Scarterran New Year's Observances Tradition / Ritual in Scarterra | World Anvil

Scarterran New Year's Observances

The Scarterran Calendar is divided into nine forty-day months on the Zodiac calendar, nicknamed the "priest's calendar". It concurrently divided into twelve thirty-day months on the secular or "farmer's calendar". Both the priests and the farmers awkwardly tack on a five-day "month" to the end of the year. These five days mark the anniversary of the Divine Rebellion.   Scarterran New Years observances take place over these five days and while every nation and tribe on Scarterra has somewhat different New Years observances, they all takes place on the same five days. The five-day Month of Nike on the secular calendar concurrent with the five day Month of Turoch on the Zodiac calendar. Nike means "victory" and in this case the victory is over Turoch.  
"Nine's blessing be upon you child. You ask why is a year 365 days and not 360. You are clever to notice that spring, summer, and autumn are all 90 days and winter is 95 days. Why the asymmetry?   In the Age Before Ages, Scarterra did have perfect symmetry. We had one continent that was perfectly symmetrically split around a fresh water lake around what is now known as Mera's Lake, but that is a story for another day forgive an old man's ramblings.   Back then years and seasons were symmetrical. The days and seasons progressed with perfection. There is a common saying that "Perfection is the enemy of the Good" and nowhere was that more true than in the Age Before Ages.   Scarterra, or more accurately "Terra" was a perfect world, a paradise with no hardship. No one went hungry, no one was cold, no one toiled. But this perfection was a trap. This was Perfection was not Good.   Mortals were kept safe and well-fed the ways pigs are kept in a pen safe and well-fed before they are slaughtered. Their very souls were the meat Turoch feasted upon.   When the Nine in their wisdom and courage decided to defy Turoch's evil, this cataclysmic battle took five days.   During this time, neither Turoch nor his servants were able to maintain perfection, including the perfect symmetry of time. This was the first necessary imperfection Scarterra endured. Every year, the cycle of the four seasons stops for five days on the anniversary of the the Divine Rebellion. Because this freezing of in the calendar being on the Winter Stellar Day, we are stuck five days of great cold.   Usually the Cult of the Compact is viewed as an obsolete relic, a joke. But for these five days, everyone honors the Nine equally as we do. For five days, everyone follows the Compact of old."   -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"Turoch would never have been defeated if he were not poisoned first and it was Greymoria alone was clever enough to that brew a poison capable of bringing the tyrannical Maker of All to his knees.   The weak willed do not like to see how sausage is made, and they are even ore horrified by how poison is made. Greymoria is often reviled for the harsh actions she took making the great poison, but all must begrudgingly admit that her actions were necessary else we would all still be fodder for Turoch's soul farm.   For five days at least , Greymoria gets the praise she deserves from the general populace. For the other three hundred sixty she is unjustly shunned and slandered.   -Carcelli Arcane Priestess of Greymoria

