Original Fictional Fantasy Holidays
January 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm #124228
This is just a worldbuilding element (and it’s here because I’m curious about holidays in a specifically fantasy world).
What is a fictional holiday in your world? What’s the origin of the holiday? Who celebrates it? Is there a religion or culture involved? What rituals/festivities are involved? How often does it come around? How has it changed over time? Do any of your characters observe the holiday? Do any oppose it? If so, why do they? Has the observation of the holiday ever been banned from anywhere? If so, why was it banned?
- This topic was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Skylarynn.
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleJanuary 23, 2021 at 4:14 pm #124231R.M. Archer@r-m-archer
Ooh, I have a few of these! Probably my favorite is Dujelamin, which is sort of like… the Olympics + giant party. XD (The link is to a World Anvil article all about it.)
In a different part of the same world, there’s a celebration centered around music:
While most Virilen celebrations involve music–particularly in the lower villages–there is one holiday that was set in place specifically to celebrate music itself, and the Virilen god who supposedly gave it to man. Amak is one of three children of the mother goddess, Chiean, and the creator of music, according to myth. In the beginning, creation was soundless aside from speech and the Virilens felt an inexplicable melancholy, as if something was missing. The gods, meanwhile, could hear the music of the stars.
Amak felt a deep compassion for mankind and wished for them to have something to calm them as music calmed him, so he introduced sounds into the world–birdsong, waves crashing, the sound of wind–and music was brought to Virilia.
Now, on the three days surrounding seventh full moon each year, Virilens celebrate the introduction of music to the world. The celebrations involve musical competitions, dancing, feasting, community, and simple appreciation of the natural music of the world. Often, Virilens experiment with the sounds of unconventional items and make them into instruments for the celebration; things like the whoosh of spinning parasols, the ring of a pen on lanterns, or things we’d be familiar with like blowing across water bottles.
Overall, it’s primarily an opportunity to have extra fun making and enjoying music.
Because it has origins in Virilen religious beliefs, the Sacharan character there who worships that world’s true god would refrain from celebrating. Which I imagine would pain her quite a bit, actually, since she loves music and believes it’s one of the many gifts the real god gave to the earth. She might subvert it somehow and celebrate in her own way, giving the honor to her god rather than to Amak.
Most of the cultures in this world have half-developed new year celebrations, too, but… half-developed. XD
Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.January 23, 2021 at 6:20 pm #124239
Both of those sound really interesting. I still have to flesh out several holidays in my hi-fi world seeing as there are at least seven major countries in the story with even more ethnic groups within. Towards the beginning of the story there is actually a yuletide celebration of some kind that combines traditions from the various people who live at the castle; there is traditional dance performed by the Eya (gypsies), and traditional singing performed by some of the Keltaic girls. Several traditions, such as gift-giving and surprise presents, come from Arian or Nors culture (which the majority of the castle occupants are descended from). There are also many games and chants that are a mix of all cultures, and some which are more recently developed. One particular game describes a mix of cultural beliefs and heavily features the antagonists of the story; the Mares. It is based on The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow, though rather than the standard narration done by the narrator, I put mine into verse:
Night is falling, Townsfolk sleeping
Moon is rising, Mares are creeping
Townsfolk, soundly sleep this night!
Keep your eyes shut nice and tight!
Up now wakes the feathered fiend
Eros rises yet unseen
Let your golden arrows fly!
Pair the Lovers, ere they die!
Your work is done, now go to bed
Fold your wings and rest your head
Lovers, wake this wondrous night!
Find your mate by dark moonlight
Stare into your partner’s eyes
When passes one, the other dies
Now lie you down in peaceful sleep
And dream of love long and deep
Three eyes open, black as coal
The Seer wakes to view a soul
The crystal ball is going black
Now to sleep she’s going back
Hear the deadly midnight howl
The Mares are out upon the prowl
Little Girl, shade your eyes
Or tonight it’s you who dies
Their victim slain, the Mares now rest
And the Little Girl their guest
The witching hour is now come
Two potions brewed beneath the sun
Will she save a life tonight?
