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Activities and Names for Feast Days:

 1 kassyopeia, Wed, 3rd Oct '12 3:52:11 AM from terrae nullius

I've established the framework of my yearly calendar, but I'd like to add feast days to it - both to make things a bit more interesting generally, and because there is no fixed day of rest, no equivalent to our Sunday or Sabbath, so an unfixed equivalent in the form of a holiday is needed.

The framework divides the 36.5-day-long year into six seasons of six days each; each of those days lasts about 60 Earth-hours. The extra half-day is a nod to our 365-day-long year, and is accounted for by intercalating a standalone three-day block every six years.

The year begins at the equivalent of the summer solstice, and the first three seasons are collectively considered to be summer and named on the basis of the agricultural cycle, while the last three seasons are collectively considered to be winter and named on the basis of the cold temperatures. Autumn isn't recognized as a season at all, and spring only lasts a few days (the planet heats up from a wintery to a summery climate in a matter of days, due to the nature of the planetary orbit), which are considered a transitional time rather than a season in its own right, thus the two-way rather than the familiar four-way split.

Below are the names of the seasons, intended to be mostly self-explanatory, and what little I've come up with regarding the feasts for each:

  • Thrive (early summer)
    • "Bonfire night" - This is the only one that really makes sense to me so far, which is why it's quite well-defined already. On the one hand, this is the only of the six seasons in which it doesn't rain throughout the first half of the night. On the other hand, this is the season in which there'd be fresh vegetables for the first time, after subsisting on increasingly stale food stores during the winter. And it's the first season of the new year, so there should be some associations in the vein of "spring cleaning" and "rebirth" and such. So, everyone assembles around a bonfire, which literally and figuratively consumes the remnants of the old year to make way for the new, during the time after dusk which people usually spend indoors to avoid getting soaked, and eat lots of scrumptious greens.
  • Yield (mid summer)
    • "Midsummer day" - Have to have one of those, right? Some sort of harvest festival, presumably.
  • Harrow (late summer)
    • "Harrowe'en" - The season is called that because ploughing and planting is almost entirely done at the end of the growing season, so that things can sprout as soon as the ground thaws. The name is a word-play on "Hallowe'en".
  • Hoar (early winter)
    • "Hoarfrost night" - Named partly just to harmonize with "bonfire night", since the others form natural pairs as well. Celebrates (or in recognition of, anyway) the first frost of the year.
  • Yule (mid winter)
    • "Midwinter Day" - Again, no reason to pass that one up. Some sort of Christmas-equivalent, presumably.
  • Thaw (late winter)
    • "Thawe'en" - Wordplay on "Sauin". Celebrates the first thaw of the year.

The two Midsomething Days would have fixed dates, the third or fourth (which?) days of their seasons. The other four would have variable dates, depending on when the thing that's being celebrated (first harvest/?/frost/thaw) happens to occur that year.

I'm not attached to those names, though their symmetry does appeal to me, admittedly. If people have good ideas for themes that don't go with those, I don't much mind changing some or even all of them.

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 2 kassyopeia, Wed, 3rd Oct '12 2:27:24 PM from terrae nullius

I did a lot long Wiki Walk on this subject matter in the interim, and these are the notes I took on the types of activities typical of pre-Christian European (Celtic and Germanic, mostly) festivals, for my own and everyone else's reference:

- Rites related to death and the dead. Here, that could mean performing the second stages of the funeral rites, i.e. scattering the ashes and digging up and setting adrift the bones.

- Making and, often, destroying effigies, usually with mythical significance.

- Contests of crafts, music, sports, and the like.

- Making and consuming alcohol and other mild or not so mild drugs.

- Flowers can be used to time the festivals and can be used in the festivals, usually as garlands and wreaths and those sorts of decorations.

- Betrothals, handfastings, weddings.

- Hearth rituals, such as extinguishing all fires in the house, spending a cold night, and relighting them from scratch or from a source with some kind of special significance the next morning.

- First sightings of hibernating animals can, like flowers, be used for timing. Think Groundhog Day.

- There were traditionally three harvest festivals, which would match my system perfectly, at first glance. The first was known as First or Grain or Bread Harvest and celebrated in the middle of summer (early August). The second was known as Main or Fruit or Wine Harvest and celebrated in early autumn (late September). The third was ominously known as Blood Harvest and celebrated in the middle of autumn )early November). The reason for that last one's name is that this was the time of the year when domestic animals had to be brought in from the pastures into the stables, where they had to be fed from the winter feed stores. Thus, this was the time when most of the slaughtering was done, in order not to waste any of that feed.

