Festivals, Holidays and Traditions In Morrain

Below are described only a handful of popular holidays and traditions observed in Morrain.

Festival of Fire – In the northern kingdoms, the warmth of the farmer’s hearth or the hunter’s campfire is essential to survival. The Festival of Fire takes place shortly after the autumnal equinox, marking the turn of the season and shorter days. Beginning as a holy day in honor of Fenwar and the life-sustaining power he brings to the cold winter months, it has long since become a weeklong celebration for the faithful and the secular alike. At the center of each village, town, or city a great fire is raised, and on the last day of the festival a tremendous bonfire replaces the smaller flame. Those communities with sorcerers or hedge wizards in residence often benefit from the addition of everlasting flames or magically sustained fire.  Of course, wherever clerics of Fenwar are present, ceremonies honoring the Fire Lord are observed. Throughout the week, the people gather about the bonfire to sing, feast, and enjoy the spirit of community. Those who cannot afford to bring food to the feasts are invited just the same.

Day of Fellowship – A holiday unique to Morrain, on the Day of Fellowship those with the skill bake, or those with the money buy, sweet breads or pastries to give to their friends. Not surprisingly, the holiday is strongly associated with Bread-In-Hand, and some suspect that the halflings of that village started the tradition. Some communities turn the day into a competition, while merchants take the opportunity to hawk their goods to the folk who turn out.

Day of Souls – The Day of Souls, which marks the summer solstice, also marked the day when the young Morro swore with his friends to slay the Harbinger King who had oppressed the people of the Vale. A festive time to some and a time of apprehension to others, the Day of Souls is a day of ultimatums and vows, of reconciliation or exactitude. It is a day when silent frustrations must come to light, when grudges must be abandoned or renewed for all time. Lines are drawn in the ground, proclamations of love or betrothals are made. Suitors are chosen or rejected altogether. Tensions between rivals prompt a final confrontation, whether it is a duel or a settlement. No matter what the circumstance, something must happen on this day. The day may serve a different meaning to each person, but all residents of Morrain are expected to participate. It is considered rude, at best, to keep one’s feelings in on this day. At worst, it is considered insulting or even blasphemous. The church of Delvyr is a strong proponent for this holiday, for the sun shines longest on this day and the Revealing Light encourages honesty and confrontation over long-suffering silence. The day is observed by followers of Gorhan as a day to punish the unrepentant or atone for one’s sins. Adventurers often use this day to decide the course of the next year and choose their next journey.

The church of Sarenrae is a strong proponent for this holiday, for the sun shines longest on this day and the Revealing Light encourages honesty and confrontation over long-suffering silence. The day is observed by followers of Iomeda as a day to punish the unrepentant or atone for one’s sins. Adventurers often use this day to decide the course of the next year and choose their next journey.

Swordfall: Spring in the Northlands is the season of war. Foes abound, and even nations of common cause have reason to settle border disputes with blade and lance. Swordfall is observed on the Spring Equinox, marking the customary beginning of the war season, when roads are passable and the weather tenable. Swordfall is traditionally celebrated with martial tournaments and tests of courage, but just as often the holiday heralds a full-scale invasion, presaging a season of rapine, fire, and death.

Day of Fates: Celebrated on Summer Solstice, the Day of Fates is the culmination of a weeklong celebration honoring patron deities and local saints. On the last day of the week, newborns are named, couples renew their vows of love, and oaths to lord and liege are declared anew. It is a common practice for knights to embark on quests on this holiday, and it is deemed a blessed day for wizards to choose apprentices. Adventuring companies often choose this day to make their first vows of brotherhood.

Harvestmoon: Falling on the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, Harvestmoon is a celebration of thanksgiving and preparation for the winter ahead. The dead are honored with tributes of wine and sweetmeats, and priests go from house to house offering blessings in return for the same. The revels stretch from moonrise to moonfall and lively celebrations are believed to ward off winter’s chill.

Forge Feast: Observed on the Winter Solstice, Forge Feast celebrates the rebirth of the year, when hearth fires are relit from the forges of village smithies; woe is the smith who has let his forge fire die. The day culminates in an exchange of gifts, and a single enormous feast with every member of the community bringing an offering to the table.

Taxfest: The collection of fair taxes is considered an integral part of the maintenance of society, and is therefore holy to the goddess Justicia. Taxfest is a holiday celebrated annually on 15 Gozran where priests of the Master of the First Vault accompany tax collectors in their duties. The church officials monitor these activities to make sure that the process is conducted respectfully and justly, and that citizens know that the process is monitored. Once the taxes are collected, a large feast is held at the local temple of Justicia where everyone is invited. This is done to make the day a bit more positive for the citizens and let them voice their concerns and ideas as to where the monies levied should best be applied.

Burning Blades: Burning Blades is a religious holiday held annually on 10 Sarenith. It is celebrated in honor of the god of light Delvyr and is actually the culmination of a month-long summer festival held in her honor. Burning Blades focuses on the sun and the gods' powers of healing. It gets its name from the dance of the burning blades, in which worshipers dip ceremonial weapons in pitch or another flammable substance, and dance with the burning brands in hand. Legends recount that if one of Delvyr's faithful is in mortal danger on this festival day, his or her weapon will burn with a holy fire. This has proven to actually be true so many times throughout history, that those with bad intentions generally avoid the Delvyr's faithful on this day.

Sunwrought Festival: The Sunwrought Festival is held annually on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It honors the god of the sun Delvyr, who is said to pay particular attention to his worshipers on this day. The holiday is celebrated with dances, the giving of gifts, fireworks, paper streamers and kite flying. Special markets in which people trade their finest goods are also a common occurrence.

Ritual of Stardust: The Ritual of Stardust is one of the few formal religious holidays in honor of the goddess Ireth. It is held on both the summer and winter solstices. Followers of the Song of Spheres gather at dusk and light enormous bonfires and hold feasts, watching the sparks and embers float out into the darkening sky. After it is fully dark, the celebrants chant and sing songs as they watch the fires burn low. When only embers remain, sand mixed with ground star gems (either star rubies, star sapphires or rose quartz) is thrown on them or into the air downwind. At this point it is common to make proclamations of love and friendship and of promised journeys to come. The twinkling of the sand is thought to mirror the night sky and demonstrate Ireth's witnessing these pronouncements