Festivals

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Festivals

Postby Yvonne » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:30 am

These are taken from the 'So Sayeth Ed' threads at the Candlekeep website. They are quite location-specific, but they could probably be adapted and would give some roleplay event springboards!

Hammer 4 Wintershield A day off work, whereon folk sip prepared, warmed ciders and broths (often laced with herbs for health and to bring on visions), stay inside and warm and tell tales of what interested them or was important in the year just done, and what they intend to do or should deal with, or that everyone ‘should keep an eye on,’ in the year ahead. Such discussions inevitably lead into discussions of politics and wars and the intentions of rulers, and maps and far-farers are usually consulted. It’s considered lucky to possess and examine a map on Wintershield, and sales of such things (however inaccurate, irrelevant, or sketchy) tend to be brisk in the tenday preceding this day. Some folk, particularly in Amn, Waterdeep, Sembia, and Chessenta, believe that this ‘favour of the gods’ comes not from hauling out old maps to consult, but by purchasing a new map every year and examining both it and older ones.

Few folk trade or try to travel on Wintershield, and those who dare to do so are often considered mad, evil, desperate, or defiant of the gods.

Alturiak 10 Sarkhuld On this day, centuries ago, someone called Sark (or something similar) defeated many monsters (some tales say orc chieftans, others relate a varied sequence of beasts that always include a peryton, a leucrotta, and a manticore) and made his land or town or hamlet or farm safe from such perils for many years. To keep Turmish strong, monsters (ideally, an orc, peryton, and so on) must be hunted and slain on this day - and someone, somewhere in Turmish, must cook and eat a portion of such a beast.

To guard against the downfall of the kingdom and specific locales and family fortunes in particular, folk of Turmish purchase (often from traveling peddlers, who are carefully policed by priests in the land to make absolutely certain they are selling genuine substances) vials of orc (or pertyon, or etc.) blood, and everyone in a dwelling must dab at least a drop on their tongues, another on their foreheads, and let a third fall into a flame or hot fire-hearth.

It’s not known what orcs, perytons, leucrottas, and manticores do on Sarkhuld, aside from keeping very well hidden or away from Turmish - but deaths down the years hint that orcs dwelling in the Orsraun Mountains try to slay at least one human each on this day; some “monster hunts” in Turmish are closer to pitched battles.

Ches 17 Spellfall On this date, centuries ago, a beautiful sorceress was slain by a wizard in a duel wherein both shapechanged, much land was traversed and divers trees set afire, and the struggle ended when the dying woman (back in her own shape) fell from the sky, blazing like a bonfire.

Her name, that of her slayer, and the reason for their dispute are all forgotten, but the place where her body (that collapsed into ash, on the spot) landed (claimed by literally thousands of folk to be this or that patch of their own gardens or meadows) sprouted a rich profusion of flowers in a few days.

To keep the land strong, beautiful women with sorcerous powers volunteer to be set afire by means of a spell when aloft (taken there either by their own magic or by a spell cast by another), and fall to the ground, where local priests of ALL faiths resident in Turmish (regardless of portfolio) agree to heal (and if necessary raise to life) the women. These volunteers are known as “Sarathsa,” but this name is known to be that of a sorceress who was transformed by a deity (there’s sharp disagreement over which one) upon landing during a Spellfall observance some four centuries back, into a servant of that deity - rather than being the name of the original sorceress.

It’s crucial that a Sarathsa willingly put herself forward to enact this ritual, and that she suffer pain during the fall - but there’s no need for her to make the landing unprotected, or be burned without any protection, and spells are usually cast to minimize both sorts of damage. It’s considered unlucky if any town, marketplace, or larger settlement in Turmish doesn’t enact this ritual (and those who dwell elsewhere will send at least one representative from every hamlet to go and see a ritual enacted elsewhere, to ward off ill fortune from their own locale), and angry folk of Turmish are likely to drive out any priest who refuses to take part, or tear down their abode, shrine, or temple. (This doesn’t mean that every last priest in a temple must get out and be seen casting spells to aid a Sarathsa, just that every temple or shrine should have a holy representative who does take part.)

