Time, Seasons and Festivals
In the World of Mythandar©, the passage of time and the seasons are marked much as they are in our world. The sun is observed to circle the world, shifting north and south during the course of the year to correspond with the seasons. There are four Seasons recognized in the North and West – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Each is 90 days in length. The year is 364 days long, divided into 12 months (or moons), which correspond with the orbit and phases of the Moon. In addition, there are four primary festival days or Great Festivals, one per Season, with many others celebrated locally. This brings the total number of days to 364. There is no leap year in Mythandar's calender.
Throughout most of Mythandar the old Imperial Calendar is used. It numbers the years from the founding of the ancient Imperial city of Tharsis in the Inner Sea Lands over a thousand years ago. By that calender, the Empire collapsed in 999 IR. The kingdom of Anglamar was founded in 905 IR, Norland in 1158 IR. The current year is 1209 IR.
Dates before the Empire's founding are referred to as Before the Empire (or BE) and counted backwards. For example, 100 BE means a hundred years before the founding of Tharsis.
SPRING March-May The Ides (spring equinox at end of March)
SUMMER June-August High Summer (summer solstice at end of June)
AUTUMN September-November Harvestfall (autumn equinox at end of Sept.)
WINTER December-February Mid-Winter (winter solstice at end of Dec.)
In the Storm Isles and Norland, it is the start of Storm Season when rough weather sweeps across the Sea of Storms, making sea-travel perilous. In the Inner Sea, it is the end of the rainy season and agriculture is conducted in earnest until Autumn.
Throughout Mythandar, The Ides are sacred to the Goddess in all of her aspects, as the time of the earth's renewal after the cold death of Winter. This time is also celebrated by those who worship Valkan Stormlord as the beginning of campaign season. Wars are traditionally fought in Summer and the storms of Spring herald his blessing.
HIGH SUMMER, on the summer solstice, is the grandest festival of the year in Anglamar. Fairs are conducted in all of the major cities and trade towns. Open air markets bring traders from all over the country and there are musicians, troops of players, clowns and jesters. Tournaments are held, particularly at Gondaran and Aquilore in Eredor, featuring jousting, swordsmanship and archery. Betrothals are traditionally announced at High Summer.
In the Storm Isles, the Druids meet at the Standing Stones, near the foot of Mount Kaerdon on Kinnaran for the Great Gathering where new druids are inducted and others are promoted in rank.
In Everwilde, the Elves of the West celebrate High Ealdas, a great gathering where families are reunited and the People are numbered, while the losses of the past are remembered.
HARVESTFALL, at the autumn equinox, celebrates the end of the harvest and is marked in most farming communities with open banquets and dances. For the most part, the day is dedicated to the Great Mother. Harvestfall is considered the last day of leisure in many places, after which the preparations for Winter begin.
In the Inner Sea, Harvestfall marks the beginning of a great rush of trade and travel before the rains and winter sea storms begin.
MID-WINTER, on the winter solstice, is actually celebrated over two days and a night. WINTERWANE marks the end of the calender year and is occupied with family gatherings and remembrances of the past. Homes are decorated with evergreen bows, colored lanterns and hanging charms. Gifts are exchanged and, in Anglamar, a traditional meal of roast goose and yams is served. Following is OLDE NIGHT, marked by outdoor festivals with plenty of drink and dancing for the common folk – all at the expense of the nobility. In Gondaran, the Queen traditionally hosts a banquet in the Royal Castle for nobles and visiting dignitaries. For the followers of the New Faith, the next day is NEW SUN. Businesses are closed (particularly taverns) and priests conduct ceremonies throughout the kingdom to reaffirm the dedication of the Faithful and absolve them of their misdeeds. In Gondaran, the Grand Cathedral is lit with thousands of candles, and bells toll all day as worshipers stream through its open doors for the blessings of the Archbishop. At Tharsis on the Inner Sea, it is the same but on a much grander scale, with thousands of pilgrims streaming to the Imperial Cathedral for the blessings of the Patriarch. Most nobles in Anglamar strive to visit Tharsis on New Sun at least once.