Or will she take one out of spite?
The witching hour is now past
The Witch has gone to bed at last
Sun is rising, Townsfolk waking
Councils and decision making
That game isn’t necessarily strictly a yuletide game, but it is played by several of the castle’s children/teenagers/young adults during the yuletide festival in the book. Generally it’s played at almost every major gathering or festival because there isn’t much opportunity to do so outside of that. The narrator is usually someone who sings well, so often either Eya or Keltaic. The players stand in a circle clapping their hands and the narrator stands in the center to direct them. The narrator assigns roles to the players at the beginning and the narration is sung to the beat of the clapping.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Skylarynn.
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleJanuary 23, 2021 at 6:29 pm #124242R.M. Archer@r-m-archer
@skylarynn Oooh, that’s really interesting! Very cool poem. 🙂
Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.January 23, 2021 at 6:47 pm #124244
Thanks. I’m very interested in anthropology so I try to throw in as many real-life elements as I can in the guise of ‘traditions’. Most are based on things I happen to like or be particularly interested in. For example, some of the popular holiday games my characters play are mancala and coillcliste (fidchell).
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleFebruary 21, 2021 at 9:30 pm #125088
I’ve seen a fair bit of your characters in the character castle, but I haven’t really seen anything of your worlds. Do you have any holidays?
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleFebruary 22, 2021 at 2:08 pm #125095
Ooh, interesting question!! Hrm. Certainly. Somewhere. And they’re called something. And they are celebrated somehow. Heh heh. 🙂
What about you?
Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work. And it can’t be done alone.
~APFebruary 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm #125099
I have several that I’m in the process of working on and developing. In Ironstorm up where Brendin is from they celebrate Yule but it’s a mishmash of various traditions due to the mixed population there (a combination of Northmen/Nors (Norse), Arians (Roman/European), Keltaics (Celtic and Gaelic), and Eya (Indian/Middle Eastern)). There’s the very Norsen practice of getting ridiculously drunk and singing the old legends of the Nors before they crossed the Heath and passed on, like Herør Þengill (King War-Arrow). Then you have the Eya traditions of dancing and singing from sundown to sunup. Each culture celebrates the longest night of the year for different reasons: the Nors recognize it as an auspicious night where the dead may wander; the Arians, a bit more optimistic, see it as the end of winter and beginning of springtime; the Keltaics view it similarly but also have their myths wrapped up in it; and the Eya see it as a blessed night and a time for feasting because long nights are positive in their culture (they come from a desert where the night was safer than the day) and it is the time of the Son’s birth.
There are other holidays celebrated in other places but that’s what I’ve come up with so far.
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleFebruary 22, 2021 at 3:04 pm #125101
Cool!! Those sound pretty swag. 😉
Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work. And it can’t be done alone.
~APFebruary 23, 2021 at 6:38 pm #125215Kimmi@kimlikesart
Thank you for the tag @skylarynn!
@this-is-not-an-alien I’d be interested in seeing yours! (:
What is a fictional holiday in your world? / Who celebrates it?
One that comes to mind, that is celebrated almost throughout the whole world, and not just certain countries, is ‘the time of the star’s death.’
What’s the origin of the holiday?
There was once a star in the heavens called Aden. It was created by the Star Breather to defend this world (Ganeil). This star orbited in a wide arc around Ganeil, and could change the speed of its orbit, and whether it was going one direction, or the other.
This star fulfilled what it was created to do once. It moved quickly and stopped in the path of a large asteroid headed toward Ganeil. The star consumed the giant rock, crying out in pain as it cut, and melted within him.
People celebrated this star’s existence then. But their joy would soon turn to hate.
For the next time an object was headed toward their planet, the star refused to move. It did not go faster to defend them. It did not wish to take on the pain and save the people he was created to defend.
