Yulefest in the Frontier Lands Tradition / Ritual in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Yulefest in the Frontier Lands

From Endmere in the north to Karnstown in the south, the citizens of every city, town, and village in the Frontier Lands look forward to a special celebration each year. It is a day when whole communities gather around communal tables laden with delicacies rarely if ever seen at other times of the year. Special confections... toasts to a bright future... reunions with family members who return from afar for the celebration... gifts of toys for the smaller children... all these are part of the celebration known as Yulefest.


The First Yule Feasts

In the lean and difficult days following the Great Strife, the survivors of the ruins that were once the City of Endmere struggled to survive from day to day. They vowed to rebuild their once fair city, and would ultimately succeed, thanks to the leadership of the Four Founders. In an effort to raise the spirits of those survivors, the Founders decided to make the first Yule holiday after the end of the war something special.

Communal feasts were held, supplied from stores of food reserves that had been a carefully guarded resource since the city fell. The fare was meager, but the spirit of community made the day special. As they returned to their homes after the communal meal, each family was given a large log to ensure that their home fire that evening would be a little brighter... a little warmer.

These Yule Feasts were conducted in subsequent years as well, and as the restoration of the city and surrounding lands continued, each year's feast was a little more lavish than the last.
Market squares around the city would be cleared and decorated with greenery, and community tables set up for the nearby residents. Yule became a day when the citizens of Endmere could look forward to sampling foods prepared with rare, precious seasonings. Pastries and other sweets - usually a luxury for the better off - would grace the tables set out in even the poorest neighborhoods, and as the city's restoration proceeded and its fortunes improved, guests were encouraged to take home the excess food as a gift from the city in return for the hard work of the past year.

The first few Yule feasts were funded by the Founders, but as these feasts grew, the Merchant's Guild members took it upon themselves to see to it that the many residents and shopkeepers that prepared the foods were supplied with the special delicacies needed to make the day special. Over time, the tradition of guests packing up excess food at the end of the feasts transformed into more formal gift-giving, with the merchants preparing samples of their wares as gifts in advance. Merchants and tradesmen that did not deal in food also got into the act; craftsmen began producing small toys for little children; these were also given as gifts during the feasts.

Gift-Giving Traditions

As the city prospered and grew, many artisans and shopkeepers began to expand on the practice of gifting their wares to the feast tables. Some began to give gifts to their employees and apprentices as a token of gratitude for their contribution to the success of the business - much like the city founders thanked residents for the success of the restoration. The gift-giving tradition expanded even further as years went by, until by now, the Yule Holiday is a day to give gifts to any and all who make one's life happier and brighter.

Yulefest in the Meadows and the Feywood Today

As settlements became established in the harsh, grassy plains south of the Oakwood - the lands optimistically known as the Meadow Lands, the custom of the town providing logs for the Yule fireplaces of the residents underwent a change.

Trees are quite scarce in these lands, so the tradition of burning a large firewood log transformed into the creation of a special confection called a Yulewood Cake. Cake and filling are rolled into a cylindrical shape and decorated with sugary frosting tinted to make the result look like a log. Further sugary decorations resembling leaves and flowers are usually added.
Confectioners in Meadow's End prepare hundreds of these each year, and contests are held to identify the most elaborate and tasty of the creations. Most of the treats are donated to the city-wide feasts by the bakers - enough to allow each family attendinng a communal feast to take one home with them.

The rest are sold, typically purchased by folks traveling for the holiday or those who wish tot give gifts of their own to loved ones and friends.

As settlers moved farther south into the Feywood, the ready availability of firewood saw a return to the tradition of burning a large log in the home fire, but instead of burning it on the evening of the Yule holiday itself, it was burned the night before in anticipation of the coming holiday.

But the tradition of gifting and enjoying the Yulewood Cakes was also preserved, with the treats becoming a looked-forward-to part of the celebration.

Yule in Feybridge Crossing

To pioneers in the Feywood, the village of Feybridge Crossing is becoming known as the place to celebrate Yule. This is all due to the efforts of one merchant whose heritage brings him back to the village each year. Nickolas Gringle was born in Feybridge Crossing, but left at a young age to seek his fortune.

After a brief life as an adventurer, he entered into the business of buying, selling, and transporting goods. Working out of Endmere, his career as a merchant blossomed, and he became quite wealthy. But he was also highly respected among the merchant circles due to his honesty, honor, and integrity. His prices were always fair, and he always kept his word.

One year, Nick decided to return home to Feybridge Crossing for the Yule holiday. He had long attributed his success to the upbringing he received in the village. Besides simply visiting family and old friends, though, he wanted to do something to thank the village for what he considered the most important gift one could ever be given: a spirit of integrity.
He loaded up his largest wagon full of trinkets and toys, and set off for the village of his birth. Along the way, in Meadow's End and Laketon, he added food delicacies for which he had made advance arrangements.

When he finally rolled into the village, he was greeted by many who recalled him as a youth. He greeted them all, and then surprised them by calling for tables to be set up in the village square. As this was done, he proceeded to unload all his gifts and spread them around. Children received toys... families received bolts of cloth, small tools, and other trinkets. Exotic foods were sampled.

Others picked up on the spirit of things and supplied bowls, platters, and pots of additional holiday foods until the entire village found itself celebrating in a single community-wide Yule Feast. It was a Yule like none they had ever had before.

Nick returned to Feybridge Crossing every year after that for the Yule Holiday, his wagon laden with treats and gifts. Others with ties to Feybridge Crossing also make it a point to return home for Yule now as well.


Fireplace log image in History section by Pexels from Pixabay
Yule Log Cake image by Larry White from Pixabay

Page background images courtesy of Pixabay. (No source attribution available.)
Banner image by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape
Side panel images by RPGDinosaurBob using HeroForge

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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Jan 15, 2023 15:11 by Chris L

Loved the details! Great article.

Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

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