View Full Version : Holidays in Your World

2016-12-10, 08:12 PM
A common thing that seems to happen in a lot of games is the PCs find themselves in a new city or town, and the populace is celebrating some holiday with a festival. I can see why a GM would make this happen, it's a good way to get a feel for the fantasy world's culture, as well as a major social event that can lead to meeting new and exciting people.

So, fellow playgrounders, what are some holidays that you have made happen in your campaign settings? What is so special about them? How do the people go about celebrating such things?

raygun goth
2016-12-11, 02:51 PM
Holidays of Arna

1st Week: New Year: Hot on the heels of the feast and gift-giving fiasco that is Mother’s Week, in comes the New Year, two days of fasting (gotta lose that weight) and prayers to the spirits of the five directions.

January 17th: Coming of Age Day: A festival celebrating everybody who turns 20 on the given year. This used to be the “congratulations, you can be sacrificed now!” day, but in modern times, the gentler, kinder side of the holiday shines through, which means card companies and candy manufacturers try to sell you junk. This is also the traditional day to complete an adulthood test.

February 2nd: Three Sisters Festival: This is the holiday honoring the three most important crops in Arna society – corn, beans, and squash. A lot of soup and chili is made and eaten.

February 19th: Thunder's Day: This day honors Chehkapa-of-Blood, a water spirit associated with corn and corn harvests, and Hikapa-of-the-Sky, a wind spirit associated with beans, both for a good harvest of any sort. There are a lot of fancy dances done on this day.

February 21st: Festival of Winds: Day honoring the spirits of wind, the East, and of the air. Air awahee can get free stuff at various stores and offices.

1st Monday: Girls’ Festival: Orthodox festival honoring girls and honoring the abolishment of stereotypes. Women get dressed up in restrictive dresses, do math, plan to pay taxes, and giggle a lot, and a lot of stores have sales on clothes and knives. So much for that day.

2nd Monday: All Spirits Day: An Ortelian holiday. Everything has a freakin’ spirit in it, so instead of making every day of the year a worship day, the Ortelian Unified Faith designated the second Monday of March a day in which pretty much every other left out spirit is honored. Most of the festival tends to be about small house spirits, tool spirits, and machine spirits.

March 5th: Da-Ura’s Birthday: This day commemorates the birth of Da-Ura of the Unfettered Mind, who gave up his family name in order to bring a Laenism to the world, summarily swallowed by the Ortelian Unified Faith as a form of planet-veneration through simple living, the respect of all life, and the equality of all beings.

March 20th-28th: Marugu: This is a Wadi period of fasting, reciting scripture, and meditation on the principles of knowledge and penance. Reverence is given in this time for spiritual leaders, and followers usually gather on the last day to eat prandig, an insect-based dish. This is an official holiday in the UTCC, and the government gives special lien to Nazro immigrants to pass out religious material in government buildings, primarily for educational use.

March 21st: Ancestor’s Day: A day honoring ancestral spirits and crocodiles. A good day for the incense industry. People who still practice ritual suicide/human sacrifice and subsequent tanning put on their best relatives this day and go about town offering candies and songs.

April 19th: Sinking of the Lewis: The Lewis was an Ortelian destroyer that was the first ship sunk in the great war. Its successor, the Lewis-II, was also the last ship sunk, occurring on the same day, at 0432 and once in the afternoon, at 1632, exactly five years and 12 hours apart.

April 21nd: Asylum Day: Anyone can get asylum for any type of persecution on this day, so long as they implore at a kingdom’s borders. Ortelia and Marsden usually add about two hundred thousand new citizens on this day every year.

April 22nd: Gaia’s Day: The planet's day takes on a whole new meaning when your planet is a living, breathing organism that sometimes spits out angry kaiju.

1st Monday: Planting Day: Three-sisters planting festival. Lots of carnivals and fairs, including that annoying-as-hell game where you try to catch the freakin' baby salmon with a cheap paper net.

May 17th: King Hapakoo's Birthday: This day celebrates the birth of King Hapakoo Falls-Down-the-Mountain. Everyone has the day off work, and the king comes out and gives a speech; he's been in reign for at least ten years and has past his super-serious period and reached the “you can't get rid of me, so I'll at least try to be entertaining” stage of his reign. He may not have a lot of direct power due to the united tribal council, but he makes promises to get rid of those darn occupying Tourmek (who were ousted centuries ago) and do something about the psychic Tyrannosaurs in the jungles (which also ended centuries ago).

May 28th: Flower Festival: A day honoring the spirits of flowers and trees. Everybody tears a flower or two out of the ground and condemns it to a slow death in a vase. Most people attend local fancy dances that tell stories about Spider, various flowers, and the meeting of the three sisters.

June 5th: Boys’ Day: Day honoring men and boys, as well as the abolishment of stereotypes. Folks get drunk, try to go hunting in the woods despite byzantine laws, forget family songs, go shopping for makeup and clothes, and watch storming games. So much for that one, too.

June 21st: Day of Death: A day in which everyone offers prayers and songs for the dead, and leaves offerings for Death in the form of coins and dried sweet buns. Family members sometimes go to Death's Country to visit old relatives, and if they can't afford the trip, they burn money and food to send to their ancestors so they can bribe the judges.

July 4th: Midsummer Revel: They used to set off fireworks on this day. In ye olden tymes, this caused a lot of fires to start in close-packed cities. To honor those who died this day, cities and individuals collectively spend millions of dollars and several months constructing elaborate quarter-size city and house models, then burn them to the ground.

