Festivals of the Haeflins, Dwarves and Elves
Festivals of the Haeflins
This is the anniversary of the day that the final stone of the community's meeting house was placed. In a Haeflin village, town, or city, the meeting house is the first building that is constructed in any community. It serves as a communal lodge until the rest of the area's dwellings are finished. After the community is up and running, the meeting house becomes its heart. It is the centerpiece for any business, festivals, or rituals conducted for the community.
Most Haeflin communities enjoy two harvests each growing season. Unlike most Alquennan cultures, the Haeflins have only a single harvest festival. This festival begins after the last crop is in and stored. It lasts five days and four nights. It is said that the Haeflins tend to hold the most outlandish of celebrations at this time - especially if the harvest was a good one!
Festival of Languages
One of the highest goals of the Haeflin race is the understanding and proliferation of the understanding of languages. They study and record how different cultures communicate as well as how members of the same culture communicate. The Haeflins truly believe that the deities of Alquennas charged them with being the masters of all languages. They feel this makes them the obvious choice for language merchants or language traders.
This festival celebrates their commitment to that responsibility. The festival lasts 15 days in mid- summer. It celebrates the spoken, written, and sung words of every known language of Alquennas. All may attend, not just Haeflins, to participate in learning about newly discovered languages & language variants. They also share and discuss the latest texts and teaching techniques for teaching languages.
Arbitration Festival (End of Winter)
Prior to the end of winter, Haeflins hold their Arbitration Festival. This festival is where all contracts on the local, regional, and world levels which are due to be renewed or revisited are reviewed and negotiated. The first week of the festival is spent dealing with the local and regional contracts. Each day, after eight hours of these negotiations, a feast of huge proportions is served to all who have attended the festival. The last two weeks of the festival deal with world level contract negotiations. Most of the time, these negotiations will include visiting members of other races.
Festival of Creation
Haeflins believe they were created to bring peace and understanding to the world of Alquennas. They are grateful to the Monarch who ordered the other deities of the world to create their race. Haeflins are private in their religious beliefs. During the festival of Creation, they normally do not allow outsiders to attend this week-long celebration. However, Haeflins will allow Haeflin-Friends to attend and join in the celebration. Each day is filled with fine foods, wines, ales, and a great deal of dancing. Each day is broken up into six parts with a meal that starts each part of the day. During this festival, many Haeflins, both male and female, make marriage proposals.
Festival of the Heroes
Haeflins believe in expressing their gratitude and showing their appreciation to members of the Haeflin race who have become legends of good and heroes to their race. Every year just prior to the turning of autumn the Haeflins hold the Festival of Heroes. The Festival of Heroes lasts seven days and seven nights.
There are eight Dwarven festivals that are keyed to the seasons of Alquennas. These festivals are:
- The Feast of the Fallen and Future Unknown Heroes begins the same time as the human Winters Festival two days before Midwinter's day.
- Festival of Summer Turning begins two weeks before the official end of winter
- The Festival of Planting begins on the first day of spring
- The Festival of Ascension begins on the first day of summer
- The Festival of Midsummer's Day
- The Festival of Harvest's Beginning
- The Festival of Harvest's End
- The Festival of Winter starts at the first day of winter
Feast of the Fallen and Future Unknown Heroes
The Feast begins two days prior Midwinter's day and celebrates all of the Heroes that have fallen protecting the Clan and celebrates the Heroes who have not been born yet. It is a time for remembrance and hope for the future.
Festival of Summer Turning
This joyous occasion celebrates the ending of the long winter and victory of the light over the darkness. The Clan will exchange personal homemade gifts with one another as a sign of their commitment to one another as Clan members.
Festival of Planting
The festival begins the planting season with the Konug planting the first bulb, root, or seeds of the year. The Konug will sprinkle the bulb, root, or seed with either gold dust or Dwarven Silver Dust as an offering. The Clan will eat together as one on this day. The meal will be a simple meal, reminding the Clan that they need to work hard together to create a good harvest.
Festival of Ascension
The Festival is the day warriors of the Clan ask their ancestors to guide them and their weapons to protect the Clan. It is also the day that those of age ascend to adulthood. The warriors of the clan receive their Clan armor, Mages receive their Marks of a Dwarven mage, and clerics are ordained.
Festival of Midsummer's Day
The Festival celebrates the Clan's survival to the mid-year and the Clan remembers those whom have fallen in the first half of the year. The Clan as a community asks their ancestor's help for the rest of the year and to guide those who have fallen to the Ancestral Home.
The Festival of Harvest's Beginning
There are many cultures and countries that enjoy two distinct harvests. To acknowledge this, the dwarves have two Harvest festivals. The first the Festival of Harvest's Beginning draws all able bodied members of the Clan to begin the first harvest and start the preparation for the long winter. The Clan communally eat out in the fields during the first harvest until all the crops are in, processed (milled), and stored.