Seasonal Bad Luck

"In the month of Hayweed we bale hay. In the month of Harvesting, we harvest our crops. In the month of Blooding we cull our livestock and cure our meat.   The month of Forenike has fewer chores for the family to do but is very important that we tie up all our loose ends. It is very bad luck to have loose ends in your chores during the month of Nike.   If you have to do work during the month of Nike, the odds of having a random accident are great. We still have to stoke the fires, cook our meals, and feed the chickens but it is wise to do as little as possible during these five days.   There is strength in numbers so friends and families come together as the Nine once did so that we may stand united against the dark and the cold.   -Valdix, elderly gnome farmer
"It is unwise to light up a forge during the Month of Turoch but there is always some apprentice behind on his quota that has the brilliant idea of working these five days while everyone else is idle to catch up.   They always regret it. I did. Long ago I was one of these foolish apprentices, like many before me and many after me, I regretted my foolhardy actions. I ended up accidentally slagging the battle axe I spent weeks working on."   -Thostreas of Clan Snowspine, Master in the Armorers Guild of Meckelorn
"I am skeptical of most sailor's superstitions, but not all of these superstitions are false. Wise sailors always try to make port before the onset of the month of Nike. Any port.   Even when our ship is port, we are always hit with bad luck. It is amazing how many lines randomly snap or half rotten boards break or uncannily brave rats find unlikely entry into the galley stores.   I sailed the seas over a century and I was out in the open sea three times over this cursed month.   One time there was a terrible storm. We barely kept the ship afloat and we lost five men overboard. That was not as bad as the other two times.   The second time there was a leviathan of some sort. We lost four men. We also lost the mast and most of our rigging leaving us stranded for twenty days. Malnutrition and despair took the lives of seven more men before we were rescued.   I don't know how, but the third time I was sea, the crew was taken by sudden madness. I don't want to talk about the details..."   -Almon Genmaer, grey elf sailor
"There is an old wives tale is what you do over the five days at the end of the year is a reflection of what you will do during the afterlife, one best see out pleasurable activities.. I hope this tale is false or the afterlife will be very boring.   It is a bad luck to conceive a child during these five days so there is little to no mating during this time.   We could feast and drink but his is the onset of winter is upon us at this time so we cannot eat or drink too much lest we exhaust our stores.   You cannot even fight. If you spar with an allied warrior the odds of accidentally breaking a bone or suffering some other debilitating injury is high.   Fighting is out of the question even your true enemies are nearby. Yes, if the luck is bad for you, the luck will be bad for your opponent too so the more skillful warrior should still win, but no one truly wins if a victorious warrior contracts a lethal infection from a tiny flesh wound.   Mostly we just tell stories around the fire for five days and nights. That is enjoyable enough but not what I want to send eternity doing."   -Dabub, orc hunter
"It is well known that magic spells, both arcane and divine are more difficult during the Month of Nike. For over seven centuries tradition and common sense were enough to make sure that the many sorcerers and sorceresses of our fair land avoided unnecessary magical endeavors, but over the generations, common sense became less common place, leading to great damage. This forced my great grandmother to issue a decree banning frivolous magic during the New Year's observances.   -Gwendolyn ap Numaness, Queen of Swynfaredia.

Day One

"The first day of the Month of Nike marks when Turoch consumed the poisoned souls that weakened him.   On this day, we mourn the loss of these souls. We mourn the loss of Turoch's countless victims in the Age Before Ages.   This day of mourning is a time to reflect on more recent losses as well, those of a non-divine scale."   -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"Our clan fasts all day with neither food or drink. We hang upside down from the ceiling with the memorial stelae venerating our clan's ancestors. After several hours of hanging in revered silence, when our eldest living member decides we have been silent long enough, she begins singing a dirge of remembrance which the rest of us join in.   After the dirge, we reminiscence about anyone who died in the last years, then the last few years, then the last few decades, working our way backwards to our eldest remember ancestors.   Once we have reaffirmed our heritage, the whole clan will break our fast together.   -Colel the kalazotz of Clan Abehreh
"On this day we tell tales around the camp fire of friends and kin no longer with us."   -Dabub, orc hunter
"The smallfolk memorialize their dead on this day, a sort of repeat of Samhain but we dragon bloods follow a grander tradition that the Founders taught us. We mourn the loss of the ancient dragons during the First Unmaking and give thanks to our noble forebears for laying the groundwork of civilization for the races that followed them.   On this night, my castle and those of the dukes and duchesses are all packed with honored guests as we highborn gather to watch reenactments of great draconic legends of old. The impressive dragon costumes are a good way to get our young to learn and appreciation for our history. For obvious reasons we try to rely on practical stage effects rather than magical ones."   -Gwendolyn ap Numaness, Queen of Swynfaredia.
"On this day we of Kahdisteria look back on our noble ancestors from mighty Disterria and honor their courage and sacrifices that allowed them and therefore the elf race as a whole survive the horrors of the Second Unmaking. We thank the goddess Greymoria for safeguarding   Below the Nine, but above all others, we honor the great Disterian wizard Lensa Vaxidor, who slew the Demon Lord known as the Harbinger avenging the destruction of her homeland and safeguarding we who are her descendants."   -Reylis Ardreth, governor of the City of Light
"On this day we in the empire look back on our noble ancestors who bravely sought out dispossessed refugees during the Second Unmaking and took them to the safety of Lunatus where they were able to plot a counter offensive against the Demon Lords and their minions.   Above all we honor Lensa Vaxidor, the greatest general Lunatus has ever seen, whose leadership and courage was responsible for the destruction of the Harbinger."   -Almon Genmaer, grey elf sailor
"On this day we look back on our ancestors who wisely built bridges and alliances with many tribes and peoples who were estranged from us before the Second Age. Without these alliances, nothing would have survived into the current age.   Above all we honor our brave ancestor, the sorceress, Lensa Vaxidor who slew the Demon Lord known as the Harbinger."   -Nambra Jocan, wood elves huntress

