The Dawning Calendar
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THE DAWNING CALENDAR (Placeholder name. Any cool recommendations?)
The people of Tornen’s Crossing and the surrounding Hearthlands, as well as the other civilized folk in the Archipelago know that there are 400 days in the year, consisting of four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, each of which is 100 days long, despite variations of weather.
The most widely recognized calendar of the civilized realms of the Archipelago is the Dawning Calendar. As per this calendar, there are 8 months of 50 days each, two of which for each season, referred to colloquially as the Low [Month], and the High [Month] of said season. The beginning of each 50-day month starts with a transitional holiday, which is not itself part of a week, but then is followed by 7 weeks of 7 days.
Days of the Year = 400
Seasons = Four of 100 days each.
Months = Eight of 50 days each, starting first with a transitional holiday that then leads into 7 weeks of 7 days each.
The month of Low Spring starts with Verdance, a transitional holiday that celebrates the onset of the Spring season and the New Year itself, as well as the relief of surviving the winter before farming starts anew. This is a very loud holiday, filled with music, dancing, laughing, stories, games, and fireworks. There are festivals, balls, and galas galore, and people wear their best. Many people wear green to honor what they hope will be a verdant new spring.
The month of High Spring starts with Heartspring on the Spring Equinox, a transitional holiday dedicated to love, romance, fertility, agriculture, and animal husbandry. In the name of love, people confess their feelings, write poetry, sing songs, and sometimes quarrel, any of which might be represented by contests or tournaments. While the intent, in part, is for new relationships to blossom and be pursued by those unbound by vows, some also use the holiday as an excuse for engaging in dalliances. People also use this day as an almanac milestone for comparing when crops are planted from year to year, as well as births resulting from the breeding seasons from the previous year. The first calf and foal born on Heartspring in a community are considered creatures blessed of purpose. The month of High Spring also sees a lot of births among the people, due to the activities of newlyweds following Oathsgiving in Low Autumn.
The month of Low Summer starts with the Day of Brilliance, a transitional holiday dedicated to the fires of industry and creativity, hard work under the sun, artisans and craftsmen, intelligence, philosophy, and well… brilliance. Contests, tournaments, and games of chance are quite common during the Day of Brilliance, all of which have bonfires as central focuses of the festivities. On this day, many apprentices become journeymen, students graduate, and promotions are given. Rewards for excellence are also very common on this day. Additionally, the breeding of prized horses often waits until in Low Summer, so that the resulting births occur close to the next Heartspring.
The month of High Summer starts with Midsummer on the Summer Solstice, a transitional holiday dedicated to the celebration of joy, life, and passion. Bonfires are common, and burn deep into what little night is left on the longest day of the year, to celebrate the light and fend off the darkness. The burning of special woods, scented candles, and incense fill homes and businesses. There are parties that last all day, with music and dancing and other passionate activities by sun and firelight. It is considered a bad omen when the rare storm obscures the sun on this day. Additionally, the breeding of prized cattle often waits until the third week of High Summer, so that the resulting births occur close to the next Heartspring.
The month of Low Autumn starts with Oathsgiving, a transitional holiday dedicated to creating and honoring pacts, oaths, partnerships, and marriages. Many vows are designed to be revisited on this day, and if they are not resworn by both parties, may also end. Needless to say, there are many meetings and ceremonies throughout the day, and Oathsgiving usually culminates in weddings during the evening. In fact, many couples who started a lasting love during Heartspring often get married on this holiday. Low Autumn marks the start of the full push into the harvest season.
The month of High Autumn starts with Harvestfall on the Autumn Equinox, a transitional holiday dedicated to the ongoing harvest season. The week prior, there is a lot of preparation and cooking leading up to holiday itself, amidst all the rest of the work in the fields and orchards. No one works on this day of rest when it arrives, but they do feast on the dishes they’ve been preparing in the previous week, and of course they drink. They drink a LOT. Ales and ciders and wines and liqueurs and all kinds of alcoholic concoctions are sampled, favorites even more so, and the best crafters receive great accolades, and business if they’re willing to produce it for sale. Some joke that Harvestfall is named after the stumbling drunks that tumble and topple throughout the day.
The month of Low Winter starts with Reaper’s Day, a transitional holiday dedicated to honoring ancestors, martyrs, and other beloved dead, as well as honoring the hard-working farmers and herders that labored during harvest season. Starting on this day, much of the extra livestock is slaughtered to prepare for the coming winter months. This is also a day of feasting to celebrate all the efforts that led to the bounty before winter. Much like Harvestfall, during the week prior there is a lot of preparation and cooking leading up to Reaper’s Day itself. Many are gluttonous on this holiday, with some eating in excess as a reward for their hard work, and some partaking in the favorite recipes of their ancestors and lost loved ones, to honor their memory.
The month of High Winter starts with Midwinter on the Winter Solstice, a transitional holiday dedicated to peace, kindness, and generosity. Many candles are lit, many gifts are given, and travelers are never turned away on this, Winter’s longest night. Travelers themselves are also usually as generous as they can afford, and some folk purposefully travel to the homes of their loved ones and neighbors, and sometimes even strangers, to give gifts they’ve crafted throughout the year and partake of their mulled drinks. It is considered a grave sin for a host to harm a person they shelter on Midwinter, and an even greater sin for someone to ever harm or betray a host who has granted them shelter on that hallowed day.