Sunday, March 6, 2011

Your World: Annual Celebrations

Many authors are greatly influenced by the places in which they were raised. For me, it's my hometown of New Orleans, and oddly enough, several of my characters also hail from that unique American city. Naturally, the city's most notable celebrations often find their way into my stories, too.

This Tuesday, for example, is Mardi Gras Day – a festive holiday known for its crowded parades, colorful costumes, flying beads, marching bands, delicious king cakes, and unabashed debauchery. Of course, given the Big Easy's fun-loving spirit, there isn't just one day devoted to this Catholic-inspired holiday – but a whole, two-week season. In fact, today marks one of this season's biggest days, as both the Krewe of Bacchus and the Krewe of Endymion (which, due to rain, was postponed from yesterday) get ready to roll down the streets of Uptown New Orleans.

So, authors and characters, I ask you:

Do your hometowns or homelands have such festive annual celebrations? If not, why not? And if so, what are they like?

25 comments:

Kaelin said...

No. None.

Candy said...

Wow! I've heard about MardiGras. Do people really run around naked and making out all over the place? I think I'd be scared.Does the Catholic church really promote this behavior?

Apart from Guy Fawkes day -(firecrackers) and the usual christmas etc, I guess May day was special. A big pole was stuck up in the end of our village street, and people would grab the end of one of the long ribbons attached to the top and dance and twist around until the whole thing was kind of plaited. It was pretty and we kids were excited to know spring was here.

Elaine AM Smith said...

FLOWER said

That lot makes the pancake run down our cobbled High Street seem a touch shabby.

Faldur said...

"Midwinter’s Eve was the one night of the year when it was not only permitted but expected to eat much, drink more, and dance with every hawin in the room. Tonight was a night for celebration.
Captain Faldur Relaszen observed the occasion by sitting in a fir tree overlooking Crikhaven’s courtyard, his light gray Ranger’s cloak drawn tightly against the cold. He felt like an oversized owl, sitting perfectly still behind the sheltering boughs. From his perch he watched each guest arrive, taking careful note of their faces, families, attendants, and liveries. He wished he could be among them. Not to join the feast, but to hear the furtive conversation of the hamen, learn the names of those he did not know, and witness the meeting that he knew would take place. For he was certain that in the wee hours of the morning, when the women and children had nodded off in the great hall, the menfolk would draw apart to talk a little treason."

Marenya said...

"The advantage of dancing, thought Marenya, was that one could survey the entire room without appearing to do so. As she turned and wove through the patterns of the dance, she searched for Faldur’s dark head amongst the sea of blond and red ones that filled the hall of Glenhym Castle...Surely he would arrive soon."

Marenya said...

None, Kaelin? Truly? You are very welcome to join us if you like. My uncle has plenty of room, and plenty of ale.

Candy, your May Day sounds lovely!

Flower, a running pancake? I would love to see that. Is that like the Gingerbread Man? I heard that there was a story like with with a magic pastry. We have some magic but nothing so interesting as that.

Kaelin said...

I think I would like that very much, Marenya, thanks for the invitation. I probably shouldn't, though. I don't know how they'd react to me, being so tall compared to your kind. And maybe they'd know I'm different--not human, I mean.

Aidan said...

Hi Flower.

Kaelin's holding out on you. When someone gets branded, we have a party, usually. I have to go to one for one of the Oman daughters in a couple of days.

Of course, it's not much fun. People expect me to be all... I don't know. But after, when things quiet down, Jason and Marc and I, and Kae and Lucy if they're around, hang out in our room and drink whiskey. We like to play cards and we'll toast whoever was just branded. But that's really it.

Jason said...

We had a grand party on the occasion of your birth, Aidan, and every year after, while you were still with us. You and Kaelin are too young to remember. The legacy celebrated all our birthdays, though the rest of Sentinel isn't much for it.

Mum set up celebrations on the New Year. She liked those human celebrations; said it reminded her why we're at this day and night. Made Angelique feel more included as well.

Haven't had a celebration since Angel died. Just haven't felt like it, I suppose.

Kaelin said...

Faldur, if you need help watching, I wouldn't mind seeing one of those parties sometime.

Marc said...

I want to know more about the pancakes, Flower. The twins do love their pancakes.

Marenya said...

Kaelin, you wouldn't be the tallest one there because Melbrinor always comes. He is the Prince and he is as tall as you. All of the elevja are.

So you wouldn't look out of place at all. And we have excellent whiskey.

Faldur said...

Many thanks, Kaelin, but we're done with our surveillance for the night. I have to go to back Glenhym and report to Mel and Marenya's uncle as to who was attending that other feast.

I wish I could be a cat on the hearth, though, and hear what they are planning.

Olivia Harper said...

Well, Candy, since my author has yet to respond to your questions about Mardi Gras, I'd be happy to satisfy your curiosity.

Mardi Gras is indeed a wild and crazy event. And, yes, people have been known to run around naked - or at least half-naked - though I hear Carnival season is much rowdier in Brazil.

And I wouldn't say that the Catholic Church promotes such behavior - rather, it's tolerated with the hope that people will get all that hedonistic stuff out of their systems, in time for 40 days of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras.

For most revelers, though, it's just an excuse for a party. For them, religion isn't really a factor - if you know what I mean.

Kaelin said...

Is the party still going on? If so, I will take you up on your invitation. We Trevets appreciate good whiskey. Thanks, Marenya.

Kaelin said...

And Faldur, perhaps if I join the late night drinking, I might catch a word of what you're wanting to know, particularly if I don't associate with you.

Aidan said...

Kae has no ken like me. But people do tend to tell him stuff.

He looks pretty unassuming, actually, until his knife is in your heart.

Calvin Mertz said...

Hmm. My setting is also my author's home town, but oddly enough I don't get to be involved in many of the celebrations.

Let me think; there's the parade of lights at Christmas she doesn't have me and the kids watching; the fireman's and policeman's yearly fund raising ball (well, I can see why she keeps me away from THOSE); fireworks over the dam (the largest earth filled dam in the world, BTW); Labor Day picnic at the Forebay.

Oh, there are two parades through down town, and the Old West days and . .

Well, excuse me Laura; I think I need to go have a chat with my author about adding some local culture to my world. I'm missing out on some action . .

Robert Crane said...

Psst; Cal?

Kaelin and Faldur have whiskey and ale. Ale's like beer, right?

And girls to dance with (hehehe)

I bet that Faldur fella could teach you a thing or two about surveilance; yo bro?

Calvin Mertz said...

Demons, Dude.

Robert Crane said...

Oh. Uhm. But not that Faldur guy, right?

Calvin Mertz said...

Shheee, don't ask me talk to them . .

Now hush, I'm living in Candy's world right now. Spring, May poles. Shaking off the winter blues.

Ah Candy, you make me want to be outside soaking up the sun.

Thanks for the smiles Pretty Girl.

Olivia Harper said...

Oh, Cal, that's one of the many things I love about living on South Padre Island. The "winter blues" are hard to come by. On the other hand, summer can be rather hot - which is why the ever-present breezes are so pleasant.

As for holidays, well, Spring Break is unfortunately a big deal here. But so are summertime holidays like July 4th - any chance to set off a huge fireworks display over the water.

Aidan said...

Cal, my brother won't hurt you. We're demons, yeah, and the most pureblood to come down the pike in about a thousand years. But we're nice.

Ask Marenya.

Abigail said...

We do have four seasonal festivals and some ((indetermitely spaced)activities, but with everything else going on, it's not likely to make it into the story