The Mundan Calendar Picture

Here's the second piece for my Annwn worldbuilding project. This is the standard calendar used in Annwn and was originally developed in the temperate area of the western Mundan coast. Even though much of Annwn is tropical the calendar is used almost universally by governments and organizations after the Mercantile Guild, and later the Calathar city-states around the Gulf of Hubris where the Guild originates, adopted it as their official calendar for business. Often times it is used in conjunction with various local calendars by the general populace of any given region, but it's popularity stems from the fact that it is incredibly accurate and stable (much like why the Gregorian calendar everybody uses today replaced the Julian calendar that preceded it). The only exception to this is the continent of Antiquos where the orcish solar calendar is firmly entrenched (though it more or less coincides with the Mundan calendar so it's pretty easy to figure out any differences). It is a lunisolar calendar, meaning it takes into account both lunar and solar cycles. It is divided into twelve months each with four weeks consisting of seven days: 28 days per month, which is one lunar cycle. Every three months is an independent week known as a gwyl (pronounced "goil," as in foil but with a G). There are 364 days in the calendar, adding up to one solar year on Annwn (there is no leap year).

The gwyl is a week centered around a particular equinox and in much of western and northern Mund (as well as a few other regions) this week is taken off by the working class as a sort of semi-religious celebration. Yula is the exception to this as it involves seven days of gifts and bonfires (or the burning of large wooden effigies in some regions), and everybody likes gifts and burning stuff so pretty much everybody celebrates it. Usually the celebration involves feasting, drinking, games, tournaments, etc. Your standard pre-industrial merrymaking. In addition this calendar also contains several major Mundan holidays, as well as some from South Raxxas. From western Mund are the agricultural holidays called moots--one celebrated in the middle of each month--as well as the religious holidays Ymulgg, Ostalla, and Lusnachadd, the Elder's Sabbat, and the Wizard's Gala. From northern Mund are religious holidays called wassails. From southern Mund are agricultural holidays known as Mhalas. From the Calathar states are the Sailor's Banquet, Maiden's Feast (a religious holiday), and the infamous Carnival celebrated from the full to new moons of Thunder Gale. From South Raxxas are the Blossom Festival, the Lantern Festival, the Red Ribbon Fair, and the Ancestors Festival. In addition there are two holidays that were celebrating pretty much everywhere that were given standard dates in the calendar when it was adopted: the New Year Feast celebrated on the full moon of New Moon (first full moon of the new year) and the Harvest Fair celebrated on the last day of Wild Wither (ideally when the harvest should be completed in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere). I'll go over each of the major ones briefly, because who doesn't like holidays?

New Year Feast: Basically describes itself. Communities hold large feasts where family, friends, and neighbors all gather to eat, drink, and just have fun. Usually there are various local traditions that are upheld as well, but the act of taking a "New Year Oath" declaring a personal goal for the year to the community is one that has spread just about everywhere.

Ashmoot: Each family in the community has a log carved beforehand with religious symbols and brings it to a large bonfire. Each log is then blessed by the local priest or elder and is added to the flames (which sometimes have metal salts added to them to give them brilliant colors) and allowed to burn down to ashes. The ashes are then gathered and stored until the first seeds are sown in spring, at which point they are poured over the fields.

Candlemoot: The people of a community will light candles and torches and walk across the fields in a procession, and in some places will build a large wooden bear effigy in the field and burn it. Once the candles and torches (and maybe the effigy if they have one) have burned out there is usually a small feast of flatcakes and ale. This act symbolizes the return of the sun as the days begin to grow longer and the hope for bountiful crops during the coming season.

Meadmoot: Around this time of year the mead and ale that was started last year should be fully fermented and ready for consumption, so the community comes together to sample the alcohol and pour some on the fields as an offering to the land. Typically a large feast is also held along with drinking contests, games, and storytelling.

Wreathmoot: The arrival of spring is marked by the blooming of wildflowers, and during this holiday an outdoor feast is held in honor of lovers, children, and the arrival of new life. People make crowns of wildflowers and adorn the heads of friends, family, and the newly born livestock. The ashes from Ashmoot are spread over the fields, which will have already been tilled and sown by now.

Mirthmoot: By now the fields will either have begun to sprout or soon will, so the most difficult parts of rural life will be behind the people and they will be ready to celebrate. Families will have their own small feasts and any food that is not eaten will be buried in the community or family shrine's garden as an offering to the land in the hopes of a bountiful harvest and mild weather.

