeks, sometimes months in advance to participate. A singularly extravagant and wondrous parade winds its way through town from the harbor viewing landing all the way to the city center. A presentation’s place in the parade is a matter of prestige, with the front runner each year being a high honor. There is a small fee to enter, but rarely is it enough of a barrier to prevent those with a worthwhile entry from securing a spot. An entry can be anything from a wheeled float pulled along, to performers dancing in a troup, to musicians, to magicians performing tricks. Settlers will come from miles around to witness the parade. In outlying communities, children who cannot attend are often seen performing their own impromptu parade dances through town.
With the long days and warm nights, Pamaah’s love is in the air on her holy day. Rarely will a young person be found working this day, when it is expected you spend it on a passionate day in the company of someone special, or find the courage you’ve lacked all year to do so. But Pamaah is a being of family as well, and it is expected to spend the evening with your family at home in a humble meal. Though two families coming together and sharing this meal often signals the beginning of a union.
In honor of Murk’s strength and endurance, each year the finest athletes gather together to compete in games of physical prowess. Any race is welcome to attend, and winners have been evenly spaced through the years. Prizes are awarded to the best in each category, but any magical assistance whatsoever is strictly forbidden.
In the middle of the month of Elory, Eloine’s festival is a much larger event on coastal cities than it is farther inland. Fishermen rise early in the morning to prepare their boat and equipment for a full day on the water. Whoever can catch the largest or most impressive fish that day is said to be blessed with fortune on the waves until the next festival in a years time. The bountiful fish are cooked in a communal fest. In the capital, on occasion, larger vessels have worked together to take a shot at bringing in something larger than a fish for the day. Sometimes they return with a whale, sometimes they return with something more dangerous. In a few dark instances, not all the ships return. Smaller inland communities will either fish in available lakes and streams, or set up temporary pools with floating toys for children to catch and win prizes.
More so than any other, Sheror’s jubilee is an event for the young and adventurous. Children play games of hide and seek with no regard for safety and bragging rights to those that go the longest without being found. Teenagers climb trees they wouldn’t normally, sail farther away than they would have otherwise dared, and delve deeper into caves than is really wise. Needless to say the clergy, medics, apothecaries, and surgeons see the onset of the holiday with somewhat less mirth.
When the nights are longest and the days the coldest, Iksa’s month is truly arrived. He festival is much like her, something benevolent appearing as terrible. Children adorn themselves with grotesque costumes to stay up well past curfew and roam the streets playing at devilry, and houses are decorated with tokens to pay homage to loved ones no longer among the living.
Solstice of the Sun
Believers of the Ulimoran cycle hold sacred the two solstices, the first of which falls on the longest day of the year in the first week of Paman. A sacred day of rest, the people spend their time outdoors, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Banners, ribbons and streamers are hung all over celebrants houses to weave in the wind.
Solstice of the Moon
The second sacred day of the Ulimoran faith is the Solstice of the Moon, which is the longest night of the year in the first week of Iksant. The bonfires that drive back the night are higher and brighter on this night than any other night of the year. Often alchemists will donate their failed mixtures or dyes to add exotic coloration to the flames that rise into the night sky. Spotting a shooting star on this night is considered a sign of exceptionally good luck.
The biggest celebration in the Horizon Alliance is without a doubt Landing Day, the annual commemoration of the Exodus Fleet’s arrival to Dawnhaven. It falls on the fourth day of Iksant, and every citizen of the Alliance celebrates regardless of personal religious affiliations. Stories are told of the legendary passage, and the heroes that lead the way.
Week of the Three as One
The Mahi-Tahi most revere this week that reaffirms the unity of the three races as stewards of the world, children of MoeMare, guardians against chaos, and neighbors. Indulgent feasts are prepared every night, and the drumbeat of dancing feet sounds long into the night.
The exact date of this festival varies slightly each year. It is heralded when a truly ancient tree planted at the base of the holy Mesa first blooms. It is rumored that the seed from which the tree sprouted was one of the first seeds produced by the massive tree Tane Mahuta. This holiday signals the beginning of the season of verdant, green, growing life recovering the world, when the flame deep inside MoeMare is flaring to life and warming the earth.
Unlike PaWai-Mato, this holiday is a fixed point on the Mahi Tahi calendar. When the brightest star in the sky is aligned directly above the ziggurat in the center of Kotahitanga. This day is a remembrance for chieftains of the past whose spirits have been rejoined with MoeMare. Stories and legends are told by the elders so that one day those now young will pass them on themselves.
On the longest day of the year, Mahi-Tahi citizens that have a daunting task, persistent problem, lingering curse, or tough decision rise early and greet the Longest Dawn in meditation at one of many shrines across the land. The most sacred of these is a distant pilgrimage from Kotahitanga on a eastern facing peninsula. The monument frames the sun just above the horizon and devotees can bask in the first rays of light.