After the ritual is done, and watchers celebrate by drinking, the Sarathsa should be whole - that is, free of all disformities, sickness, and physical damage. The various priests must do whatever is necessary to make her that way, and so some diseased women choose to become Sarathsas so they’ll get wholly healed, for free and without obligation.

Tarsakh 24 Walkskull The tail-end of winter always brings the hungriest days to Turmish, regardless of how bountiful the harvests of the preceding fall were. “Hungriest” is a relative term, of course: few folk in this verdant land are likely to starve, and far fewer (even in the mountains) will freeze while out on dangerous, desperate hunting forays to try to get something to eat than will perish in more northerly climes.

Nevertheless, larders tend to be rather empty, and folk sick of salted, pickled, dried, and long-cellared food. Fresh fruit may still be months away, but on this day elders in every village take skins of fruit liqueurs out on their backs, walking with escorts of their kin and fellow elders who carry human skulls in their hands in token of how near to us all death may be, and offer mouthfuls of the drink to anyone they see, to impart the hope of bounty to come.

On the night of Walkskull, most villagers gather at a tavern and get loudly, boisterously drunk together, with much dancing, laughter and tale-telling, afterwards. Many shops open late or not at all, on the morning after Walkskull, and workers fail to appear - and by custom and decree, this is tolerated without penalty or punishment. Wherefore “the morning after Walkskull” has become a Turmish expression for workers sitting around and talking rather than working, when customers are few or nonexistent.

Mirtul 6,7,8,9 The Running Four days in which most shops are closed and markets cancelled, and apprentices and other workers visit parents, kin, or friends (they can reach, and return from, within the four day period), taking with them food or drink so informal “family feasting” can occur when they get together. This is a time for catching up on family news and local gossip, showing children to grandparents, making deals and taking home payments or gifts, and so on; temples in Turmish take part in this, allowing all novices and priests who desire to ‘time off’ from prayers and temple duties to go and see family; birth patterns tell all that many children are conceived each year at this time.

The roads and trails are crowded with travelers during The Running, and brigandage is always a problem, but folk in Turmish help each other along the way without payment (innkeepers, tavernmasters, and wagon-repairers excepted).

Kythorn 14 Guildhall A day of trade fairs in all cities and towns of Turmish, in which shops are closed and usual daily work suspended. During Guildhall, traders from afar and almost all guilds and trade cabals of Turmish display new products, innovations, fashions, and the extent and quality of their services and wares. This is usually done by means of glittering displays, but sometimes also through small plays, or hired-by-the-guilds entertainments (jugglers, “magic shows” put on by hedge-wizards, and minstrelry) at which prizes or free samples are distributed.

Flamerule 9 Fists This is a day of jousting in Cormyr and Sembia and unarmed wrestling in Aglarond, Thay, Turmish and the Vilhon Reach in general, Westgate, the Dales, and among forest-dwellers across the Heartlands (yes, Wild Elves, too). In Thay, slave ‘champions’ are used in contests.

Formally this was a day when real scores would be settled, sometimes to the death, under cover of these mock combats, but in almost all places this has been outlawed, and fierce punishments are enacted on those who try to harm foes or cause ‘accidents’ to befall rivals or enemies.

No real work takes place during Fists, except in taverns and among food-sellers at the various combat venues. In Cormyr, two days before Fists and four days after Fists are allowed ‘off work’ for traveling to and from events, and recovery from participation in them. A lot of games of skill (which are gambled upon enthusiastically) with cards, dice, thrown darts, and the like now take place on Fists, so the unathletic can participate by some means other than howling support and placing bets. Local wealthy merchants, officials, and rulers often ‘put up’ prizes for such contests, and for exhibitions of martial skill such as archery and ‘down-the-horse’ (wherein strongfolk strive to knock a full-sized horse off its hooves faster than rivals).