The Festival of Harvest's End
The second Harvest festival begins when the second harvest starts. Again all of the able bodied members of the Clan assist in the harvest and once the harvest is complete they feast for three days and on the third night they give thanks to their ancestors.
The Festival of Winter
The first day of winter the Dwarves begin to hang lanterns throughout the Dwarven holdings. This is to welcome their ancestors that walk during the night and to ward off the evil that will try to use this holiday to gain access to the Clan.
When female child is born, the Konug of the area will usually declare a holiday.
Elven (Wood Elves) Festivals
The majority of Elves that player characters will encounter on Alquennas are known as Wood Elves. Occasionally, the player characters may run into a Shadow Elf. However, that is another story for another time.
The Wood Elves (or Half Bloods as the True and Great Elves call them) are the most common of their race. The True Elves are considered by all of the Elven races to be the royalty of the Elves. They were almost considered as gods for many generations. However, several millennia ago the True Elves of Alquennas isolated themselves from the rest of the world. Thus, they abandoned their "lesser" cousins, the Great Elves and the Wood Elves, to their own destinies. The True Elves decided it was better to concentrate on remaining pure and thereby obtaining their goal of rejoining with Underhill. They retained a small degree of contact with the Great Elves and the Great Elves remained closer to the original culture due to that contact.
However, as a result, the Wood Elves were left without their cultural leadership and their racial leaders. The first ones, known as the Eloanns, saw this and interacted with the Wood Elves. They taught them about the pantheon of Alquennas deities, especially the Lord of Thunder, The Goddess of Light (lightning, the light, etc.), Debohran, the mother who gave birth to Alquennas (the larger of the two moons of Alquennas) and her protector and mate, Hyach (the smaller of the two moons of Alquennas).
This time is known as the "Great Separation" by the True Elves and the "Awakening" by the Wood Elves. The Wood Elves began rebuilding their culture and exploring new ideas. These radical notions began to tear the Wood Elf societies apart until they were visited by Debohran. It is said that this was when the various enclaves of the Wood Elves began growing their own heart trees. Since the enclaves were so obviously favored, their existence was reluctantly accepted by the True Elves and Great Elves.
Despite their cultural drift, Wood Elves still respect their "Elders and Betters" and will show appropriate deference if a True or Great Elf deigns to walk among them or visit their enclaves. They chose to name their enclaves as "Woods" rather than "Vales" as a sign of that deference. It is still considered an honor if a Great Elf or True Elf blesses their bows or the enclave's heart tree. It is considered a greater honor, however, if an Eloann chooses to bestow such a blessing.
The Wood Elves created an amalgamation of their old culture with what they had learned and experienced thanks to the teachings of the Eloanns. This amalgamation is present in every aspect of a Wood Elf society and cultures - especially their religion and religious festivals.
Festival of the New Beginning
This festival is held on the first day of spring as a sign of the Wood Elves' commitment to care for forests and the rest of Alquennas as their racial ancestors once did. This is also the start of the planting season and the grooming of fields and the forests.
The Sea Elves also celebrate this festival by including the start of their aquaculture surveys and planting of their seabeds.
Festival of the Mother (Debohran) and her Mate and Protector (Hyach)
This festival begins the day prior to Midwinter's Day and lasts three days. It is said that the Mother and her Protector celebrate their union on this day.
Festival of Renewal
Spring Equinox is the time when the Wood Elves renew their commitments to each other. It is the time of mating, treaties, allegiances and welcoming. It is also when those who are seeking adulthood take their request for recognition to the heart trees of their woods.
Festival of the Sun
This festival is held on Midsummer's Day. The Sun represents the Monarch who is Debohran's spiritual mate and brother to Hyach. It was the Monarch's request that Alquennas be conceived and born by Debohran.
Festival of the Spirit
To the Wood Elves, Spirit is the magical energy that is within every living and non-living creature and item. The Wood Elves believe that once they die their personal Spirit goes to replenish Alquennas's magical energy field. At this festival, the Wood Elves hold a special ritual on one of the landís life veins, (what humans call ley lines) to offer their thanks, respects and a small offering (a few FP points from each elf at the ritual) to repay all that the land has given them. The Festival of the Spirit is held on the Autumn Equinox.
Festival of Peace
The Wood Elves, and for that matter all of the Elves be them True Elves, Wood Elves, Great Elves, or Shadow Elves have endured the hardship of war - mostly against the Horde. This festival celebrates the day that peace was declared in every conflict that any Elves took part in. The festival is held on the first day of Summer.
Festival of Thanks
On the last day of every season, the Wood Elves hold a small festival to thank their ancestors and the pantheon of Alquennas for another season.