I figured that instead of a dry dissertation on my world, I could write 'essays' of a sort, written by an outsider who observes the country through foreign eyes. This one is written by a Rinadrion (you can read about the country of Rinadrion here.), and part one is concerned mostly with celebrations. I hope ya'll enjoy this, and you can be looking forward to more posts soon! As always, questions are welcome :D
I have noted many interesting customs of the Arvindians in my travels through their land. One is the celebrating of birthdays every year. For most, who have many children, not to mention a great deal of kin, a simple wishing of good fortune throughout the coming year is customary. Like my own countrymen, they celebrate the coming of age with a gift and, if the family is wealthy enough they will give a celebration feast, but this is rare except among the nobility. In Arvindia, the age when a male child becomes a man is between fourteen and fifteen, while for a female the age is thirteen. I find this ludicrous, given that our own boys become men at thirteen, at the same age as our girls. But, however that may be, their celebrations are mostly simple, even among the nobility, and not such a great occasion as in my own land.
One of their oddest celebrations is the giving of a gift to any child under the age of twelve born on the crown prince’s birthday. In all my travels, I have come across only five such children, and none of them knew each other. How this practice came into being I have not yet found out.
The Arvindians also celebrate the coming of their forefathers to this land, escaping (as legend has it) from a mighty and malicious Sorcerer. On this occasion, all superfluous work is put aside and there is feasting and song. I will note here that the Arvindians are a people singularly blessed with beautiful voices; and their music is a thing not to be missed. They are a simple people, and sing songs on every subject under the sun, and rarely is even such a mundane thing as the baking of bread made tiresome by being put into verse.
They are a plain and hardy people, most of them living in small villages and fending for themselves. Their feasts tend (save in the great cities) to be of those things which our Rinadrions doctors would find coarse and bad for the heath. Nevertheless, the thick brown bread, rice, strong cheese, apples, and mutton which they eat seem not to affect their health, for they are robust and have great, hearty laughs.
At the Founding celebration which I attended, a farmer was asked to give a speech, which he promptly did. It was very bad grammar, and our orators would have been horrified had they heard it, but it was a good speech, in its own way: full of musings on good soil (which they have in abundance) and on the king (whom they admire for staying out of their business for the most part) and eliciting a cheer when, breathless, he stopped and downed a glass of ale.
The Arvindians hold another celebration at the beginning of harvest, during which any man with sons to spare sends them to his neighbor to join in the reaping. At these times, the whole village will dine together in the market, and there is a great joviality of spirit, especially if the year has been a good one (as it was when I traveled through).
Besides these, there are many festivities which go on among them to varying degrees.
If a child is born, it is customary to send a large cheese or a loaf of bread to the mother. If twins are delivered, the father will in some places bring his new children out into the middle of the village or city to have them blessed by his neighbors (as well as being given gifts).
The marriage celebration goes thusly:
When a man is to take a wife, he and she will go into the center of their village or city, where the father and mother of the woman are already waiting. After this, the man’s parents also come. All are dressed in their best. The man takes a white rose, or another flower if roses are not in season) and breaks off the thorns with his own hands. He then puts it in her hair. After this, they kneel down, facing one another, and the magistrate takes the right hand of the woman and puts it in the right hand of the man. They are then pronounced husband and wife in the sight of Enderel and their families, and congratulations are given. After this, the woman takes the white rose from her hair and gives it to the man, who places it in his tunic or shirt by his heart.
The festivities are joyous; though only the parents and the magistrate are present at the wedding, all the village is invited to the feast. There the man and his wife take a place of honor, but are not allowed to be spoken to by anyone but each other for the first half hour. It is then customary for the husband to give a speech, in which he recounts the tale from when he first saw his wife until their marriage.
Gifts are sent to the home of the newlywed couple anonymously. When I asked why the gifts had no labels or anything to signify who had sent it, I was given this reply, “It prevents them being worried about searching out the giver and thanking him. They wouldn’t want to be troubled about that when they are only thinking of each other.”