Eleasias 22 Misrule Formerly a day when children could give their parents orders, apprentices could do the same to their masters, underpriests instruct and command their superiors, and so on, this “celebration” has been marred by much violence and repercussions down the years, and has evolved into a day when the apprentices of rival guilds clash in street brawls (in cities) for the title of “King of the Streets’ (usually trying to bring an actual high-backed wooden seat or ‘Throne’ to a central spot, and keep it there, whilst preventing other bands of brawlers from installing their thrones).

In rural areas, rather than battling over thrones, large mobs of youths gather for violent, landscape-spanning games of ‘Claim the Crown’ that last until sunset (when local rulers or temples provide meals and much drink, the latter usually laced with sleep-inducing substances to quell trouble).

Claim the Crown is a sport akin to Capture the Flag, involving two teams trying to outscore each other. A point is scored by bringing the Crown (who is usually a beautiful woman clad in polished-bright chainmail who must not be harmed, and who can choose to hide, flee, or cooperate), to established ‘goal’ spots, one for each team.

The Crown can be physically restrained (and is usually carried) by participants, but must not be rendered unconscious, bound, or confined within anything (in some local variants, the Crown is carried in an open coffin, or seeks to remove her armour and toss it away whilst the team possessing her seeks to prevent this; if she’s wearing less than half the pieces when she reaches the scoring spot, no point can be scored until she’s clad again).

Sometimes several Crowns take part in a Misrule match, one succeeding another as each becomes weary or overly battered. Local clergy and wizards heal participants, officiate the scoring, and magically teleport the Crown to various (usually random) spots so play can resume after each ‘claim.’ Claim the Crown is usually played in terrain affording cover, often rolling pastureland, woodlots, and forest - but the scoring spots are usually hills or other easily-seen places.

Eleint 28 Brightswords A day when guards and soldiers parade in glittering array, give demonstrations of martial skill (archery and bombardment are popular) or stage mock battles, and persons desiring to join their ranks are given chances to demonstrate their prowess (usually with wooden practise weapons, in contests against veteran soldiers).

Weaponmakers and vendors sell their wares openly in the markets, experts who can hurl or juggle weapons show off their skills, and there are horse races open to all (including wagon races, and archery-from-the-saddle races). Wealthy merchants, local officials, and rulers give prizes (usually a trophy full of coins) to the winners of such contests - - and spies employed by most governments watch for promising recruits, known villains sneaking in to steal or purchase weapons, and sources of good weapons or well-trained mounts.

Marpenoth 7 Stoneshar On this day, ceremonial building is begun. It’s seen as the best day of the year for the construction of a building to begin (with the digging out of cellars and the laying of at least one foundation-stone), because such an act is thought to confer the favour of all the gods not just on the place where the act of construction is commenced, but on the building that results.

However, even if no buildings are needed or will be built, prayers are offered to the gods as two stones are placed, one sited in the earth or on bedrock, and the other placed atop the first, in a ritual representing building.

Stoneshar is seen as a good day for beginning business ventures, making deals, signing contracts, and constructing small items (from pots to tools). Temples of Lathander, Gond, and Grumbar charge no fees during Stoneshar, and throw open their doors to all for priests to give advice, render aid, and demonstrate building methods, skills, and tools.

“The gods help those who help themselves” is a saying heard often during Stoneshar, an all-faiths festival in which all priesthoods refrain from punishment and destruction of any sort. There are no executions on Stoneshar, and it is not a day for idleness. Even children at play are encouraged to make things, even if their constructions are merely holes, sandcastles, or crude models: the industry is what’s holy on this day, for by their exertions and the projects they begin, folk attract the favour of all the gods down upon them and where they dwell, until next Stoneshar. Conversely, sloth and laziness risks the displeasure of the gods (and all manner of misfortune, as “Beshaba dances unchained”) on the individuals and their dwelling-place, for the year ahead.

