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Festivals and Calendars of many Cultures

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  • Festivals and Calendars of many Cultures

    Hello Everybody. I am planning a new season in my game, and I want to make something more local and more focused in taking care of a community, and while I was preparing the setting, I noticed I don't know much about other cultures specific festivals, hiolydays and calendars, which I believe would be highly relevant to the World, as most special dates are religious in some fashion.

    So, does anyone know a good source with maybe a list of festivities or special dates for each culture? (I am more interested in Irish, Aztec and Greco-Roman, but all and any cultures would be cool)

    Thank you everybody in advance.

  • #2
    Ireland probably had something equivalent to the Coligny Calendar at one point in its history due to the presence of some repeated turns of phrases found in the Irish sagas, but by the historic period any record of it has collapsed. What we do have are references to four festivals, Lughnasadh, Samhain, Imbloc, and Beltane. Now, we know very little about the majority of these asides from their names, and anything you read about them online will be exceptionally dodgy. What we can say for sure is Lughnasadh was held on July 31st - August 1st and was probably something to do with the harvest or collection of vegetation. Imbloc was held on January 31st - February 1st, and probably had something to do with livestock pregnancy (this one will have a large amount of dodgy information out there about it, so be careful). Beltane was held on April 30th - May 1st, and was probably some form of apotropaic ritual for livestock and cattle by driving them in-between bonfires. Please note that Beltane has nothing to do with Ba'al of the Canninite Gods, or Belenus from northern Italy.

    The one that everyone likes to talk about in the sagas, and thus the one we know the most about is Samhain which is October 31st - November 1st, and is likely part of the origin of the modern celebration of Halloween. Now, I will stress that the sagas never give us specific details about this, but we do know that this was where the new year began, and that during Samhain (or in a 9 day period around it, there is variation) that it was believed that the Áos Síde could move out of the Otherworld more easily or would do so with more frequency, though why is never explained. What this means in practical terms is that Samhain is when many important events happen in Irish sagas because that is the time of year weird supernatural stuff happens.

    Now, we don't know what you would do on Samhain asides from one reference to a yearly gathering of warriors in Ulster with some sort of boasting competition, but there is a ton of misinformation about it online, so just be super cautious looking into it. We don't know what you would do during any of these special days to be honest, and the mystery of it is something fun for a Scion game. The Túatha Dé likely themselves have forgotten, and it leaves fun places for mysteries for your games.

    I will make one final little note about the dates though, because I think it is cool. If you notice, all these special periods I mentioned are referenced as a two day period, but they actually only last about 24 hours! See, in Ireland the day and night cycle was very literal for what a calander 'day' was. In their system, a day ends and a new one begins with sunset, which is not the same as the calander system used in the West modernly, which starts at midnight. So, Samhain would last from sunset on the 31st of October and last until sunset on the 1st of November. So, only 24 hours, but by our calander it spans two days.

    Scion 2e Homebrew Projects:
    The Šiuneš, the Pantheon of the Hittite Empire, The Enduri: the Pantheon of the Manchu Peoples, The Sgā’na Qeda’s: the Pantheon of the Haida First Nation, The Abosom: The Pantheon of the Ashanti, Lebor Óe In Dea: an Expansion for the Túatha Dé Danann.


    • #3
      I'm working on a "folkloric calendar" of sorts for Germany, but most of these days are connected to Christian saints.

      Sunken Castles, Evil Poodles is creating Public Domain translations of German folklore!

      A German Geek - my gaming blog!


      • #4
        Sorry for taking so long to answer.

        Thank you Watcher, for your complete, informative and understandable answer. It will certainly have a deep effect on my games.

        Also, to anyone who might be looking for Calendars for multiple mythologies, I found a good book how compile many of them: Religious Holydays and Calendars - An Encyclopedic Handbook. (ISBN 0-7808-0665-4). It has a good amount of calendars, of a good variety of religions and cultures (Shinto, Athenian, Jainism and Hindu, to mention a few) and a understandable summary of many celebrations. It is not a definitive guide for festivals, but is a good jump off to anyone who want to add a more festive nature to their games

        Hope you all enjoy, and if any of you have other potential sources, would be great to hear about it