Rosemoot: Throughout western Mund roses grow wild and by now they will have undergone their first bloom. The people will gather them to make decorations, rose water, rose oil, and various cakes and sweets made from rose pedals. This is also the holiday when marriages are usually held and confessions of love are made.

Wiccemoot: In Annwn the term witch does not carry the same negative connotation it has unduly been given on Earth, and witches are generally very well received, though here they are still known by their original term wicce. Almost every community has at least one wicce or at least one living nearby (many prefer solitary lives) who acts as a healer and spiritual guide. During wiccemoot the people pay their respects to their local wicce (or if they have none then to wicce in general, though it would be unusual to not have one within a few hours journey) by bringing offerings of food and drink, helping maintain their homes, and by gathering herbs for them. The wicce usually also performs blessings on individuals and the fields in return.

Vendmoot: This holiday marks the arrival of traveling traders to many communities, and as such large open-air markets are often set up in larger villages, towns, and cities. People buy and sell all manner of goods--usually things they created themselves or things they no longer need--and craftsmen often offer their services at a discount or have sales on their merchandise. Basically vendmoot is a sort of mix of ancient Black Friday and garage sale days.

Faemoot: The people of western and northern Mund call the spirits of the land fae, and during this day, near the end of summer as the harvest draws near, they go into the wilderness and construct small shrines from local materials. They leave offerings of food, drink, flowers, herbs, pottery, cloth, and so on for the fae as a token of thanks for watching over their crops and the land. Most communities also sacrifice some of their best livestock and hold a feast in honor of the fae. Another common practice is also to leave bits of bread for the local wildlife.

Sheafmoot: With the harvest beginning this holiday is celebrated to give gratitude for what is hopefully a bounty and involves the binding of stalks of grain into sheafs, drinking, small family feasts, and the giving of small gifts as symbols of gratitude towards those that have been kind to you this year.

Bloodmoot: This holiday celebrates the completion of the harvest and the slaughtering of livestock. Most of it will be smoked or salted for the winter but some of it is used for a large community feast. Some of the sheafs from the previous moot will be dipped in the blood and used to paint the doorways of people's homes as a reminder of mortality and an invitation to the spirits of those who died during the year to return to their families to celebrate the coming of winter with them. The sheafs are then thrown on a bonfire which is kept going all night to encourage the return of the sun during the upcoming winter solstice when the days will begin to grow longer again.

Ravenmoot: This is the final moot of the year. The raven is a symbol of both death and rebirth to the people of western Mund, and with the falling of the leaves, browning of the grass, and coming of winter this moot is to celebrate the death of the land and encourage its rebirth in the coming spring. The people fast from dawn to dusk and hold a massive feast after the sun has set. Wooden raven effigies are burned and the leftovers will be set on the outskirts of the community for ravens to feast on the following day. By this time the last of the fall vegetable crops have been harvested and cornucopias are fashioned and left as offerings at the community or family shrine.

Ymulgg: This holiday is a dedication to the goddess Ruoluth of the Old Dwarven pantheon, a goddess associated with spring and fertility worshiped throughout much of western Mund. It is celebrated with a special feast that features mainly meat pies and dairy products, libations of milk and ale poured into rivers, streams, or the sea (or simply into the earth if no such bodies of water are nearby), and in many areas by practicing divination using the ashes from blessed hearths. Ceramic idols of Ruoluth are placed over candles set by windows or outside the front of the home facing the east so that the light shines through the eyes of the goddess and she can watch for the coming dawn and coming spring. Those who worship the Old Gods of the dwarves believe that by leaving a window or door open during Ymulgg the goddess will be invited into the home. They set up an altar to her on the hearth (or somewhere near a fire) and will leave near it items such as clothing and trinkets for her to bless. They also leave her a meal on the table and a place to sleep as a sign of respect and humility. Children will fashion dolls of her from bits of cloth and reeds and leave them by their beds as they sleep in the hopes that she will take the dolls and leave them treats. She never does, but the childrens' parents do. Ymulgg is always on the full moon of Bare Tree, which is typically considered around halfway between the Yula and Beltayn gwyls.