Communal feasts (wherein all participants bring food, in what we modern real-world folk would call “potluck”) are common in most places; in cities, these are often held at local temples or usually-private clubs (and yes, some clubs put on entertainments and ‘dress the place up’ in order to entice gawking visitors into joining, or to enhance their fearsome local reputations).

Uktar 20 Last Sheaf Regardless of the actual end of harvest (usually at least a tenday or more earlier, though Turmish can be warm far later into the year than latitudes north of, say, the Lake of Dragons), this day of feasting is held in celebration of the year’s bounty. Small gifts (traditionally, handkegs of ale, jars of preserves, and smoked fish and meats) are exchanged among neighbours, and “last letters” are gathered for carriage by ship captains and caravan merchants to points south (most points north are already inaccessible, thanks to coastal ice and inland snows). Many rulers send out clerks, envoys, and heralds to gather the last news, pleas, and requests from remote subjects before winter really closes in. In more mountainous parts of Turmish, hunt are held for stags and other big game; if successful, a second day of feasting follows.

Nightal 11 Howldown Wolf hunts (and hunts of all other sorts of predators, from owlbears and trolls to brigands and orc bands) are held, with all able-bodied folk (mercenaries and adventurers are expected to take part, too, without thought of payment or gain) gathering into large hunting parties, and local spellcasters aiding in ‘flushing out’ prey. The intent is to eliminate predators who will endanger citizens and their livestock when food grows scarce in the worst depths of the winter.

Regardless of the success of the hunts, the night ends with large bonfires and much drinking and the telling of hunting tales. Elders who were great hunters in their day are toasted, and trophies (claws, horns, teeth, and heads of slain monsters) are distributed to be boiled clean and hung on walls and over mantels.

Shieldmeet in SilverymoonOne festival a day is held in the run-up to Shieldmeet. They are:

Oldcasks A day during which private individuals and businesses all across the city find and dust off, or make, and sell (from their doors and tables set up by their front doors, or in their front gardens) various vintages from their cellars, in preparation for the festivities to come. Wineries and “flagon shops” often offer special sales or import hard-to-find or novelty vintages (“Dwarfbeard Ale! Contains the ashes of genuine dwarf beards!” or “Elfmaidblood Ruby, a fine red guaranteed to contain drops of blood from gold elf maidens of the eldest, proudest lineages!”), and all of the city temples cast neutralize poison spells for free, on all liquids brought to them, from dawn to dusk (stockpiling scrolls and “calling in” faithful clergy from outside the city for this purpose; such visitors usually remain for some days, as a reward).

Cloakswirl A day-long crafters’ festival during which various costumes, garments, and fashion accessories are sold (for use in the festivities ahead). No masks, cosmetics, or headgear are sold on this day (it’s not unlawful, just considered VERY unlucky; in most shops, such things are hidden away for the day). Street vending by anyone is freely allowed on this day, and most shops move tables out onto the street. These must all be cleared away by highsun of the next day (Moondown). By tradition, inns and taverns put on, or hire actors to present, brief plays or dramatic readings after dusk.

Moondown A normal working day, until highsun. Thereafter, everyone in the city by tradition bathes (in the river, if they’ve nowhere else to go), and (again by tradition) puts on new garments they’ve never worn before (poor folk trade clothes for the night). A solemn ceremony of worship to Selune is held, starting at dusk. A Moondance (slow, quiet, sweeping movements of many dancers of both genders clad in palely-glowing “moonrime” [white to very light green] garments, led by priests) winds its way along city streets until dawn. Moonwine (squirted the nozzles of from shoulder-carried skins) and platters of small round cakes are offered freely by the dancers to everyone they pass, wishes are whispered to the moon, and loved ones who perished during the preceding year are softly named. Temples of Shar are closed during this day, and her worshippers by tradition pray only in private, not wearing any ceremonial garb, vestments, or symbols of that goddess.