Day Two

"The second day of the Month of Nike marks the point in the Divine Rebellion when the fighting began in earnest. This is when Hallisan led the bravest mortals into battle against Turoch directly. Most these brave souls died but the survivors became the first dragons."   -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"On this day we tell tales of our triumphs and victories in the past year. At sunset we burn all of our old trophies for we know that next year we will earn many more in the year to come."   -Dabub orc Hunter
"While the little ones watch an amusing puppet show of dragons fighting Turoch, this is the time we adults assess our successes and failures of the last year and make plans for the next year."   -Gwendolyn ap Numaness, Queen of Swynfaredia.
"It is a common joke that few follow their New Year's resolution longer than a fortnight, but nevertheless it is an old gnomish tradition to write our vows for the next year on a piece of parchment or wood and burn them on this day."   -Valdix, elderly gnome farmer
"It is considered bad luck to swear a new oath during the month of Turoch, but on this day we dwarves somberly reflect on the past oaths which we still are still holding on to faithfully."   -Thostreas of Clan Snowspine, Master in the Armorers Guild of Meckelorn
"We Children have a tradition to write a list of the names of our enemies and then burn it in a ceremonial fire."   -Carcelli Arcane Priestess of Greymoria

Day Three

"The third day of the Month of Nike marks the turning point in the Divine Rebellion when the Nine finally gained the upper hand. A time of celebration." -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"With the somber reflection done, this to break out whatever fresh meat and blood wine we have on hand and start feasting."   -Colel the kalazotz of Clan Abehreh
"Whatever spirits we have to drink, we drink it now. The time for tales is over and the time for loud singing has begun"   -Dabub orc Hunter
"Bad luck be damned, it is time to toss our cares aside like a human and drink ourselves into oblivion!"   -Almon Genmaer, grey elves sailor

Day Four

"A best is most dangerous when it is wounded and cornered. The fourth day of the Month of Nike is known as the Day of Wounding when Turoch and the Nine alike took most of their injuries."   -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"I have spent the Month of Turoch with grey elves, kalazotz, Meckelorners, Stahlheimers , six flavors of humans , and once with a clan of Tiamalan kobolds if you can believe that. Mortals might pretend to have a holy ritual for each and every one of the five days of the New Year's period unique to their culture, but on the Day of Wounding these traditions are all remarkably similar.   As far as I can tell, every nation and tribe on Scarterra dedicates this day to recuperating form their party night before."   -Norabruck Grumblespine, dwarven Circuit Priestess of Nami

Day Five

"The final day of the Month of Nike marks the actual victory of the Nine over Turoch. All of the Nine are recognized individually for their contribution and we celebrate collectively as the mantle of bad luck is lifted and a new calendar year begins."   -Priest Benek of the Cult of the Compact
"After the Nine get their honorifics this is the time to reiterate their shared cultural heritage. This is why I like to try to find guest rights with someone new at this time. I heard enough retellings of our glorious dwarf history as a kid. It is nice to hear about other groups' heritage for a change."   -Norabruck Grumblespine, dwarven Rover on the Wind
"We talk about when the goddess Mera created the first gnomes to unite Scarterra in peaceful cooperation. How our ancestors successfully brokered a truce between the ancient elves and dwarves. How they failed to broker a truce between goblins and the elves. We tell of how our ancestors were oppressed and enslaved during the Red Era and eventually liberated by the Order of Delas."   -Valdix, elderly gnome farmer
"We put away the puppets and candies and we make the little lords and ladies sit quietly and listen while we lecture them on our history in both in the Common tongue and Draconic. We tell of the Founder's grand vision for fair Swynfaredia. We speak of the struggles and reforms of the three civil wars among other highs and lows of our nearly 900 year history."   -Gwendolyn ap Numaness, Queen of Swynfaredia.

How does the bad luck actually pan out?

  Is the bad luck a real mystic force or is it just in people's heads?  The answer is a little bit of both.   It is possible to do normal things during the five days of the New Year's period and have normal results.   In game terms most mundane and magical actions are +2 difficulty.  This means the odds of botching a roll are much higher than usual but it is far from inevitable.   Or the game master can just throw unlucky random events at you.
Primary Related Location

Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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