Holidays and Festivals occupy a prominent place in a changeling's life. These times of celebration not only serve as times when mortals move a little closer to the Dreaming, they also serve as a time for the Kithain to remember the traditions these holidays honor and this brings them back in touch with their lost past.
Importance of Holidays
The fae use holidays as an excuse to use Glamour, thereby putting it back into a world leeched of its vivifying energies. Also, they are occasions during in which Banality and disbelief are at an ebb-flow, as most celebrations, in defying reason, are innately supernatural in aspect. As such, changelings and humans may interact without fear of attracting too much Banality. Children believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny and adults get to act as if they do too for a short time, or at least in the symbols of gifts and replenishment, and live brief periods of rekindling the fires of the imagination. Some changelings believe that if every day were a holiday, mortals could finally lose all care and rationalizations and dream freely once more.
The changeling calendar holds many holidays because, as in medieval times, it is a way to keep track of the pacing of the year. Before the Shattering festivals marked the cycle of Seelie and Unseelie rule. Since the Resurgence, many of the old traditions have fallen aside, but the forms remain constant as the seasons progress. New holidays have arisen to take the place of old ones but the procession of festivals continues.
During certain times of the year, those of these major festivals, all Kithain gather to celebrate the Dreaming. The following festivals are held in common by both Courts and are the major holidays of Changeling life.
- Yule, December 21 or 22nd, is the longest night of the year
- Midwinter's Night, January 13th, is the beginning of the celebration of Imbolc
- Imbolc, February 2nd, is a celebration of the Balefire
- Carnival, February 28th, celebrates the unity between the Nobles and Commoners
- Vernal Equinox, March 21st, is the celebration of Spring
- The Greening, April 4th, informally celebrates the beginning of Spring
- Beltaine, May 2nd, traditionally marked the beginning of the Seelie half of the year
- Midsummer, June 23, celebrates the longest day of the year
- Highsummer Night, July 17th, celebrates freedom
- Lughnasa, August 1st, Is a celebration of the Shadow Court remembering King Lugh
- Autumnal Equinox, September 21st, is the celebration of Autumn
- Pennons, October 4th, celebrates the arts of war
- Samhain, October 31st, traditionally celebrates the beginning of the Unseelie half of the year
- From Damien Phole, eshu culturalist
In addition to the usual changeling holidays such as Carnival, Pennons, and Imbolc, commoners have a few festivals all their own. You'd be right in thinking most nobles turn up their noses at the very thought of these affairs. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the Beltaine Blade eventually made trouble at one of these holidays.
- Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th, celebrates Commoner independence.
- Boxing Day, December 26th, celebrates noble and commoner ties.
- Homstrom, February 3rd, is a Galacian Confederation Holiday.
- May Day, May 1st, celebrates working Commoners.
- Nizhniy Novgorod, after Lughnasa, is a festival of the Russian Fae.
- House Warming - A boggan celebration of a new home.
- Labor Day - A holiday near and dear to boggan hearts
- Spring Cleaning - A boggan celebration that can do much to heal a hurting household.
- Harvest Festival - A boggan celebration of plenty
- Night of the Embers - A melancholy boggan celebration.
- Festival of Alysoun - A festival in honor of the Wife of Bath. Now called Shipping Day.
- The Tragoidia - a Satyr celebration of death and life.
- Torgail Ainn- the Dougal coming-of-age ceremony.
- Holidays of Hawaii
- Holidays of Pacifica
- The Riddle Contest, July 4th, is a world-renowned festival at The Fool's Gambit in Boston.
General Coming-of-Age Ceremonies
The fae mark the transitions from one Seeming to another in special ways.
- Saining- the ritual by which a new changeling learns their True Name.
- Togail an Ainm- the ritual by which a changeling moves into their new Seeming.
- Fior-Righ- a noble ritual deeming House worthiness.
In addition to the calendar festivals, the Fae celebrate other events as well.
- The Royal Lottery: When a monarch steps down, dies a natural death, or falls victim to Banality, a successor must be chosen. This is done by lottery. Changelings come from miles around to hear the Dukes and Duchesses declare candidates for the vacancy before the nobles cast lots to choose who will rule. These events usually take place in the Monarch's glen.
- Weddings: Weddings among the fae are times for great joy and festivity. While some may marry for life, others marry for a lunar year (13 months) or a year and a day. Such events celebrate life and love in the same way that Beltaine and Highsummer festivals do.
- Wakes: When one of the Kithain dies, a Wake is held. When a commoner dies, their spirit is lost to the Dreaming for a time before reincarnating in a new body. The Sidhe, at least most of them, do not return in this fashion. Some think their spirt is lost forever. Others believe they are reborn as commoners. Still others believe they return to Arcadia. Wakes are highly important whenever one of the fae dies from Banality or cold iron. The loss must be addressed in some fashion or Banality gains a stronger hold on all who knew him or her. A Wake is a blatant denial of Banality and combines joy and sorrow in tribute to the one lost. All distinction between Seelie and Unseelie are put aside for the time as all fae remember the deceased and try to keep some part of them alive in the Dreaming. Sadly, many sidhe refuse to attend wakes as they dislike being reminded of their own eventual death and the uncertainty of what follows it.
- Oathtaking: Oathtaking provides an opportunity for the Kithain to gather together, usually in small, private ceremonies. It is considered an honor to be invited to a formal swearing of an oath and to act as a witness to such a solemn and binding vow. The oaths most likely to be celebrated in this way include oaths of fealty, questing, and love.
- Spring Equinox - A great Faire showcasing arts and crafts hosted by the Empire of Seeds.
- Summer Solstice - Traditionally a festival of learning and inspiration hosted by the Solimonds.
- Autumnal Equinox - a celebration of feasting and gift-giving jointly hosted by the Empire of Tears and the Empire of Skies.
- Winter Solstice - A great tourney hosted by the Empire of Stones.
- New Year's Eve - A rumored and shadowy celebration of the Empire of Dolls.
- Remembrance Day - a mournful celebration of the Solimond's lost Empire of Flames.
- The Moot - A great celebration of the Kuberas on Highsummer.
The fae of the East are quite different from their Western counterparts. Their festivals are religious in nature and are auspicious times to work certain magic and to answer prayers.
- Nanusuka - Japanese festival
- New Year's Day - A festival of what was and is, birthdays, and dreams.
- Obun - Japanese lantern festival
- Moon Festivals - Chinese monthly festivals