Seasons and Holy DaysThe Dalethians really like holy days and such. The celebrate a lot. The list below only contains the holy days that are common all over Daleth. Regions, countries and cities do have additional holy days, celebrations and feasts.
The year starts on Newyearsday. It is not a very old day for celebrations. In ancient times, the coming of the year was celebrated at the Birth of Phyarx. But then, the Naglani always celebrated the coming of a new circle of seasons in the early summer. It was the Naglani religion that made the difference between the starting of a new year and a new circle of seasons. It was adopted by the Poorters, but abandoned not much later. Newyearsday stayed as the beginning of the year, the Birth of Phyarx became another kind of holy day.
The Newyearsday is celebrated on the last three days of the month Newyear. On these days, many old things are burnt at large heaps in the town squares. Shops and offices are closed to calculate the profits of the last year. Children get to know if (and where) they have to go to school in the coming year, or are finished with it.
The Presummer is a season in which the summer takes a start, but is not yet fully available. It can be cold and wet, and crops can be destroyed by the weather conditions. The first (small) harvests are taken in. The search for (rare) eggs is going on, and the first egg of the red hruk will be presented to the Emperor. It is usually served hard boiled and thin sliced, embedded in early berries, with a sauce of herbs and wey.
Of course, the Naglani do not celebrate the Presummer in this way. They go out into the fields to protect the nests of all kinds of birds. They do celebrate the first (natural) Breaking of the Egg.
Immediately following the first day of Presummer, Foorday is held. It is the first day for the foors to tour the lands. New acts, new goods, new recipes and new plays are to be found on the foors. Not every settlement has a foor on Foorday, but the towns that have one, are visited by many guests from foorless settlements.
Some towns celebrated Foorday on the day that the foor arrives in the town. There is a kind of gentle battle between the towns to get the foors first into their city walls.
The Foorseason lasts till Twilightday, when it gets too cold and muddy to travel.
Hot and dry is Phyarxday, the day on which many paces can be walked in the light of Fon. Originally, this was the day on which the god Phyarx was praised (hence the name). Later, as Phyarx was more and more associated with his twin sister Nox, and evil things as death (by murder), passion and sex, the day became less religious. It is still celebrated, but in another form. Now, people do not have to work on Phyarxdays - they go out into the countryside and have a picnic. Some still spill some of the food and the drinks in the camp fire as a sacrifice to the god. The day usually ends with a thunderstorm.
Phyarxday only lasts one day. It can be any day in the Presummer season, and priests try to predict the day by forecasting thunderstorms.
The last days of the Presummer are Harvestdays. These are usually celebrated just before the actual harvesting takes places. In the temples, the gods are asked to send good weather for harvesting. Scythes and sickles are sharpened, the sheds are cleaned, mice and rats are killed. On the last of the three Harvestdays, the people go to bed early. They have a lot of work to do in the coming season.
The Aftersummer, hot and dry, is the season in which the crops are harvested, berries and nuts are gathered, and the children are free from school to help their parents to get ready for the coming winter.
There used to be a lot of Gräinsdays, during spring, summer and autumn, sometimes even in winter. In certain regions, more than one Gräinsday is still celebrated. This emphasises the importance of the goddess of fertility, the most popular god in Daleth.
Gräinsday are the last three days of the real summer. The work on the fields is done, and the earth may rest until it will be spring again. Thus, Gräins can take a rest. A long time ago, this was the Day of the death of Gräins, and in spring the rebirth of Gräins was celebrated.
The Afteryear is a season that is rather rough. The weather is largely unpredictable, the days are short, the roads are bad, and still there is work to do: hunting, slaughtering, making wine, gathering mushrooms, berries, nuts and wood from the forests, conserving the meat and other food. Fences have to be made to get the wild animals (as wolves) from the settlements.
Houses are repaired where necessary, to get ready for the really cold season. In the mountains, the first snow makes the high roads impassable.
On the coast, the fishermen sail for the last time that year, for the sea will be too rough to sail at the end of Afteryear. The fishes that are caught are smoked or salted, to have enough for the coming winter.
Officially, the Afteryear ends on Twilightday. Formerly known as The Death of Molik memorial day, Twilightday has never had much popularity. There are no famous rites for this day. Many people take the three days off, to visit their family. They take presents along, and this has become a kind of habit: people give one another presents on Twilightday, if desired: anonymous.
