Valadae has Festivals too!

So here we are. We’ve entered that time of year again. The time of Christmas season celebrations, followed by New Year revelries (two of the world’s most celebrated festivals).

There’s no denying the integral part festivals play in the societies and cultures of the world. Whether a social expression of religious significance, the seed of historical remembrance, or simply a celebrated event tailored to specific cultures, festivals mark our lives with an inspiring permanence.

Laeka'Draeon and friends get a taste of the Christmas spirit!

Laeka’Draeon and friends get a taste of the Christmas spirit!

Festivals hold a similar sway in the kingdoms and cultures of my fictional world, Valadae, as well. And, without the superficial flamboyance and often degrading bulk of commercialism found in the societies of our present world, the festivals of Valadae remain close to their origins of spiritual and event-inspired connotations and root meanings.

Considering the number of sentient creature-kinds that celebrate various festivals throughout the cycle of seasons, it would take far too long to delve into the details of the numerous celebratory events, and their traditions. So instead, I’ll indulge you—the curious reader—with some insights into the two festivals most universally celebrated by Valdalians at this time of year (in line with our Christmas, and New Year).

SPAN DESNEN

Span Desnen (the ‘closure/ completion of this given cycle of seasons’) is one of the most universally celebrated festivals in Valadae. Held at the end of the cycle (the Valadilian term for ‘year’), in Ishtholi, the season of closing (the equivalent to our ‘Winter’) the festival begins on the first quarter moon evening of Meloss.

The festival advents with a special ceremony called yen’sa, or the Release of Wishes, which involves the symbolic letting go of past grievances and the seeding of hopes for the next cycle of seasons.

Carving/ purchasing two carved figurines (usually in the shape of a seed and a bird—things figuratively synonymous with hope/ potential, and emotional release/ freedom), an individual will speak over the bird effigy, and vent out all their pains, grievances, hurts and regrets (an emblematic transfer from soul to offering). They will then speak over the seed, expressing all their hopes and desires and positive intentions for the next cycle of seasons.

Either gathering with family, friends or community, individuals then throw their wooden bird carvings into a communal pyre (symbolically cleansing their negative inclinations by burning their sealed words to ash and releasing them to the wind), and then find a place in the soil and ‘plant’ their wooden seeds (a physical act to express the hopes of the heart).

After the evening of yen’sa comes thirteen days of celebrations, honouring the thirteen fulons that complete a cycle (‘year’). Activities differ depending on creature-kind customs and location, but each of the fulons are assigned to a day (always in order), and each of the activities and feasts are themed around the season celebrated.

Fireworks are popular, as is ice-sculpting and tree-decorating (ice and snow events obviously restricted to regions that accommodate such weather).

Trees like this are decorated with coloured ribbons, knots of leather, feather and shell strings, and even painted bones!

Trees like this are decorated with coloured ribbons, knots of leather, feather and shell strings, and even painted bones!

 

Those with the time and talent will go to great lengths to sculpt figures like this in honour of Span Desnen.

Those with the time and talent will go to great lengths to sculpt figures like this in honour of Span Desnen.

On the thirteenth evening, to conclude the Span Desnen celebrations, public chants are held, where families and individuals can gather and sing the songs of tradition, as well as new odes inspired by the cycle’s notable events (battles, natural disasters, the death of a ruler, the great deed of an individual etc.)

Out of all the festivals in Valadae, Span Desnen is the longest-running and most anticipated.

FESTIVAL OF THE MAKING

Another of Valadae’s most celebrated festivals, and arguably the one steeped heaviest in spiritual significance is the Festival of The Making.

The festival marks the first span of the new cycle, and celebrates the birth of new beginnings, and—in accordance with Valadae’s prevalent religious views—the acknowledgement and celebration of the Maker, and the creation of all things.

As one would assume, the festival starts on the first day of Orpious (the fulon of Awakening), and is celebrated over an eight day period, in representation of the eight Words the Maker spoke which formed all things: Light, Space, Motion, Sound, Heat, Colour, Form, and Manna (manna being the breath of the Maker, also known as the Three Strands).

While more linear in activities and traditions than Span Desnen, this festival is a notable rival when it comes to visual splendours. Music and colour play an essential role in the celebrations; individuals don themselves in costumes and colours that represent the Words, and will often participate in re-tellings of The Making, through organised interpretive dance routines and/ or choirs.

Children, equipped with streamer-spangled kites, run around merrily, pretending to be the Threads of Manna that spread life into the world, and papery prayer lanterns light the night skies and rivers, bearing away the prayers, praises and ponderings of those wishing to give their thoughts a more physical expression.

Paper lantern traditions are a dazzling visual spectacle (I love this scene from Tangled).

Paper lantern traditions are a dazzling visual spectacle (I love this scene from Tangled).

The festival ends on the day marking the creation of the Third Strand (the Strand who fell to pride and became Corruption), where individuals dress or accessorize in red (a reminder that Corruption is in all), and set up effigies covered in red streamers on pyres, ready to burn them with white fire at the setting of the sun (to demonstrate that while Corruption is in all, it will never overcome the cleansing power the other Strands).

In short, the Festival of The Making highlights Valadae’s recognition of the wonders of creation, the influence of corruption, and the power of redemption.

 

Make sure to take the time to consider and appreciate the true heart and soul of Christmas, this very special annual ‘festival’ of ours. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! 😉

Advertisements

About whimsicalwerecat

In short - Creative extraordinaire, warrior princess, dragon-lover, anime enthusiast, partisan of fantastical things, and most assuredly and proudly peculiar!
This entry was posted in General, Information and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Valadae has Festivals too!

  1. Span Desnen sounds interesting! I especially like the touch of the ceremonial bird and seed carvings — that sounds like it has a lot of interesting moments attached. Both with people confessing their deep hopes and regrets, and with clumsier types struggling to carve a bird that actually looks like a bird.

    Are there particular festival foods in Valadae? Or just general lavish meals?

    • I’m happy you enjoyed the post! There’s more to each of the festivals, but it would have made the post too long, so I just summarised them.
      Lol, yes it’s fun to image how different individuals go about participating, and many like to personalise their experience, so self-made lanterns and carvings are popular.
      Food plays a big role in most Valadilian festivals, but the types of foods served really depends on the creature-kind.
      Fauns and Satyrs, for example, serve incredible platters of roasted vegetables, all stuffed with what they call ‘shuum cream’, which isn’t really a cream at all, but a thickly blended paste of mushrooms and herbs. They only serve shuum cream during festivals.
      Fellis, on the other hand (being predominantly meat and insect eaters), will serve cooked marshland moths, smothered in a specialized nectar sauce (quite the delicacy, apparently). Again, this particular food is only served during their big festivities (like Span Desnen).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s