The Founding Festival
The Founding Festival takes place in the late autumn to mark the anniversary of the landing of the first Anag ships at what is now the port of Alham. Once, it is reasonable to suppose, the celebration held more visible ties to the Anag diaspora and overt references to their evacuation, but in modern times it is simply a festival day with few conspicuous calls back to its original purpose, other than its name. Like most observations in Alham, the day is marked by eating. Vendors fill the streets with stalls and carts, and all manners of street foods are available. As busy Alham has a thriving street food culture all the year, it is a delight to sample the more exceptional festival treats. The usual meat and vegetable pies are available, often warmed against the autumn chill, as well as specialty products for the festival atmosphere, such as sweet fruity breads, fried doughs and cheeses, and a twisted star-shaped pastry called lantern-tarte. This last might be a descendent of an Anag tradition, possibly integrated with an Ileni product, but the details of its origins and any explanations have been lost in the passing centuries. Aside from the traditional military parade (see below), contests, duels, and other displays of martial prowess have been added to the festival to support the public's confidence in the soldiers who defend them from the raiding Ryuven. On rare occasions a captive Ryuven might be displayed during the festival, but successful captures of Subdued Ryuven are so uncommon as to make this impractical for annual viewing.
Military ParadeOne key component of the annual festival is the royal review of the military parade. As the importance of Chrenada's military grew to defend against the Ryuven raids, the military parade became a crowd-pleasing way to assure the population of their king's protection. In modern times, the royal family sits on a decorated balcony to look over the parade route at the Naziar, Alham's palace-fortress. The march then continues out from the Naziar into the city itself and winds through the streets, giving spectators ample opportunity to observe and cheer their king's power (and to see their taxes incarnated as an effective protection). One intended display of royal power ended poorly, in the infamous case of The Fall of King Frederick III, but fortunately for the royal family that has passed beyond living memory and is rarely mentioned outside of incorrigible academic discussions.
HorsesOne particular feature of the Founding Festival is the inclusion of horses in the military parade. These rare creatures, not native to the continent, unusually large, relatively fragile, and difficult to breed, are priceless, and each year the highest military officers are led on royal horses (chosen especially for the boisterous occasion and their inexperienced riders) as part of the military parade. It is uncertain whether the excitement and cheering as the parade's head passes along the streets is for the generals or for the horses, and wise minds have made certain never to ask the question.
For a city so concerned with culture and learning as Alham, there is remarkably little made of the history of the Founding Festival. This may be due to Chrenada's willingness to forget her more humble origins; while she was a respectable kingdom from the start, unlike her neighbor The Wakari Coast and their pirate founding, it is also true that Chrenada was not always a bastion of strength and indeed was forced to unpleasant terms at several points in history, including by Bloody-Neck Jacko and his Wakari pirates. While many facets of Chrenadan history can be polished to gleam in the modern eye, the early period of desperate Anag settlement lies so far from the regional power that Chrenada is today that most talk about the kingdom's past will minimize it in favor of more flattering periods.