That should give us something to work with, at least for a start. smile

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 3 m8e, Thu, 4th Oct '12 12:42:06 PM from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
This is kind of off topic but I played around with this orbital period calculator.

Distanced from star: mass of star(in suns): Orbital time

1 au: 16.017 suns: 2190.00 hours

2 au: 128.136 suns: 2190.00 hours

3 au: 432.46 suns :2190.00 hours

4 aU: 1025 suns: 2190.1 hours

Going to be a very bright place. You can of course ignore this if you want.

edited 4th Oct '12 12:48:07 PM by m8e

Carpe by all means diem, but not all diem are worth carpe.
You might have to miss half of tomorrow to catch the whole today.
 4 kassyopeia, Thu, 4th Oct '12 1:06:47 PM from terrae nullius

It's a highly eccentric orbit with a perihelion of ~0.1 AU and an aphelion of ~1.0 AU, which is why "spring" is so short. The orbit is about a binary with a combined mass of 5/3 solar masses, the majority of which is locked into a compact object with negligible luminosity, which is why the planet doesn't get fried.

I keep stating the length of the year, expecting people to just accept it, and people keep pointing out that it looks fishy. I guess I should make it a point to explain it straight away in the future, instead of unintentionally making those people waste their time.

My apologies. smile

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 5 kassyopeia, Fri, 5th Oct '12 11:31:34 AM from terrae nullius

More:

- Naming, presentation, initiation rites for children etc.

- Symbolic acts of planting and building.

- Wearing of finery, unusual clothes, costumes and masks.

- Processions, usually to show off one thing or another.

- Games, in the Roman sense. Plays, in the theatrical sense.

- Bird migrations, again for timing, and possibly as the source of a feast if there's a way to kill a bunch.

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 6 Rem, Fri, 5th Oct '12 10:01:53 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
I'm not entirely convinced that your planet is habitable, assuming real world physics apply.

The sun in question would be much hotter than ours, the planet would be closer to the sun than venus is in our solar system. Having such long days might be able to remedy this, assuming that the planet is at such a size that, while the daylight is bright and radioactive, the intense heat keeps the nights warm afterwards. It all depends on the heat output and the size of the planet, really. Also of note: Both of the seasons (Winter and Summer) would have to be extremely unbearable, with one perhaps being more harsh than the other. This would be accomplished by an atmosphere that's split between repelling and letting free the heat of summer from frying everything with radiation and accepting and retaining enough heat during the winters (When they would be ten times as distant from the sun) to keep the air gaseous, or at least liquid. Though a planet that grows a shell every winter which then melts into air would look pretty cool, I must admit.

I am curious as to why you have the seasons based on distance from the sun rather than axis. The axis thing would be pretty straightforward, really—rather than the sun being a normal Dwarf Star and the planet mocking Mercury for being a wimp who can't stand a little heat, it would just wobble a lot. I get that you're doing your own thing, and it's kind of cool how it's the opposite of Earth, but I don't understand your decision all that well. But whatever floats your boat.
Fire, air, water, earth...legend has it that when these four elements are gathered, they will form the fifth element...boron.
 7 kassyopeia, Sat, 6th Oct '12 2:26:28 AM from terrae nullius

Absolutely speaking, the binary is effectively cooler than our Sun. The primary has a mass of 3/5 solar masses, with the corresponding main-sequence spectral class (K) and radius (~0.7 solar radii), and thus luminosity, which works out to be about 10% of the solar luminosity. The remainder of the mass is, as I said, locked into a compact object, specifically a medium-cool (spectral class DC) White Dwarf, which is bright but so small that it doesn't make any noticeable contribution.

That said, the binary as it appears in the planet's sky would indeed be quite a bit more intense than our Sun appears in Earth's, for a period from a few days before to a few days after perihelion. At Earth's temperate latitudes, the change in insolation between summer and winter is a factor of a little below 10 (yes, it really is that much). The theoretical difference in seasonal equilibrium temperatures due to that change should be on the order of 50% (150 degrees Kelvin), but the combined dampening effect of heat buffering and heat transfer reduces that to an actual difference of a mere 10% (30 K).

