The Night of Rest and Remembrance
The Night of Rest and Remembrance, often just referred to as Midwinter, starts at sunset of the last day of Freezefall and ends on the dawn of the first day of Frostwane. This is the longest and coldest night of the year, the height of Divine Winter's power. For the people of Bennoria this is the time when people gather around firepits sharing their food and drink while stories are told.
Preparations for Midwinter start no later than the 57th of Freezefall. Wood is gathered near buildings where the rites will be held so there is no danger of it running out. It is considered a bad omen if the woodpile runs out during the night. Snow sculptures are sometimes built by children or adults, decorated to represent the known deceased or of heroes long gone. It is taboo to have sculptures of the living.
The dawn of the 64th of Freezefall sees the locals gathering what supplies they wish to bring: food, drink, blankets, and cushions. As night begins to fall, they gather in the chosen building and set out a buffet for everyone to share from. The fire is stoked and then once night falls the stories begin. Everyone stays together throughout the night, taking turns making sure the fire keeps burning. Not one person is to be in chage of any particular job because this is a time of rest. Tales of the long dead are told while memories of the recently passed are shared. These are to be happy, pleasant times of memory. It is considered a massive insult for one to have no stories told about them after they pass because even the most reviled can usually have one story told about them at Midwinter. No one is forced to stay awake all night. If someone falls asleep they are treated with respect, though sometimes guided over to a place away from those still spinning their yarns. Soft songs are sung, but they are quiet tunes like lullabies and dirges.
As the sun begins to rise, those who are still awake wake all the others. Sometimes there is a person 'in charge' of keeping an eye out for the sun, but this is simply the ones who everyone knows will be awake anyway. As they wake up, everyone filters outside where they wait for the sun to rise. After the sun crests on the first of Frostwane everyone returns to the fire, splits the leftover food, gathers their belongings and return to their homes. The rest of the day is spent in hope because the worst of winter is past and the new year is right around the corner.
Sunset of the 64th of Freezefall to Dawn of the first of Frostwane.