Masks A crafters’ festival during which elaborate (and often very expensive or spectacular) masks, cosmetics, and headgear are sold, for the revelry that begins at nightfall of this day, and continues on, invarious observances, night and day through Midsummer Night. On this day Alustriel typically pays every musician (NOT singer) who desires to play in the streets a “flourish” of 25 gp, and many minstrels wander, making music alone or in groups (instrumentals rather than songs).

Elskelter A normal working day, until highsun, when all the city and temple bells are rung, and the Skull Run begins. The Skull Run is a giant game of hide and seek, wherein a swift, agile, person wearing a skullhead-mask tries to get from any gate of the city to the Moonbridge without being prevented from doing so by a mob of persons who MUST, in order to participate, down a potent drink to the dregs (making them literally tipsy - that is, staggering on their feet). The Run is administered by the Spellgard, who prepare the drinks and give drinkers one-eyed hoods to wear (no one not wearing one over their head is allowed to take any part in the fun).

Typically one Skull Runner will start from every gate of the city. They cannot use any translocation magic (such as Teleport or Dimension Door), but can use Spider Climb, Feather Fall, and Freedom of Movement. They must wear their skull mask at all times (so tearing it off is one way to delay them; their chasers are forbidden to hide, throw, or carry the mask, but may snatch it off as many times as they feel like, and can manage), and the Spellgard typically teleports a Skull Runner away from harm if they’re injured, get into a fight, or are attacked in earnest by anyone. It’s understood that they’ll be healed or even brought back to life if they come to harm during the Run. Every year, Alustriel announces prizes for “catching the Skull,” and prizes for any Skull Runners if they successfully reach the Moonbridge. These are typically monetary, but may involve a Runner choosing any single spell be cast upon themselves (that Alustriel can manage), or another service or boon.

The Skull Run began in the days when Silverymoon was first founded, but was banned; Alustriel revived it about three decades ago.

From dusk onwards, this night is traditionally when old friends gather to catch up on events of the past year, begin to negotiate deals or plan the year ahead, and “absent friends” are remembered (and toasted).

Claws On this day, elaborate costumes worn by citizens (or several citizens at once) to resemble various monsters (dragons and owlbears are perennial favourites) are donned, and the “marauding monsters” parade through the streets, heading for particular taverns. Older citizens watch the monsters process along, but younger ones “fall in behind them” and repair to the taverns, where the costume-wearers “unhood” to receive free drinks and meals.

While dining, they are entertained by bards, minstrels, and old retired adventurers telling wild and dramatic tales of monster-slayings, battles against beasts that “got away,” and horrific ghost stories of revenant monsters, creatures of the Underdark lurking under all our feet right now, and so on.

These tales go on into the wee hours, with the taverns serving free drinks to all (traditionally these are very watered-down, so it’s hard to get drunk before one feels bloated, but taverns vie with each other in doctoring the beverages to achieve unusual but very enjoyable tastes). [So everyone gets free drinkables unless they want full-strength ales and spirits, but only those who wore the monster costumes get free food.] Children traditionally attend the tale-tellings, and usually fall asleep before morning (only to awake shrieking from nightmares).

Glarth Colloquially known as “Fullbelly,” this is a day of widespread at-home feasting. Floral-decorated wagons are sent out from the Palace in the morning, piled high with smoked hams, loaves of bread, sausages, smoked fish, tiny drawstring-bags of spices, and fruit. The wagons head for the poorest streets of the city first, but circulate until emptied; anyone can reach down any food they want from the passing wagons (that they can personally carry, without benefit of a cart or wagon of their own) to augment whatever food they already have, so that none may know hunger on this day. Visitors to the city and those who live alone are invited to dine with families, or at inns and taverns with other loners, but no loud entertainment or organized revelry takes place (typically everyone eats too much and drowses in chairs and on beds and couches into the evening, talking lazily of divers matters).