On my planet, the change in insolation between perihelion and aphelion is a little below 100. The theoretical temperature variation would be on the order of 100% (300 K). I estimate the dampening effect to be about the same as it is for Earth, since the buffers are essentially similar, and the transfer within each hemisphere somewhat more efficient due to a more dominant Hadley Cell, which compensates for the absence of any transfer between hemispheres due to the seasons' being global instead of hemispherical as on Earth. So, everything else being equal, a good guess at the actual temperature changes over the course of the year would be 20% (60 K).

However, all else is not equal - the year is only a quarter as long. On Earth, the seasons lag behind the extremes in insolation by about six weeks, which is why we use the solstices to mark the start, rather than the middle, of summer and winter. On my planet, perihelion and aphelion itself are only six Earth-weeks apart. Consequently, that 20% temperature variation never gets a chance to fully materialize. The perihelial phase of the orbit just doesn't last long enough for the buffers to fill up all the way, which depresses the summer temperatures further, and similarly the aphelial phase of the orbit just doesn't last long enough for the buffers to empty all the way, which keeps the winter temperaturs from dropping as far as they otherwise might. So, 15% variation should be closer to the mark. I've actually done some (admittedly extremely rough) numerical modelling, and these are the seasonal temperatures projected by that model, calibrated to an annual gobal mean of 15 degree Celsius, just as on Earth:

 ThriveYieldHarrowHoarYuleThaw
Lat 0050.0 C39.9 C27.7 C16.2 C7.2 C16.5 C
Lat 1548.6 C38.5 C26.4 C15.0 C6.0 C15.2 C
Lat 3044.3 C34.3 C22.3 C11.1 C2.2 C11.3 C
Lat 4536.3 C26.6 C14.9 C4.0 C-4.7 C4.2 C
Lat 6023.2 C13.9 C2.7 C-7.8 C-16.1 C-7.6 C
Lat 75-0.2 C-8.8 C-19.1 C-28.7 C-36.4 C-28.5 C

The biggest difference to Earth is that equatorial and tropical summers are a bit heftier than those on Earth. Essentially, this compensates for the colder poles, which unlike Earth's never get any direct sunlight to speak of whatsoever (then again, the sky never gets dark at all, either).

So, no liquefaction of the atmosphere in the offing, I'm afraid. Does that put your concerns to rest, for the most part?

As to the why, I decided on a whim that a different kind of seasons might be interesting, with "interesting" turning to "awesome" if as a side-effect there is a visible change to the appearance of the sun(s) in the sky (to their sizes, in this case), as opposed to just to their paths across it. I wasn't all that confident that this would be viable at first myself, but eventually came across this article which fairly decisively establishes that it indeed is.

To my surprise, the biggest challenge my planet seems to face is actually due to the tidal effects exerted by the binary around perihelion, which can grow to almost one thousand times the magnitude of those our Moon exerts on Earth. Permanent settlements below 1 km above sea-level don't seem feasible at all, as they'd just be periodically deluged by the water tides, and the effects of the air tides (significant pressure changes) and ground tides (quakes) need to be carefully taken into account. If, that is, I want to keep this all the way on the hard side of the scale. I daresay most readers don't really think about ground tides and have never even heard of air tides, so I ought to be able to get away with quite a bit of fudging in those regards without making things seems any less plausible. tongue

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 8 Rem, Sat, 6th Oct '12 5:53:36 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
[up][up][up][up] Here you said it was 5/3 of the Sun's size, which is where I got thrown off I think. Sorry.

The other stuff seems to check out, and you've put more thought into this than I have, so I'll trust what you've said to be true, though if I think of anything you haven't thought of or see any glaring flaws I'll let you know.

Out of curiosity, is this going to be supplementary material that you'll use as information for you to have but the reader not to (Assuming it's a piece of fiction with a storyline, rather than just a complex world you're building for some other purpose), or will it be incorporated into the story?
Fire, air, water, earth...legend has it that when these four elements are gathered, they will form the fifth element...boron.
 9 kassyopeia, Sun, 7th Oct '12 12:52:46 AM from terrae nullius

If anything, I'm the one who needs to apologize fore being too lazy to and/or reluctant to better explain things right away. Binary = Primary + Secondary = Orange Dwarf + White Dwarf, 5/3 = 3/5 + 16/15. The numbers were meant to be whimsical rather than cause confusion, my bad.

