This is a good general overview of the holidays which impact the lives of the traveler or the casually devout person in Hurva. These holidays are usually celebrated by all and are observed in all corners of the land.
If you are looking for a comprehensive overview of holidays, including many minor ones, you should pay a visit to our Myth & Religion section.
The Festival of Estereal
Between the final day of Lowin and the first day of Esterealan there is the Holy Festival of Estereal, a five day celebration of the triumph of law and reason over the powers of darkness and mystery. It is customary for all to wear masks (think mardi-gras style) throughout the festival and not remove them until midnight of the last day (usually at a grand ball, known as the Masque Ball of Estereal). All businesses in the kingdom are closed, save inns and taverns for these five days. Each day begins with solemn prayers and ceremonies to Estereal. Each of the five days commemorates the five gods allied with Estereal, in order of their birth. The following is a list of events typically held that day.
Day One: Azkal
Jousts and contests of strength; archery, duels
Big bonfires and pigroasts in the evening
Day Two: Wajen
Baking and eating; eating contests
Family and friends gather for a dinner feast, traditional at the matriarch of the family´s home
Give gifts of food, flowers and livestock
Give food to the poor
Apple throwing (carts of apples are wheeled through cities tossing apples to all)
Day Three: Jvelto
Day-long Drinking contests
"Polar bear club" festivities Priests, devotees and drinking contest participants leap into the ice cold waters in their skivvies.
Oysters and salmon served for breakfast
Fish frys and clam bakes - seafood served all day
Day Four: Soltana
Giving of your breakfast and a monetary donation to the poor.
Forgiving debts, renewing bonds and allegiances and prayer
Popular day for weddings
A day for lovers to exchange gifts.
Dancing in the evening; the women ask the men to dance, men aren´t allowed to ask the women.
The night is reserved for lovers.
Day Five: Torodin
Fortune tellings; traditional to have your fortune told for the following year.
All wear elaborate masks and costumes, parading through the streets, with jugglers and acrobats.
The parade starts at twilight and no lights are allowed to be lit in the city. The parade is for the poor, the young and the young at heart. The parade winds its way through the city streets til it reaches the site of the Ball, just before midnight.
The Masque Ball of Estereal begins at the same time as the parade and is generally attended by the upper crust; the wealthy, the high priests of the all the temples, merchants and the more dignified members of the community. At midnight, the high priest of Estereal leads the ceremony; the masks are removed, prayers are said, many, many lights are lit and bells are rung throughout the city symbolizing the light of truth illuminating all and the triumph of good over the powers of darkness. The elaborate outdoor ceremony lasts until daylight. In the larger cities the weather is controlled to ensure good weather for the Ball and the ceremony.
Other major holidays:
- 14 Railos (Feb)
Day of Redemption:
- Remembers Azkal´s repentance, Soltana´s forgiveness and Estereal´s wisdom. It is customary to go and confess your sins at the temple of your choice. Also this is a good day to confess things to friends and family, as all are supposed to remember the forgiveness of the gods.
- 20 Wajenio (March)
- Spring planting; clerics of Wajen bless the fields and livestock. Resolutions are customarily made for the coming year.
- 13 Enerio (April)
Festival of Fools:
- To appease, Athelstan the god of misfortune, people play tricks on each other, trying to create enough bad luck that Athelstan will leave them alone. In larger cities, there is traditionally a parade and festival, hosted by the temple of Torodin. The festivities are loosely based around the mocking of Athelstan.
- 1 Jvelton (May)
- Clerics of Jvelto travel about blessing wells, boat & ships, and watering holes of all sorts. This is includes places that serve food and drink. The general public celebrates this day tavern-hopping.
- 22 Dragonia (June)
- On the longest day of the year, The One, Estereal is honored. There are formal ceremonies from dawn until dusk. All priests of all non-evil deities must attend, demonstrating unity and allegiance to the leader of the pantheon. A midday feast when the sun is at its highest is served by the various priests to the public commemorating the Banquet of Estereal.
- 19 Azkala (July)
King Gerdant´s Birthday:
- Parades, festivals, jousting, dueling, archery contest. All poor are given a piece of silver. Nobles and the elite send gifts to the king, renewing their allegiance.
- 2 Soltar (Aug)
- Commemorates the marriage of Estereal and Soltana. Gifts exchange between lovers and couples. Also a popular day for weddings.
- 15 Glüst (Sept)
- Celebration of the return of magic to mortals. A day for mages to challenge each other for bragging rights; to put on shows to amaze and much feasting on magically enhanced food. Spellcasters traditionally leave a lock of hair along with a donation at the temples of Torodin and Soltana.
- 28 Bonvesti (Oct)
- A day to have a great feast and to give thanks for the harvest and other blessings. Lords of the manor host their tenets, families to gather and all the churches to have ceremonies.
- 17 Torodio (Nov)
- Honors the day on which Azkal rescued Torodin from the Abyss. Celebrated by giving tokens of appreciation to those who have helped you this passed year.
- 26 Lowin (Dec)
Day of the Dead:
- Prayers honoring and remembering the departed. Costumes are worn to trick Othniel and to scare away his nightmares. People give minor gifts to those in costume, symbolic of appeasing evil spirits.