July 15th: Day of Earth: A day honoring spirits of the Earth, Earth awahee, the South, and so on. An Earth awahee can get her hands on some free stuff on this day, as people leave offerings for spirits, and all Earth awahee are considered spirits on this day.

July 23rd: Family Day: Family totems visit their respective families. This can get really awkward if you live in a small house and your family god is a sauropod of some kind.

August 1st: Isolator Day: This day is used to excuse being a jerk to isolator every other day of the year, commemorating the founding of the All Kingdoms Authority. Technically, this is isolator month, but like anyone gives a crap. Isolators guide people to sing-stones, fight monsters, and hold back the darkness, but they're perceived as murderous hobos to just about everyone else.

August 24th: Turtle Festival: This is the festival of keys, turtles, the unlocking of doors, and the opening or portals to other worlds. Fearful people stay inside on this day, beause it does mean that monsters sometimes rain from the sky. Other people keep keyrings on their person, rescue turtles, watch documentaries about turtles, locks, and the history of blacksmithing.

August 25th: Mountain Festival: A fancy dance festival honoring the day the moon fell to the earth, or the day the sky people came to the mountains. It depends where you are on the continent. This day is celebrated by telling stories, largely about sky people, mountains, and golems.

August 28th: Day of the Moon: This is the day the “moon returned to its place,” and maize-cutters and humans alike honor the sky people. Maize-cutters are allowed to enter human cities and trade by government lien. Humans can also attend festivals in the Maize-Cutter Designated Territories for the entire week, and often do.

August 30th: Day of Fire: A day honoring spirits of Fire, of autumn, and the North.

1st Monday: Harvest Fruit/Corn Day: This is the first fruit of the harvest. Everybody eats a boatload of three sisters, mostly candied corn and beans, and lots of fish. A few kids and old people choke on some of the more gooey candies, like hacagi, but people keep making them anyway.

September 19th: Dor-ahns's Day: This day celebrates the hero Dor-ahn and his allies, who took the axe wielded by the Mother of All Things from the Pure Land and exposed the dragon kings to its energy, driving them back into slumber.

October 31st: Day of Broken Seals: The restriction on Death's Kingdom is lifted. Also, children are dressed up in costume to hide them from visiting ghosts, and are sent to collect offerings, seeing as how adults are supposed to stay home and pray and stuff. At least, that’s how it used to go. Nowadays people just truss up their kids like cartoon characters and hunt for candy until about 10 or so.

November 1st: Soul’s Day/Banishment Day: All those pesky spirits get sent back to the other side by the songs of every frickin’ magician on the continent, at least in the OUF. Other places just hold a few services. In rural areas, folks go out and clean their local shrines en masse.

4th Thursday: Harvesttide: Everybody gorges themselves on brushrunner, mashed potatoes, rice, peanut sauce, rice buns, squash, beans, and seaweed cakes, then proclaims loudly that they won’t eat so much next year, but they always do. This is to thank the spirits of the harvest for all the stuff that they did that nobody gives a darn about anymore but schools run plays about for like three days straight.

December 10th: Day of the Sea: A festival honoring water spirits and Water awahee, as well as the spirits of the West.

Last Week of December: Mother's Week: Seven days of craziness. Legend goes that the Mother of All Things fought a five-day battle against the Dragon Kings, and so each day is named after each one.
Earth: With the banishment of the earth dragon, the harvest was given life again. Everybody eats lots of vegetables today, and the local department stores honor this day by selling out of whatever gift it is you want to give your loved one on Reflection Day a month ago.
Air: With the banishment of the air dragon, the sky was made blue and clear again. Everybody spends the day outside complaining about the cold. More feasting and lots of singing; in fact, the cursed radio won’t stop playing the same songs over and over.
Fire: The sealing of the fire dragon brought warmth to the world. Tough luck. Everybody spends this day inside huddled around the space heater. Traditionally, you go to the shrine and burn your sins for the past year, since this holiday swallowed up the year-end OUF celebrations about forever ago. You know all that meat-eating people lost out on the first day of the week? They make up for it here; no veggies allowed on this day.
Water: When the water dragon was sealed, the waters ran clear. Unfortunately, drinking lots of water doesn’t make for a fun holiday, so everyone makes up for it with lots of alcohol. Priestesses generally bless everything in sight on this day, because they’re either smashed out of their gourd or getting there quick.
Ether: Everybody just kind of sits around and clutches at their heads for a few hours, then sets into the traditional practice of being nice to everyone they hate, since this day, reminiscent of the hardest battle, brought all beings together as one to defend the world. The sky this night is always crystal clear and full of stars (which is hard to see in the city, because Bluejay used the stars over cities to light all the lamps etc etc).
Restoration Day: It’s Saturday, but everybody spends the day cleaning up from the last five days. This reflects the fact that everybody’s place is trashed, as was the landscape after the great battles. Almost everybody goes home this day, too, creating a kind of traffic-jam holiday.
Reflection Day: This is more important than a normal Sunday, in that you’re supposed to give gifts to your closest friends and loved ones. You’re supposed to perform this in as large a group as possible, but everyone went home yesterday. This used to culminate in a human sacrifice, but that’s faded in the past few thousand years, and now people just sacrifice money to each other. This day is also merged with Grand Purification Day, a sort of “exorcism day” for all evil spirits and wickedness. Devotees are purified and forgiven for minor offenses to the spirit worlds.

2016-12-13, 07:16 PM
http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Holidays might be worth a read if you haven't already.

2016-12-13, 08:30 PM
Don't do what games like WoW do, and create names-filed-off copies of real-life holidays that have no ties to the actual history, culture, or religion involved -- they're just there to appeal to the players and match the seasons IRL.