Please do let me know if anything that doesn't appear to make sense occurs to you. At worst, I'll have to add it to my "list of things to ignore by invoking creative licence". smile

This is for a Planetary Romance/non-Tolkienesque Fantasy kind of novel. I'm working out the setting in as much detail and with as much scientific rigor as I can, because IMO going that route from a high-concept premise ultimately gives the world a much richer and more robust feel than just making up each detail independently and arbitrarily. The humanoid protagonists are on a level of development broadly comparable to the Ancient Egyptians or the Inca, and I don't plan on doing any omniscient narration, so the reader will see this world only through the eyes of people who are largely pre-scientific and interpret much of it in religious terms. Ergo, there won't be anything like "Today was the day of perihelion, on which the binary appeared 81 times bigger in the sky than it did at aphelion, and on which temperature maxima of above 60 degrees Celsius weren't unknown", but instead something like "When Bhen stepped out of the door of her roundhouse on the first foremorn of the new year, she glanced up to see that Altar's Eye had once more drawn closer the the face of Eden than it was wont to do at any other time of the lustre. Today would be a hot day, and it would be a long day, and she had better make the most of the relative cool of the morning."

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
In my Religion 101 class I took a couple years ago the professor talked about how holidays and rituals are somewhat connected to retelling/reenacting myths. If you've got any of that aspect of the world set up you can associate some of the myths and legends with certain holidays.
3DS Friend Code: 2681-0594-7489
 11 kassyopeia, Tue, 9th Oct '12 10:59:31 AM from terrae nullius

I thought about that, but came up blank. My religion is really simplistic (in-universe, I mean, not in terms of insufficient world-building), with an Earth-mother/Sky-father divine couple and nothing in the way of angels or demons or avatars or messiahs. Thus, there is only one religious myth, which is their version of Genesis. That one tells the story of how the Goddess and God met and fell in love, and is thus the one that's ritually re-enacted at weddings.

They do have plenty of stories, but those are all historical, or perhaps legendary, if it qualifies as a legend if there is no mystical aspect to it. And there is a strong oral tradition as well, with one "act" of their story cycle being told aloud during the lengthy (about 10 hours, in human terms) evening period in which everyone gathers to eat the evening meal and socialize.

So, yes, I suppose they might well put on plays based on the highlights of that cycle for the feast days. Unfortunately, the cycle itself is still large a blank slate, as far as the author is concerned. But I guess I don't actually have to come up with any details just to schedule the plays as such, for the time being. Thanks! smile

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 12 kassyopeia, Wed, 10th Oct '12 11:17:58 AM from terrae nullius

Building on the notes above and on my brand new calendar, these are my rough thoughts. No reason to change the original names, so far.

  • Bonfire Night
    • Timing: Evening following the day on which the olmond blossoms fall.
    • Festival of fertility and birth: Marks the end of The Rut and children returning from an initiation trial in Years of the Myrrhatel, and marks the end of that brief period of the luster in which childbirths occur. In the other four years, something more symbolic takes the place of those.
    • Associated element is fire: the perihelial suns, and of course the bonfire.
    • Associated food is wine: from the previous season's ant harvest (this is a honey-like animal product now, so no aging is required).
  • Midsummer Day
    • Timing: Day after the evening on which the vigileaf bractlets ripen, that is to say, redden.
    • High Holiday of Altar Allfather: In the morning, procession to the league capital, showing off the quality of the steading's output and symbolically supplying the town with food. In the nooning, all manner of outdoors contests and games once there. In the afternoon, recession (heh) to the steadings, symbolically supplied with things made only in town.
    • Associated element is air: the seasonally ubiquitous butterflies and moths which feed on (and in process distribute the seeds of) most of the ferms around then.
    • Associated food is vigileaf: from the previous evening's harvest of the last (and strongest) fresh leaflets of the year.
  • Harrowe'en
    • Timing: Afternoon of the last day of the flourcane harvest.
    • Festival of handfastings: Weddings happen then.
    • Associated element is water: this is autumn, and autumn is wet - in this case, not because it rains more but because it is no longer warm enough for stuff to dry quickly.
    • Associated food is bread: from the morning's harvest.
  • Hoarfrost Night
    • Timing: Evening of the last day of the olmond harvest.
    • Festival of handpartings: Divorces happen then (this puts the longest possible amount of time between leaving an old and entering a new romantic commitment).
    • Associated element is ice: the first frost.
    • Associated food is olmonds: from the day's harvest.
  • Midwinter Day
    • Timing: 18 days after Midsummer Day.
    • Wholesome Holiday of Eden Earthmistress: All manner of indoor contests and games. Particularly, all villagers collaborate in painting one of the six faces of the "lustral budgenought", a block of adobete weighing around two tons, in the annual colour and decorating it with items connected with and representations of events of the past year. At the end of the lustre, the budgenought is, despite its name, budged into its allocated place, namely as part of a new pyramine. When the old one begins to crumble after two millenia or so, the new one is ready just in time.
    • Associated element is rock; the budgenought.
    • Associated food is mead: from the summer's bindsweet harvest, which takes half a year to ferment.
  • Thawe'en
    • Timing: First afternoon on which the ground warms enough to exhume the bones, thus also day before the ant harvest.
    • Festival of death: Remembering the dead as their remains are disposed of for the second and final time.
    • Associated element is ash: the ashes of burnt corpses are scattered over the fields.
    • Associated food is cheese: from the summer's milkwort harvest, which takes half a year to ripen.