So the rock cut through the firmament of Ganiel, and killed many. Changing some of the landscape. People wept.
This went on for six hundred years, and the name ‘Aden’ was a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. The people lived in fear that their homes or fields or families would be the next to perish, from the stones that fell from space.
In all this time, that star remained unharmed. His one goal in life was to avoid pain, even at the cost of thousands of others. As the centuries passed, his heart grew harder. And eventually, the darkness inside him grew so great, the star imploded. A wave of death, instead of life, sweeping out and touching hundreds of other stars.
He was gone. He was dead.
It took six days for his aura to fade in the sight of those on Ganiel.
But on the seventh day, a new star appeared in Aden’s place. Placed there by the Star Breather, and given the same purpose as his brother. To suffer for Ganiel, and her trees, and people, and her water.
And this star loved the people of Ganiel. He fulfilled his purpose. His body ate the stones, and rocks, and asteroids that threatened his beloved people. He would cry out in pain every time, tears of fire streaming down his cheeks. But he loved them, and so he never gave up.
After several thousand years, he also died, but… that is a different holy day… and a different account…
Thus is the legend behind this holiday. Though the prophets say, it is no legend at all.
Is there a religion or culture involved?
Perhaps a religion; the legend says the Star Breather created Aden, and then his successor.
But few in Gainel still believe in the Star Breather’s existence. It is just a fable, and there to explain the happenings of the world. The star that defended them just formed there on its own.
How often does it come around?
It is celebrated at the beginning of spring, for seven days after whatever snow is there melts, or whenever green starts to show when there was none from winter.
(The exact time of celebration is different for almost each community, and there are other signs different countries and communities have to show the start of the time of celebration. But all are for seven days, and all start when spring begins.)
What rituals/festivities are involved?
For the first six days, families move out of their homes and sleep on the ground or rocks outside. Every night, the community gathers together, and different bonfires are lit. Families and friends sit about them together and sing or listen to songs. These songs tell of the legends of Aden, or different accounts of the fear, and all that was lost because of Aden’s failure.
But on the seventh day, children are dressed in their best clothes. People come out of their homes all day long, and cook, and share food, and laugh. The children dance around fires, and tongue drums are played.
There is singing, and celebration. For Aden was gone, and a better star had appeared in his place.
How has it changed over time?
Not much. It used to be celebrated only as individual familes, or just by those who followed the Star Breather. Now all celebrate it, and it is a village or city-wide event.
Do any of your characters observe the holiday?
They probably do.
Nithel thinks it is good to remember what Aden did, as a memorial. As a way for all to remember the end of those who live for their own gain, or self-preservation.
But the seventh day bothers Nithel, and he leaves the festivities that day to be on his own.
Do any oppose it?
1. There is a character who opposes it in its entirety.
2. There is another character that doesn’t care for it, simply because he does not.
If so, why do they?
1. The holiday makes him feel too guilty.
2. There’s no time to waste on silly legends or fables. (This man has a four-year-old daughter, and a one-year-old son.)
3. Nithel doesn’t celebrate the last day, because it makes him uncomfortable. So he goes off to think in the woods, or in a meadow on his own.
Perhaps with someone else… A girl, and it could be their first bonding time actuallly…. hmmmmmmmm…..
Has the observation of the holiday ever been banned from anywhere?
Yes. One country in particular.
If so, why was it banned?
The ruler (1.) doesn’t like the holiday.
Passion = A Willingness To SufferFebruary 23, 2021 at 6:41 pm #125216Kimmi@kimlikesart
I have several that I’m in the process of working on and developing.” Through “(they come from a desert where the night was safer than the day) and it is the time of the Son’s birth.”
That is so cool!!!
Holidays are really fun… (:
Passion = A Willingness To SufferFebruary 23, 2021 at 9:25 pm #125222Cathy@this-is-not-an-alien
Most of my world-building is in Alessio’s world Casumbra. Ehud lives in a Prohibition-Era fantasy world and “Red” is sorta just there idk if I’ll ever write an actual book about her but she apparently lives in a modern fantasy world where vampires have to open curfews in cities especially during full moons and failure to disclose poltergeists in real estate can lead to lawsuits 😛 .
