New Year – on the First of Abadius (January) is an old favourite and most people recognise it a (sort of) re-start – and it is good to have something to look forward to in the deep mid winter. It is a day for family and friends - during the day people visit friends while during the evening they have a large family meal and celebration. It is customary to give small gifts to close friends and family members.

It is also a good time to review animal health and store cupboard levels - and is a suitable time to slaughter any extra live stock that would not make it through the winter - so there is likely to be fresh meat on the table in many homes.

Beware though, those who died during the previous twelve months may well return on the last night of the Old Year.

Winter Celebrations in Newhaven

Day of Bones – On the Fifth of Pharast (March) it is the day to remember your dead and the one annual holiday that the Pharasmin priests celebrate. It is a time when the veil between the real world and Pharasma’s realm is weak - it is a time that unsettled spirits could break through, but it is also a time when your ancestors can most easily observe you. Families often set an extra plate at the dinner table and spend the night at home recalling their ancestors and friends – and telling ghost stories. Before dinner the young may dress up as ghosts themselves and go around their neighbourhood scaring adults in return for small sweetmeats.

It is also the time to donate to Pharasmin Temples. The Priests themselves conduct a service, where they recall the names of the dead and their deeds. And the larger the donation given in someone's name, the greater the recognition given to a particular name/ancestor. Some wealthy people employ a minor Pharasmin just to remember their own personal ancestors.

Spring Festival – held at the end of Pharast (March) is important to both Erastil and Gozreh. It is conventional to ‘bring in’ (or gather) the first blooms of the year. Children make posies to decorate their family homes; younger adults weave garlands for their lovers, while old people just bring in a few flowers or plants to brighten the house. However it is also a working day in the countryside. It is the time when the farmers get together to plan which of their crops are going to be planted when and what goes where this year. It is also a day to pray to pray for fertility, and priests of Gozreh, Erastil (and to a lesser extent Pharasma, for people wanting children) will carry out fertility blessings. Wannabe parents and young lovers make good use of the evening.

Stagfall - on the 14th of Desnus (May). It remembers the battle in which The Stag Lord and his men were defeated and acts as a Founders Day holiday. Clerics of Iomedae use this as a special holiday, It is a day for ‘Beating the Bounds’ of towns and villages and a day when the military muster, march and parade. In the evening there is a general festival and communal feast.

Archerfest – on the 3rd of Ersastus (July) is a day of food, fun, and relaxation. Villages hold archery and stone-throwing contests, ranchers rope and trade calves and lambs, and village men ask permission to marry eligible maids. There are also foot races, horse races and other ‘countryside’ competitions. At sundown, an animal is offered (dedicated) to Erastus, and everyone in the community eats to share in his blessing. Later, there is dancing, ale and a bit of a party.

Harvest Festival – held at the end of Rova (September) all the crops should be in (or at least most of them) and farmers are preparing for winter. It is a time to use up all the perishable foods that can’t be stored for the winter and to make the best of the good weather. Followers of Desna release butterflies (although where they get them from at this time of year is a mystery) while clerics of Erastil run a harvest festival service that culminates in a community feast and celebration – perhaps even a barn dance – to make use of the space before all the farm gear is bought inside for winter.

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