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
 13 kassyopeia, Thu, 11th Oct '12 4:04:26 AM from terrae nullius

Ah, yes, and this covers the two remaining items:

Each steading has a central hearth (the one used to roast the ellefants twice a day, among other things) which is kept alight almost year-round. Each steading's finest builder spends the six days between Bonfire Night and Midsummer Day fashioning one body part for an effigy of Altar Allfather. A given steading always makes the same part, and the name of that steading will incorporate that - "Left Hand Valley", "Forearm Grove", that sort of thing. The league capital always makes the head, of course.

On Midsummer Day, these parts then form the centerpieces of the precessions, and assembling them into the God's symbolic presence marks the climax of the festivities. The effigy remains at the capital for the remainder of the year, as a mark of the unity of the league.

On Thawe'en, the central fires are ritually extinguished everywhere, which is not a problem because temperatures rapidly increase to (often uncomfortably) warm levels soon afterwards, and because the hearths in the individual roundhouses may be kept. It just means no communal roasts, for the time being.

On Bonfire Night, each steading sends its fastest runner to the capital, where the effigy has been placed in the middle of the pyre. It is lit at sunset, and each runner lights a torch and carries it back to their steading that night and relights the communal hearth, thus establishing another handful of symbolically relevant connections: The God becomes Prometheus, giving fire to His people, each steading's hearth is made part of the league's meta-hearth, as the steadings gave to the captial, so now the capital gives to the steadings, the effigy is renewed just as the year renews itself, and so is the fire, and so on. Nice.

Finally, this now halves the annual festival cycle in the third possible way, the first two halvings being thos into summer and winter (Bonfire Night thru Harrowe'en, Hoarfrost Night thru Thawe'en) and into the qualities of the associated elements, wet (air-water-ice, Midsummer Day thru Hoarfrost Night) and sere (rock-ash-fire, Midwinter Day thru Bonfire Night). The above scheme ties together the festivals from Thawe'en thru Midsummer Day, so I just need something to tie those from Harrowe'en thru Midwinter day together in a similar fashion to tie a bow on this. smile

ETA: Never mind, I've already created the "budgenought" scheme and attached it to Midwinter Day. All I need do is to deepen that object's connection to Eden Earthmistress, which is a no-brainer since adobete is pretty much earth, and stretch out its ritual manufacture and decoration over the other two festivals, which should hardly present a problem. Woot!

edited 11th Oct '12 4:14:57 AM by kassyopeia

Soon the Cold One took flight, yielded Goddess and field to the victor: The Lord of the Light.
Horizontilateral thinker
[up][up][up] sometimes though, old tales and legends get exadurated by those who tell them and can thus become mystical. such as say, a massacre, those who survive would be terrified and atribute terrible and powerfull descriptions to the invaders, and their children would remember how their parents or parent changed from that experience, perhaps giving them the idea that a curse had been put apon them or something like that; which leaves tales of evil giants that terrorize villages and rituals of sacrifice. such tales could also get combined with other similar tales, which could change it in nearly any direction and give an even more misterious quality to the tale so in time people have no clue when the mythological (now flying) evil giants came from.

edited 1st Nov '12 8:38:42 AM by zoraxbrooks

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