Monday, November 30, 2015

Haligdaegs and Holydays in Yewland

The calendrical holidays of Yewland are important to pass time, as well as to give the common folk a break from their burdens. Many are hosted by the temple, but some are accompanied by great benefices from the lords.

Ahtolis
1st Ahtolis, the New Year; Feast of Light
Mummer shows and feasts are presented on this day. Expensive candles are burned throughout this feast as well.

12th Ahtolis, Twelfth Night
Old Twelfth Night is a supposedly pagan festival (just like the Harvest Feast) that celebrates the coming of the spring, where the Harvest Feast is the ending of the summer period. Twelfth Night is celebrated with ypocras, the wearing of flowers, and crowning a King and Queen of Spring.

Tholem
2nd Prophetsday of Tholem, St. Autun’s Day
Saint Autun was a New Dominion saint in the region of Vaerasa. He rent his cloak for travelers, and thus is also depicted as wearing only half a cloak at all times. The Saint Autun’s day festival is accompanied by readings of his holy life and the distribution of wheatcakes.

Alcidius
1st Alcidius, Rite of Rowan
Celebrating Saint Orawn, the martyr-missionary who was sent to the Mascoliri in the time of the New Dominion, the Rite of Rowan is a solemn affair where plays re-enact his passion and much of the day is devoted to meditation and study.

17th Alcidius, St. Bergred’s Day
Bergred was the Queen of Harthold in the 5th century, and it was she who converted her husband to the Faith. For this indignity, her husband’s brothers grilled her in an iron frame. Bergred is remembered through religious services, colorful parades, and the wearing of red over their hearts.

Diem
3rd Diem, Hocktide
This is the date for paying taxes, tolls, and rents, and collecting debts. It has no associated feast.

10th Diem, All Fool’s Day
Also called the Feast of Misrule. This day is celebrated by lords serving the common folk and other inversions. Festivals and dancers are common, and traveling actors and chanteurs make much coin on this day.

30th Diem, Rogation Day
Rogation is a Yewland-wide festival when work is not done; Rogation Day itself is the hardest work of the summer, followed by 3 days of rest. It is also a time of forgiveness, and debts that are older than 7 years are meant to be forgiven on this day. Alms are distributed to the poor.

Iskus
3rd Iskus, Oathkeeping
This summer holiday celebrates the Swearing of the Oaths at Swornstone by the other kings of the island, uniting Yewland into one kingdom. It is most often celebrated by the taking of both solemn and frivolous oaths between folk and the renewal of marriage vows by swearing upon a tree or stone.

20th Iskus, Ascent
This day celebrates the death of Prophet Calomanis and his ascent into the World to Come. It is a somber celebration, often done in temple tombyards with the aid of lanterns and candles.

Eskam
2nd Prophetsday of Eskam, Midsummer Eve
Houses are decorated with greenery on this day, and great bonfires are erected in each village in the kingdom. There is much dancing and merrymaking, and great drinking of ale. There is no work on the two days leading up to Midsummer Eve, nor on the day proceeding it.

30th Eskam, Feast of the Martyrs
This feast celebrates the death of hundreds of nameless Faithful under the Dominion, as well as household names like Saint Calcifus and Saint Porphyros. There are feasts on this day, as well as distribution of alms. Red is the appropriate color for this celebration.

Ahmura
9th Ahmura, St. Garibart’s Day
Garibart was the first Confessional missionary dispatched by Sacred Autarch Horas, and he came to preach in Harthold, where he converted St. Bergred to the Faith. St. Garibart escaped the trap set by King Lancred’s brothers, and fled south to continue his preaching until the day he died. His tomb is located in the town of Holyfell, some miles west of Oldcastel. On this day there are many pilgrimages to Holyfell to see his remains.

Urem
1st Urem, Harvest Feast
Though not technically timed to any of the harvests, the Harvest Feast occurs on the first of Urem to celebrate the end of the working season. During this festival there are great bonfires, the burning of John Corn coffins, and much drinking.

Amaan
First Prophetsday of Amaan, Feast of the Prophet
The Feast of the Prophet is a church feast during which time the temple sets out food for all. There is a great outdoor mass, veneration of the Prophet Calomanis, a prophecy-play and a number of morality plays performed. No work is done for the two days following the feast.

17th Amaan, Hallowstide
This is a holiday of spiritual unrest. Church bells are rung, fires lit to guide the dead on their way home, and secret marks made upon the doorways of houses to keep the unrestful spirits from entering. Food offerings are left on steps or in the streets, and going abroad after dark is considered foolish indeed.

Maem
3rd Maem, St. Farrow’s Day
This is a day for prayers to be said for those souls trapped in the World of Forms and unable to progress to the World to Come. This day is said to be the most efficacious for exhortations to destroy the daimoni that haunt the island.

Ahtaran
30th Ahtaran, The Scribe’s Feast
This day celebrates the written word, and the celebrations include the reading of local holy texts by the prelate in the villages and towns. Pies are often baked with writing curling around them, usually in the form of passages from the Aerau, which must themselves be copied from scraps of parchment provided by the prelacy.

Tarem
1st-7th Tarem, The Long Feast

This winter feast is meant to liven the darkest part of the year. It is celebrated in the halls of the nobility where all and sundry are invited to feast, drink, and sleep. Holly, evergreen, and other signs of life and rebirth are hung from the rafters, strewn about the doors, mixed with the rushes, etc. Mint-scented candles and meat pasties are often present.

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