— SEASONAL EVENTS —
Not exactly the most important to know, but the local events that occur on the island do tie into the culture and history of Empatheias. Some of them may even hold clues for the future. Although this is written OOCly, the content and descriptions can be found in any reference or guide book in Verens.
Night of Selenium
Date: Notus Deca 24 (January 24)
Summary: Night of Selenium coincides with the Empatheian version of the “Winter Solstice,” the time where night is longest, the moon is fullest, and the temperatures coldest. On this night, everyone pays respects to those who have died, especially within the past year. All businesses are closed, including government work. Although people will be somber and grieve, most take this day to celebrate the lives of those gone. Small parties are held and some will publicly speak about the departed. Visitations to the graves and cemeteries are often conducted to leave behind small gifts. It is a time where families gather to relearn their family history and revere and respect their ancestors.
Tradition: At around eight o’clock, everyone gathers to the shores of Lake Niras or go out on boat or small airships hovering near the shores. Each person is given a light, paper lantern with a flower candle attached to the bottom. Both the lantern and the flower represent the soul of the deceased. In addition, the names of past loved ones are written on small slips of paper set right above the candle. The names indicate for whom the lanterns represent. Some name specific individuals, others keep it generic to represent an entire family or line of ancestors. Some use multiple lanterns, and some use one to represent them all. On cue, everyone lights the candle. The names are burned and fuel the lantern. Everyone then releases these lanterns into the sky. This act represents the idea of souls rising to the heavens. At a certain point, the cord holding the flower candle will burn through and release it from the lantern. The candles are designed so that they float down to usually land in the lake. This symbolizes the belief that a part of the soul will still remain on the earth and in people's hearts.
Zephyras Flower Festival
Date: Zephryas Ena 17 (April 17)
About: In Empatheias, their yearly calendar actually begins on the first of Ena (April). This is the first month of their spring season, Zephyras, and it is the month where, barring anything extremely depressing and negative happening, the flowers will bloom and everything is coming out of hibernation. In the past they used to celebrate the new year on the actual date, but because most of the flowers and pretty things don't happen until closer to the middle of the month, they just hold a giant festival around then.
However, there is a third purpose to the festival. Traditionally, this festival has been more of a matchmaking type of event. For those who have yet to pledge their heart to someone, specially designed flowers were spread out with the emotion signature of the candidate. It is it said the the one who picks it is the one who resonates the most with it. So romantic, right? This worked for the first couple of centuries, but as the city grew larger and social values and cultures started to shift, that particular tradition is no longer at play. That, and it would be nigh impossible to actually adapt that into RP and for everyone to be happy.
There are still matchmakers around and it's obvious by the festivities provided that this festival still maintains its lovey-dovey roots. That isn't to say that non-couples can't enjoy the festival as well, as there are plenty of games and activities to do. However, even those with broken or lonely hearts tend to be swayed by the upbeat liveliness of the festival, so any bad moods are quickly overwhelmed by everyone else. If anything, newfound appreciations (and jealousy) are also formed.
Finally, as if to make this festival even more couple oriented, there is a Flower King and Queen contest. There will be two couples, one for the natives, and one for the Otherworlders. Anyone is free to either nominate themselves or sign-up someone else. Pictures are displayed all over the staging area, and but now there is some new tech to help with that and the voting process. The most popular "king" and "queen" are then set off to enjoy the final day of the festival together as a couple. Or pretend couple. If they're enemies, well, they just have to put aside their differences for the day and at least play nice. Even the Arehtei have their own special category.
Speaking of Arehtei, the Flower Festival is also now dedicated to Elios. After all, he's the Arehtei of love (and hatred), so who better suited for it than him? One can expect a lot of Elios themed attractions and decorations. Maybe even special "love potions."
But that is the basics of the Flower Festival. Everyone eats sweets, make flower crowns, and dance with pretty ribbons while gushing love and adoration to whoever they wish.
Light of Helisium
Date: Eurus Tessa 29 (July 29)
Summary: Light of Helisium coincides with the Empetheian version of the “Summer Solstice,” the time where the day is longest, the sun brightest, and the temperatures hottest. It’s a three day festival celebrating the season before harvesting. It is also usually the time when many marriages take place, usually by those who met during the Flower Festival. Thus most of the celebrations are to celebrate these unions, with a lot of partying, a lot of singing, and a lot of love.
Boreas Harvest Festival
Date: Boreas Ochta 13 (November 13)
Summary: The Boreas Harvest Festival is a three-day seasonal occasion to celebrate the end of the harvest season. Farmers will come into town to sell and share their crops, the surplus used in many old, traditional, folksy games.
— Created January 15, 2015