Ostalla: This holiday is a dedication to the goddess Ausoron of the Old Dwarven pantehon, a goddess associated with women, pleasure, and hunting. Her holiday is celebrated with a special feast made up entirely of wild foodstuffs and fresh game gathered and hunted from the local wilderness (in communities near rivers or the sea freshly caught fish and seafood are also used). Eggs are carefully cracked open at the top and used for making cakes left as offerings on a large communal altar constructed the day before (a common game amongst children is to see who can steal the most cakes over the course of the holiday without getting caught; this tradition is so old that Ausoron is now also associated with childish mischief). The eggshells are decorated, filled with soil and flower seeds, and hung in windows. Once the flowers growing in them bloom the shell is broken and they are planted around the front of the house. Unmarried young women often bake breads and give them as gifts to men they are interested in, and wives will do the same for their husbands and sons. The night after Ostalla is known as Lover's Eve and, as I'm sure the name implies, lots of people get laid on Ostalla. It is always celebrated on the full moon of Wild Bloom, the first full moon of spring.

Lusnachadd: This holiday is a dedication to the god Traurre of the Old Dwarven pantheon, a god associated with heroes, craftsmen, and leadership worshiped throughout much of northwestern Mund. Typical celebrations include athletic competitions, feats of strength, games, and drinking. In addition this holiday is considered a sacred time for matchmaking, entering contracts, and embarking on journeys. A sacrifice of livestock is made and a special feast is held at sundown, and often during this time drinking contests and games are held. It is also traditional for young men to climb hills, mountains, or large trees as a test of strength which is said to please Traurre. Those that make it to the top (or in the case of a large mountain those that make it furthest) are to bring back some kind of trophy and craft an effigy of Traurre to leave behind. Lusnachadd is always held during the full moon of Amber Field, the last full moon of the summer.

Wizard's Gala: Originally this was not a public holiday. The Fellowship of Wizardry, the guild for sorcerors and naturalists (as in early scientists, not as in practicioners of nature magics), began hosting an annual ball for prominent figures among the upper classes of western Mundan society in order to demonstrate their recent discoveries, inventions, and of course attempt to get investors for future research. In time other organizations began to host similar functions and began referring to them as "Wizard's Galas." This tradition continues and on this day prominent figures in the upper reaches of various societies throughout Mund will host their own Wizard's Galas in order to network and show off their wealth and prestige. The Fellowship of Wizardry also still hosts their ball on this day, though now it's less of a ball and more like TED or the World's Fair. This holiday is generally not celebrated in smaller rural communities and is most popular in the larger urban centers and capital cities.

Great Mother's Wassail: In northern Mund the people practice a very ancient duotheistic religion worshiping one nameless goddess and one nameless god. Ten days before the first day of spring they celebrate a great festival dedicated to the Great Mother known as a wassail. They gather in great halls and lodges and hold a massive feast, sometimes slaughtering half their livestock, and drink heavily. As the Great Mother is associated with the sky, moon, and water they also host competitions in things like archery, kite flying, sailing races, swimming contests, and bobbing for apples. Gifts are given to mothers, grandmothers, and daughters. Turnips and squash have grotesque faces carved in them and candles placed within them as a way to ward off evil spirits that may be attracted by the celebration. The mythology of this time is that the Great Mother will soon give birth to the next incarnation of herself the Great Father in spring and that the lengthening of the days heralds their rebirth. She will die in childbirth, as she always does, and her corpse will fertilize the land, allowing winter to end and life to return to the world.

Great Father's Wassail: An equal to the Great Mother, the Great Father is associated with the earth, the sun, and animals. Ten days before the first day of autumn the people of northern Mund hold a great celebration in honor of the Great Father. Communities engage in massive hunting expeditions known as Wild Hunts and bring home large game and trophies. The game is used for a great feast while the trophies are given as offerings to the Great Father. In order to prevent depopulation of game hunting is forbidden until late next spring, but in the mean time people compete to get the greatest trophies and largest game. Warrior engage in battles to the death and the belief is that the spirits of those that are killed will remain and protect the celebration from evil spirits. Games are held with competitions in things like log tossing, wrestling, foot races, rock smashing, and walking across coals. The mythology behind this celebration is that the Great Father will soon die in battle against Death, but will first consumate the love between himself and the Great Mother that grew during the spring as summer, thus ensuring that they are both reborn in defiance of Death.