In Casumbra there’s twelve kingdoms each with their own particular culture. Actually no humans originally lived in Casumbra but there were portals between it and earth and a bunch of kids mostly from Latin America had a bunch of adventures there and as they grew up they decided to stay (most of them were orphans) and eventually the portals closed and cue hundreds of years from then humanity thrived in Casumbra (that was all based of a book I never wrote when I was nine XD). But anyway those kingdoms are culturally independent and Alessio’s home, Hesgmarde, is nearby the sea and they have a rich musical culture.
Music-charming is a popular challenge for bards and an act is usually put on during a fiesta celebrating a good harvest, victory, or in smaller towns a wedding or the birth of a child. Bards play their best for nixies in the streams and if they charm the fairies they usually get a wish or a favor, but if they fail they usually disappear and are never seen again. In fact, music is so popular bards are allowed everywhere everyone knows their spies but nobody stopped blabbing to them and buying them out. It’s the only job a woman can take in Hesgmarde without regard to social status. People usually spontaneous break out into song especially on long journeys; it’s a contest where they’ll rhyme to popular tunes and somebody else has to rhyme back and they go on and on until there’s only one person left rhyming and that person wins (it’s really funny bc Alessio befriends two people from Avonia and they’re completely weirded out by that)
Sea-dragon (spelled draekon in my book bc I can) hunting is a popular sport and there’s a rather brutal coming of age ritual for young boys (Hesgmarde is a very militarily-focused kingdom where Alessio’s story is set). When they turn fourteen they can volunteer to subdue the particularly fierce draekons around the summer months (Grelbar-Mard there are thirteen months in Casumbra following the cycles of the dual moons). This is important for prestige and an opportunity to rise in social status which gives poorer peoples’ sons a chance to obtain a job other than farming and indenturement. It’s also a matter of honor and “duty” so there’s a lot of peer pressure to attend.
Girls get their appropriately boring coming of age ritual a year sooner than boys with a small rather private sort of fiesta for them with closer relatives. They pick a color to be “their colors” to give to knights or whatever and they have to always wear their hair back or up in ribbons of that color from then on. Alessio’s friend Meira doesn’t do this and he has no idea that’s a rule. It contrasts fairly nice with the Sioan Tribes that believe guys and girls alike should be warriors and honorable and stuff.
There’s also the traveling striders who are like gypsies and traveling carnivals and they go anywhere and get their money performing, most of them are outcasts and that’s their only means of providing. Anybody can join the traveling striders and go along almost without a trace; it’s the first place wanted people go…and that’s off topic XD.
There’s a holiday of a sorts for the Phoenix called the Feast of Lights but it was hijacked by one of the 48,000 gods of Casumbran mythology; the fire goddess who’s name I haven’t decided on and it’s probably not going into the final draft anyway. But it starts at sunset and people start lighting candles slowly and every hour light more elaborate lanterns and fires and it used to be very quiet and solemn but now it’s more wild and pagan.
Man I hadn’t thought about my Casumbran holidays in a while and a couple of those were just vague ideas until I started typing, thanks! This’ll definitely help with my WIP! @r-m-archer love the Virilen music celebration btw!
wowww the backstory for that holiday!
Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underageFebruary 23, 2021 at 10:33 pm #125226
AHA! Now I know the story behind Nithel’s whole “Vulferym is a son of Aden” thing! *gleeful squeal*
Woah, sounds like you have done a lot of worldbuilding!! I *coughcough* don’t exactly like worldbuilding *coughcough* so mine is more confined to geographical things and legends and stuff. I did make my own calendar, though! *pats self on back* That’s about as far as I get with that kind of stuff most of time. 🙂
Making something beautiful in a broken world can be harrowing work. And it can’t be done alone.
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