The Emperors Games usually take place in the Twilightdays.
There is not much difference between Afteryear and Oldyear. Most people stay at home, but not in the cities. In Oldyear, the salons are very much visited. So are the Panoramas. It is a season of waiting: waiting for the next year to come, waiting for an accident to happen (because the weather is now really bad). It is a season of flooding, avalanches, and serious illnesses.
(Death of Molik)
The Death of Molik is a highly unofficial holy day that dates a long time back. Molik is not considered a god any more, and his death can not be celebrated in the temples. However, in the rural settlements of the Weslanan, this day is still a holy day, because there has never been a good replacement for the three holy days at the end of the Afteryear season.
Because it is not an official holy day, the celebrations may vary from community to community:
The true winter starts with Aasersday, the last three days of Oldyear. It is a day of pure praying for divine help in the coming winterseason.
In the coast regions, the ships are taken onto the land, where they will be safe for the storms and the ice in the sea. The ships, out of the water, will be repaired where necessary, and the ships that cannot be repaired are taken apart and the parts of it are used for the mending of the other ships. The bow (usually beautifully decorated), however, is buried in the sands of the shore. The ships that have not returned into the harbour on Aasersday are proclaimed missing. If it has not returned the next year, the ship and everyone on it are proclaimed dead.
Snow covers the fields, wolves gather around the settlements. Bears come down from the mountains and walk into the streets of the villages. Many settlements are isolated. Letters do not arrive, people do not travel if they dont have to. Snowstorms blow over the emptied fields.
Day of the dead
At the end of Prewinter, the Screaming Man is memorised. The man, who stood up against the gods (see Myths), is revived in every man or woman who climbs a tower, hill or mountain and screams away fear and hate at the gods. The day is called Day of the Dead, because many wail about the death of their loved ones.
The screaming starts at sunrise. It is not allowed to take any instruments or to increase the volume of the natural voice. The screaming lasts till the screamers can do no more screaming. They go down in silence, and go to a temple to pray, also in silence. The priests provide a meal, and after that the screamers return home to sleep.
As all other days, the holy day lasts for three days. Some screamers manage to keep screaming their grieve for the full three days. Some freeze to death trying so.
Originally, the Afterwinter is a season without the aid of the gods. It is a cold season, and the people stay at home if they can help it. Sometimes, the temples organise indoor markets for the sale of homemade art. Part of the profit is used for the preparations for Templeday. It is the season of the ice and on the Kristalmeer the Eisspaurds is held.
SpringBirth of Phyarx
Originally celebrated as the Holy Day of the Goddess Nox (presumed), the feast changed into the Death of Nox day, then finally changed (around the second opening of the Portal) into the celebration of the Birth of Phyarx, or, the return of the light. It is more a family-day than a religious day, for the Elemental Religion does not celebrate the birth of individual gods. And, of course, the day for the god Phyarx is celebrated in summer.
The season of hardship and expectations. The last food supplies are eaten, and nobody will know what the next harvests will bring. The poor (and those who have eaten too much in the last menoths) will get out of their houses if they have nothing left to eat. They go begging and try to get a job to earn some money and buy some food. Some go out into the woods, to try to find something to eat, or hunt animals. Many die doing so.
Some go stealing and robbing. It is a very dangerous season when the last harvest did not provide enough food to last the year.
Templeday is the most important day for all priests of the elemental religion, a day of pure faith and devotion, a day of cleaning the inner and outer sides. It is also the day of a renewed bond between believers, priests and gods.
On the first Templeday, the temples are emptied, cleaned and repaired where necessary. All artifacts in the temple are cleaned too, and burned if they are broken. The temple gardens are also prepared for the coming year. On the second Templeday, the clean temples are refurnished. After the work, the priests wash themselves and stay in the temple for the rest of the day, until dawn. When the sun rises, they leave the temple and gather the believers to celebrate the renewal of the temple. Everyone entering the renewed temple has to be washed and has to have new clothes. They have to speak out their devotion to the god(s) of the temple in public.
On this third day, enemies have to shake hands and forget the past. Weddings take also place on this day, or they are renewed (married people can get divorced on this day if the bond is not renewed).