Old Gods Wassail: Long before humans founded their first civilizations great dwarven kingdoms ruled over western Mund. They took humans as slaves, but eventually the humans rose against them and, armed with the fledgling arts of arcane magic taught to them by demons, conquered the dwarves. The long-lived dwarves of Mund never recovered from the centuries of constant warfare as the humans took their lands in what became known as The Stolen Empire, and eventually they died out nearly 2000 years ago. The dwarves are now gone, but their gods outlived them and are still worshiped by the humans that stole them. When the peoples of northern Mund pushed south and invaded the long-since human kingdoms of western Mund and eventually conquered northwestern Mund. Over the centuries the conquerers and conquered blended into a new group--Midlanders--and their religions blended with them. A syncretic religion centered around a reintreptation of the Old Dwarven pantheon and the development of new traditions eventually developed. The Old Gods Wassail is one of those traditions. It is a celebration of the gods through hunting, feasting, sacrificing, and games.

Ghai'Shalu Mhala: This holiday was originally not even celebrated by humans. The babiw (singular babi; pronounced "bob-you" and "bob-eye" respectively) are large, mandrill-like primates that had their intelligent increased with magic by ancient humans thousands of years ago during the dawn of Kidan civilization in south Mund. The idea was to make them intelligent enough to be useful as slaves, but not intelligent enough to rebel agains their human masters (who styled themselves as gods to the babiw). This failed miserably as the babiw ended up sapient beings just as intelligent as the humans, and did in fact rebel against them. After more or less destroying the civilization that created them they scattered across Mund and later Antiquos. Most settled in less hospitable regions where they could drive the natives out and defend themselves from attack (or simply colonized regions that nobody lived in or wanted), but some settled on the island of Ghai just off Mund's southeastern coast. With no significant resources to speak of and difficult terrain the babiw were able to thrive without threat of human encroachment and were free to start a civilization of their own. That civilization began to celebrate Ghai'Shalu: Journey to Ghai. It's a celebration of the babiw's freedom from slavery and a reminder of their diaspora. Many humans in southern Mund now also celebrate the holiday as a celebration of freedom from slavery in general: after the Babiw Rebellion slavery would never again be tolerated in Mund. Modern Ghai'Shalu is also a celebration of heritage, regardless of species. How it is celebrated differs from place to place, but one common practice is the ritual breaking of chains and the scattering of their links into the sea.

Maiden's Feat: Almost 2500 years ago the Gulf of Hubris was once a vast inland sea that was dominated by the Empire of Calathis. The Calathar's power came from a being from the celestial plane they worshiped as a god, and in turn it granted them tremendous magical power that would otherwise be beyond the grasp of any mortal on the material plane. As the empire grew in size and strength it's leaders grew in their avarice and arrogance. The last emperor, Anaraxos, had sorcerors from the west construct a great machine for him, known as the Cosmic Engine. The Engine was capable of creating a tunnel through the aether into the celestial plane and drawing tremendous amounts of energy directly into the material plane. Anaraxos had the Engine used to ensnare the Calathar's "god" and take from it more power than it ever lent them of its own free will. Over the remaining 34 years of his reign he stole ever more power from the celestial until, finally, it died. The other celestials, concerned that this civilization of such fragile, small-minded creatures now had the capability to actually kill one of them, swiftly retaliated with a natural disaster that came to be known as The Wrath. The eastern coast of mund was eradicated in an instant, letting the ocean wash in and swallow what was once the coast of an inland sea. The resulting body of water was named the Gulf of Hubris, and the Calathar Empire was no more. Many centuries later a young woman, whose name is lost to time, set out on a journey to the peak of the Redrock Highlands to beg the celestials' forgiveness on her people's behalf. The Heavenly Court answered her pleas, and their form was so intense that her eyes boiled out of her skull. Though she was now blind to the mundane, she could clearly see the path to redemption. She returned to her people as the Blind Maiden and delivered unto them Salvation, freeing them from over a thousand years of barbarism and despair. Her teachings became the basis of a new religion in which adherents work to redeem themselves in the eyes of the celestial's Heavenly Court and win back their favor, and their trust. Every year, thirty days after the beginning of spring, the people of the Calathar city-states hold feasts in her honor as a way of giving thanks for the opportunity of redemption and for saving them from eternal barbarism. They attend mass at their local reliquary, offer alms to the poor, light candles from and sing hymns around a holy fire, and breaking clay effigies of Anaraxos with blessed hammers.

I hope that wasn't too much, I had a lot of fun making up holidays! If you want to know more about them or more about the holidays I didn't mention just ask!
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