[WiC] Winter Festivals


Explore the festivals held in colder months with guest blogger Adam Page.

The people of Nerath celebrate many festivals throughout the course of a year, from the Birthing Ceremony what starts with the arrival of the first calf or lamb, to the Blood Moon Chants, when the fires from the yearly burn back of harvested corns stalk illuminate the night sky, turning the distant moon a blood red colour.

There are a few special festivals that hold an important significance to the people on the frontiers, for these people now that with the coming winter, their life will become more difficult as the length of nights increase, and they become an isolated point of light in the wilderness.

Frost Fall
Frost fall is the first of the winter festivals celebrated by the people of the Nentir Vale, and occurs with the first snowfall. Frost Fall celebrates the last harvest, and after the remaining crops are gathered, and the livestock brought into the communities safe holding, the community gathers around their central meeting place, a hall, a barn, a tavern, and starts pray to their chosen deity. After 12 hours of prayer and fasting, they cook up a feast of almost epic proportion, using up the most perishable food and sacrificing the weakest calf, cooking them up into a thick stew, enhanced by the addition of alcohol... Those that are still standing the next morning are split into 2 groups, one prepares the village walls defences while the other gathers firewood into a bonfire.

Mid-winters Halt
While the exact length of winter varies, Mid-winters Halt always occurs on the 12th day of the 12th month of the year. Generally, communities have been locked behind their village walls for 7 weeks, with only a few hours of sunlight each day within which to move around and protect themselves. To the isolated communities, Mid-winters Halt is an excuse to light bonfires built during the Frost Fall festival. The bright light they provide is meant to re-assure travellers that the community is still safe. While the bonfires are lit, the community exchange gifts and trades between the families and buildings. Some present small tools, some toys, others homebrewed alcohol. Once the bonfire dies down, the community takes shelter again within their homes to lie in wait for the spring.

Everlasting Day
Everlasting Day is the ironic name given to a celebration that is usual performed in private between family members. Occurring during the height of the winter, when the sky remains dark from morning to night, Everlasting Day is when the worst of the monsters assault the village walls. Families remain inside their homes, weapons at the ready, grouped around the symbol of the families deity, praying for the end to the endless night.

Apollo Rises
The festival of Apollo Rises occurs when the sun rises before the rooster crows, and signifies the end of winter. After months of being kept in their homes, darkness keeping them trapped within the village walls, while monsters and evil beings skulk around outside, the community seizes the early sunlight and moves on mass to chase away creatures away from their village. The aim is to kill as many creatures as possible, and burn their bodies until only their bones remain. Some bones are knotted together to form a throne for the communities leader, while the remaining are ground and added to the stack of animal dung to form a new coating to reinforce the village walls.

Spring Melt
While Apollo Rises signifies the end of winter, the most favoured festivals of the winter is the spring melt. By the time the meltwater from far in the winter lands reaches the Nentir vale, it is not quite as frigid and cold, and thus, the festival of the spring Melt occurs. The woman of a community bathe together in the rivers water, its clean and crisp nature is thought to purify them from the sins they have committed during the winter month. Many unwed men of the community wait until this festival to choose a bride, and signify this choice by washing the females hair with a sandscrub soap.

See more entries in the Winter Is Coming RPG Blog Festival.

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