It’s been a wonderful holiday weekend for me and mine, and I’m a bit sad that’s it’s over and the real world intrudes again tomorrow.
I’ll admit I’m a bit tired, though. Two days of cooking followed by two days of decorating was a bit much, but the turkey had his day, and now the tree twinkles.
Holidays are a time to be with family and friends and are a vital part of creating any fictional world. Or at least in making it complete. In the world of Grevared, holidays occur throughout the year. Most of them take place around the same time across the countries, but they differ by country and culture. For example, the demons mourn the loss of their own world around Yuletide, while the humans celebrate the season with gifts and decorations. The elves continue to honor the solstices and equinoxes even though the void has no visible celestial bodies. The celebrations of each country and culture differ slightly as well, and this helps to add depth to the holidays.
The same is true of the autumn holidays. Those who follow the Arcana Maximus celebrate the ritual of Akatha Mabikym, which is a ritual that returns the spirits of the dead to the chaos of the void. Those who don’t follow the Arcana tend to focus more on the harvest and the plenty that comes with it, even those in the larger cities like Ymla and Sangeron.
Tips for Creating Holidays
Consider what we already celebrate. Many of our current celebrations are world-wide in many respects, for humans tend to celebrate the same milestones of life regardless of individual culture.
Think about the world you’ve created. What are the important times of year for its inhabitants? Are there things that are important to one group that aren’t to another? (e.g. Those who don’t follow the Arcana Maximus are less likely to celebrate the ritual of Akatha Mabikym, and many outright disagree with it.)
Add in elements of the fantasy world to the holiday. In Corleon, for example, horses play a major role in the economy of the country. Therefore, horses come into play during their Yuletide celebrations, and hay is commonly used to decorate.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match celebrations that are already in existence or do some research into older celebrations and pull elements that we no longer use in our modern time.
Have fun with it.
Creating holidays for your world can be one of the most rewarding parts of world-building and can help you get to know the characters and cultures you created all the better. Even if you never write a scene including one of the holidays, simply indicating that they exist can bring your world to life in the minds of your readers.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, and when Mother Nature finally looks at the calendar and cools things off, I’m in full creative mode and ready to kick back with some old movies and tap out some words. This is especially true in October when the leaves are changing and pumpkins sit everywhere. (Okay, so, the stores may be a little ahead of the game with Christmas, but we won’t go there.)
I’m a horror movie junkie, but I don’t like most of the newer ones. I’ll sit through It or A Quiet Place or The Conjuring, but those aren’t the ones I thrive on. I prefer the old ones, like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman. These are classics, of course, but I also like the ones like the Beast of Yucca Flats, any of the ones made before 1950.
And why would I prefer those to the modern movies with their fancy CGI effects and digital processing (whatever it’s called)? Because the old ones have a creep factor not seen in a lot of modern films. There’s something about the use of light and shadow, the lack of color, the hollow sound of the voices, that is both skin-crawling creepy and peaceful. There’s a calm in them, possibly because of the soundtrack, that’s soothing even in the midst of being chased by a monster. They create an ambiance of dark places when the light of the fire didn’t quite reach the corners and of wrapping in a blanket to chase off the chill.
That’s not saying there aren’t good movies out there today, just that these have a special place in my heart and bring a sense of ‘autumn’ and Halloween that most others don’t.
Even a fantasy world needs holidays, and Grevared is no different. I’m working on Yuletide traditions for each of the countries. These will, of course, vary from country to country. For example, the humans of Moirena, the Xaggarene Empire, and Corleon have traditions similar to those of our modern Christmas, though I’m still working out the details of each one. The demons, on the other hand, view Yuletide as a time of mourning, for they aren’t thrilled with being trapped on the plane with all the other species. There are those, of course, who still follow traditional demon practices of sacrifice, but most of them, particularly those in the more diverse cities like Jitradena, have a meal with talakilkonna tail as the main dish.
So, being the fully immersive person that I am, I decided that some kind of traditional food was in order, and I’m in the process of experimenting with variations of cookies and cakes to see what I can come up with. But I’ve having trouble with the talakilkonna tail. I’ve been wracking my brain for several weeks now, and I think I’ve finally figured it out. For talakilkonna tail in our world, I’m thinking about going with sausage-stuffed squid. I haven’t found a store nearby that carries the uncut squid yet, but I’m on the hunt. We’ll see how it goes.