The priests will give an overview of the past year and tell who died, who was born, and what other important things have happened. After Templeday, the past stays the past - it has been cleaned away and life can start again.
Many households clean their houses and homesteads on Templeday, as if their home were a temple.
The last three days of the Preyear, just before Newyear, are dedicated to Vindel. This is rather strange, because Vindel is the god of autumn. It has probably something to do with the shifting of the season/menoth names in the Naglani tradition, whose menoths do not fit in a year. The rites for this day are strange and shaded in the shifting of seasons.
Newyear, the season that starts when the birds return from the Kingdom of Summer, is all about the renewal of the nature: leaves come to trees, flowers grow from the earth. The fields are made ready to grow the crops. Actually, Newyear should start right after Templeday, but Vindelsday has gotten in the way.
The day on which the union between the Kingdom of Salamandran and the Kingdom of Daleth took place is remembered as Unionday. Since the war between the two lands started, it has been a controversial day. Some do celebrate the union, some memorise it in pity, others are hopeful for a future in which the United Empire will rise again.
The day is very political, and many people do not celebrate. It is truly a day for the elite and the politicians - who are most of the time the same. On Unionday, the Emperor will declare what he is up to in the coming year. He will tell how the taxes will be rearranged and/or raised, what goals he will aim at that year, and announces some other political important things.
The Emperor has taken the saying for all will be one again (most civilians say for it will fall apart again in this case) from the elemental religion to his own use, the reunion of the Empires of Daleth.
Other important daysBirthday of the Emperor
With every new Emperor, these days change date. On the Birthday of the Emperor, the elite of Daleth has to go to visit the Imperial Palace and celebrate. Everybody should bring presents for the Emperor. Who does not come or who brought no present (or a present of the wrong kind) is considered an enemy. Parades and cultural events highlight the day.
On Coronation Day, remembered every year, the people celebrate the coronation of the (new) Emperor. They get free food and drinks from the servants of the Emperor. This is also the day on which the elite swears obedience to the Emperor.
Vaya-Marei, the Day of Lies
The festivities of Vaya-Marei-Day are prohibited in almost all Daleth. This day, orginally meant to celebrate the goddess of lies Vaya-Marei, twin to Vindel, became more and more a curse to the people. The tradition has it that anyone was allowed to tell a lie on Vaya-Marei-Day without being punished for it. From one lie on this day it went to more lies, and from funny lies it went to big evil lies. In 1745 the Emperor raided one of the Ildritzer Vaya-Marei-Parties and brought the tradition to an end. (The lie which caused this had to do with the private life of the Emperor, and the denying of a political party, dangerous to the monarchy).
Nevertheless, in smaller communities Vaya-Marei-Day is still celebrated in secret or among children. The lies they tell have usually a funny twist in them, so after the lie everyone can laugh about it. In some villages the peasants will dress up with masks and all and pretent never to have seen each other before.
The Naglani new year is always in another season. They do celebrate this day (only one day) almost the same as the others celebrate Templeday and the Birth of Phyarx, but without the religious elements, of course.
Breaking of the Egg
The first life that creeps out of an egg after the snow is gone, is the beginning of a new Bisunjane according to the Naglani. The egg can be of Naglani origin or from other birds. Until the eggs breaks, the Naglani watch carefully in each nest if there are eggs, and how they are doing.
It is a day of the strange, the frightening and the unusual for the Naglani, because the Breaking of the Egg is also the breaking of the perfect circle, and thus the breaking of Alls. Only if the new life of that year starts laying eggs herself, the rite of the circle and Alls can continue.
Holy days of the Sudzi
The Sudzi celebrate their religious festivities only in the family-way apart from Offspring Day.
They do celebrate the traditional Hinne in Presummer. This is the day the cattle leaves the farms and is brought as a single group into the open fields of Thirun (now Salamandran). It is also the day the young animals leave the farm for the first time. In the days before the actual Hinne, contracts with shepherds are signed and adolescents who have turned 15 are announced to be adult, so they can go with the cattle as well.
In the Aftersummer, Trug is celebrated in big parties. This is the day the cattle returns to the villages. The shepherds are paid and there are foors where they can spend their well earned money. Those who have earned enough to get married, buy household goods and the traditional dress of the single Sudzi who is looking for a partner.