Oamaurae (“OH-more-ay”): After all the eating and drinking of the preceding day, few folk rise until after highsun on Oamaurae. Traditionally, this is a day when everyone goes out to a playhouse, acting-ground outside the walls, inn or tavern or private home where hired performances are being presented, or simply to a street performance, to see theater.

On Omaurae, new plays are presented for the first time, new ballads-with-dance-and-mime tales performed, and new drinks (fortified, doctored-with-herbs-and-spices wines and sherries) are sold to see what’ll catch on. Returning home after enjoying performances, households take time during the evening to read aloud stirring passages of prose, or recite ballads and heroic tales from memory. Much rich dessert food is then consumed, and everyone goes to bed.

Clearsight A half-day of work (shops open only until highsun). The rest of the day is devoted to planning ahead, on personal, household, and professional levels.

Everyone discusses politics and (if they’re involved in any) the wording of new agreements to be solemnized, or pacts to be renewed, on Shieldmeet. Business owners talk to their employees about the direction and aim of the business, commoners hoist tankards at taverns and discuss the latest news and the “way the world is sailing,” and everyone from adventurers to fashion-setting clothiers plots their planned doings in the seasons ahead. The shop closures make possible much “meeting with investors and merchants to plan future undertakings” (and to persuade would-be business partners by wining, dining, or even wenching them) - - if, of course, you can find the people you want to make contact with, among all the to-ing and fro-ing and gladhanding going on.

Amalree's Pleasure Amalree was a spectacular, affectionate, and much-loved dancer of Silverymoon, who died almost a century ago. In her honour, this day is devoted to lighthearted dancing and flirtation. Older folk (and those too injured or infirm to take part) gather to sip wine, watch the fun unfold around them, and play various elaborate board games. In recent years, wagering on these games has become very popular, and vast sums are won and lost by the evening of ‘the Pleasure.’

Midsummer The Feast of Love. No shops are open past highsun on this day. At highsun, small feasts (private meals) begin

Shieldmeet Celebrated as it is everywhere in the Realms, this special day is devoted to open council between rulers and ruled, which really means: commoners can sit down and speak frankly with monarchs (who are typically protected against attack with ironguard, and various protective magics that mitigate the effects of missiles, particular sorts of spells, and so on) without being overheard by courtiers and without fear of reprisal. Commoners can communicate complaints, warnings, answer royal questions, pass on gossip, and so on; most rulers consider it the most valuable and informative day of their year, and often arrange to meet again soon with particular informants.

For rulers, guild members, merchants, masters and apprentices, and others engaged in renting or in transacting business, it’s a day of renewing agreements (often reviewed or drawn up earlier, during Clearsight). It’s also a day of many contests, trials-of-arms, duels, contests-of-spells, and full-blown tournaments of horse-and-lance, with attendant wagering. These events are rarely undertaken in anger or to settle scores or legal disputes (though they can be, if Taern or Alustriel agree and the proceedings are overseen by Spellguard members), but serve as popular entertainment, with local merchants and wealthy notables sponsoring prizes for victorious contestants. Taking part in such trials has also become a very good way for adventurers and hedge-wizards seeking employment to attract the notice of potential patrons.

Silvaeren temples and visiting priests provide free healing magics and care to injured contestants, and the day ends with a “last revel” of theatrical performances and bardic and minstrel performances in various inns, taverns, clubs, and guild headquarters, at which mead and other sweetened wines are sipped and honey-cakes and other pastries and candies are consumed. (Because it’s “back to the everyday trudge and drudge on the morrow.”) Wise celebrants take to bed early and sober; foolish ones sing and carouse late into the night, and take surly hangovers to the shop the next day.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
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Yvonne
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Re: Festivals

Postby Yvonne » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:08 pm

And here's a link to some religious ones:

http://www.candlekeep.com/library/artic ... ydays2.htm
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
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