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Elven Calendar and Holidaysby Francesco Defferrari from Threshold Magazine issue 10
Elven Calendar and Holidays
by Francesco Defferrari (Sturm)
This article is an expansion of a previous work of mine stored here in the Vaults of Pandius. No canon source ever listed Mystara’s elven holidays; however CM7 “The Tree of Life” contained a star map with displaying the names of the months. In the map the exact correlations to Thyatians months are not explicit, so the ones below are just my proposals. Elven names for the months are vaguely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sindarin.
Some holidays are loosely related to holidays appearing in “The Principalities of Glantri”, “Minrothad Guilds”, and “The Shadow Elves” Gazetteers.
The Elven Months
These names are used by elves of the Known World and beyond, but elven sages do not agree about the first use of the names. Some scholars state they were conceived by Ilsundal, others that they were in use even before him, in ancient Evergrun before the Great Rain of Fire.
The Elven Holidays1
1st day of Snowdrop: First Day of the Year2 or Good Sprite Day3, a celebration of dances, banquets and practical jokes is celebrated from sunrise long into the night; often friendly fairy folk join the festivities. Some elven cultures also exchange gifts, as do the Hin of the Five Shires during this day.
1st day of Frostend: First day of Spring and in ancient Evergrun marked the first day of the year according to some elven scholars. Also known as the Day of Rebirth by some elven clans. Celebrated with evening feasts and dancing.
8th day of Frostend: Spring break, similar to the Glantrian holiday of the same name. Elves refrain from work during the day, instead engaging in playful activities.
12th day of Youngfire: Winter's end festival, similar to Merchant Prince day of Minrothad. Particularly heartfelt by elven clans living in colder climates. Some clans give gifts to children, while in some lands wizards prepare spectacular fireworks. Often celebrated also with a great banquet at midday.
9th day of Seedwell: Day of Births; similar to the Shadow Elves holiday of the same name. Marriages often take place this day, and is considered a propitious time to conceive a child. There are often banquets and dances in the evening.
1st day of White-ewe: The Summer Solstice. A bonfire feast is held in the evening. First day of the year in ancient Sylvan Realm according to some elven scholars.
15th day of White-ewe: Night of the Moon. Elven wizards consider this day particularly favourable for magic rituals, and common elves usually feast and dance throughout the night; but the moon does not always glow red as in Glantri.
15th day of Richsun: The High Summer festival, also celebrated in the Five Shires and Ethengar (though quite differently) and Day of Valerias in Thyatis and other nations. Elven clans usually stage or visit a market during the day, and feast and dance into the night.
27th day of Richsun: Summer celebration day, a festival which later inspired Minrothad’s All's Reckless day. Elven clans normally hold friendly contests or jousts during this day.
1st day of Copperfield: Harvest day, the first day of autumn is celebrated by elves with a feast where many fruits and sweets are prepared and eaten.Though many also are preserved for the coming winter.
17th day of Copperfield: Mealiden day. Particularly celebrated in Alfheim as a lighthearted event; however, one which has the ultimate purpose of testing the Realm’s defenses, training warriors or driving away dangerous monsters.
27th day of Copperfield: Day of the Last Sun. Many elven clans organize markets, either welcoming trading caravans or organizing their own, to secure provisions for the winter. Additionally, any housing or building maintenance is handled. A feast held in the evening often welcomes travellers and strangers.
1st day of Darkwood: Farewell to the Sun in various cultures and Ixion’s Day. Elven clans normally celebrate with great feasts lasting all day and night, broken by numerous rests.
15th day of Darkwood: Snow day. The festival which inspired the Ice Games of Glantri. Elves usually mold snow and ice into magnificent structures, or engage in competitions of endurance and accuracy. At least in the lands where there is snow at this time of the year.
25th day of Darkwood: Midwinter festival. This celebration inspired the Minrothad holiday of the same name. Many elven clans give gifts, and decorate their dwellings with colours meant to propitiate the return of Spring. Such decorations normally adorn homes until at least the 2nd day of Snowdrop or longer.
28th day of Darkwood: Year's End Fest. Many elven clans hold great banquets and dances, which carry over to the festivities of the next day. For some clans, rituals to chase evil spirit away are carried out, even hunting encroaching undead when necessary.
1Even if these holidays are often observed by many elven clans, elven regional tradition might celebrate different festival variations. Shadowelves and Shattenalfen have a completely different calendar marking their own holidays, and is perhaps also the case for elven clans living outside the Known World. Elves living outside Alfheim often celebrate the holidays of the nation in which they inhabit as well.
2Several elven sages think the first day of the Elven Year was originally the first of Frostend, while others claim it was the first of White-ewe.
3The Erewan of Glantri use this name for the day, and most likely the Alfheim elves as well.