Miklagard has two moons, the White Moon and the Silver Moon, which appear in the sky according to their own separate cycles. The cycles are eclectic and difficult to track, so most commoners just go by the solar year (counting in days, weeks, and seasons) and ignore the months and years of the lunar calendar. The upper class uses the numbered lunar calendar to track dates and religious holidays. Commoners and peasants refer to recent years (up to about 20 years back) by the colloquial nicknames of each year, referencing notable events that occurred that year. For example, recent years include the Year of the Singing Swarm and the Year the Trees Disappeared.
The White Moon and the Silver Moon cause bizarre oscillations in tides, making naval travel very difficult and unreliable at times. Low tide sometimes uncovers rock formations and dungeons long since forgotten; high tide sometimes floods the entire coast.
The Borderlander Calendar
The Borderlanders follow a Solar Calendar with 12 months in it. As of The Current Year, Both Rangers and Barbarians follow a calendar that puts the Year of The Great Schism as “Year 0” (For Reference, The Great Schism occurred 1341 Years Ago, but it is not the Calendar followed by The Miklagardian Crown)
Borderlander Calendar Months:
These holidays are celebrated on dates determined by the season and, in some cases, the decree of the local ruler(s). They are celebrated by just about everyone, and are common knowledge throughout Miklagard, unlike some of the lunar holidays.
The Day of Life
- Celebrated: One of the first pleasant days in the spring, as determined by the village leader(s); traditionally, “once the fastest birds return”.
- Customs: Families spend the morning outside, decorating their houses, and chatting with their neighbors. Villages usually unveil their newest public monuments on this day, usually erected in honor of Belenus, Brigantia, or the Daghda. In the afternoon, the children are turned loose in the fields, while the adults drink to the health of this year’s coming crops. At nightfall, families return to their homes and thank the gods for a merciful winter. Seeing a goldfinch or another colorful bird on the Day of Life is considered an omen of good fortune, but seeing a raven or crow spells bad luck.
- Significance: After a long, hard winter, everyone wants to spend a day celebrating outside. It’s also a good time for farmers to exchange seeds and plan out their crops, as soon after the Day of Life comes planting season.
- Celebrated: The last night of autumn, as determined by the village leader(s); traditionally, “the night before the first frost”.
- Customs: Children and adults alike wear masks and disguises, ostensibly to ward off the servants of the spooky “October King”. Most villages host a masquerade ball in the town square, often with a bonfire. At the end of the night, people toss their masks into the bonfire and watch them burn.
- Significance: Parents tell their children that the October King sends his minions into human villages on this chilly autumn night, to kidnap and steal away the people. Wearing masks, they say, fools the monsters into thinking you are one of their own. Adults don’t believe in this story, and enjoy this holiday as a way to celebrate the end of the harvest season.
The Yule Festival
- Celebrated: The week of the winter solstice.
- Customs: In the week leading up to the winter solstice, villages practice various rituals and customs. Generally, it is a time for the whole village to come together. Most spend the week gathering firewood and preparing the Yule feast, which is eaten on the solstice. Villagers usually pray to Belenus during this season, asking for warmth and nourishment during the harsh winter months. Priests of Belenus offer services for free during this season, and keep a careful eye over the community.
- Significance: Most cultures have a holiday on the winter solstice, to keep up morale during the cold and dark of the winter. The elves use the season for deep meditation, while the dwarves huddle in their halls and throw a great feast. No one among the humans is entirely sure where the tradition of Yule came from, and every elder has a different story they tell the village children. Some tell bombastic stories of fighting frost giants and trolls, while others call it a solemn occasion to give thanks for the blessings of the gods.
These holidays are celebrated on dates determined by the lunar calendar. Due to the complexity of the lunar cycles, these holidays come and go at various times, and might fall on any day in any season. Additionally, the king or queen of Miklagard has the authority to change the schedule of the political holidays, although the religious holidays are changeable only by the will of the gods.
The Day of the Open Gate
- Celebrated: Once each lunar year, when both moons are below the horizon.
- Customs: The Open Gate is a religious holiday, and its date is usually known only to nobles and clerics. It is a solemn time, reserved to cherish new life and preserve the old. Common wisdom holds that more babies are born on the Open Gate than any other day, although this may be a load of horse manure.
- Significance: Arawn, keeper of the gates of death, takes his duty seriously. He does not take kindly to souls who escape, avoid, or cheat death, and he never lets a mortal soul return from death — except on one day of the lunar year. Legends say that the Daghda tricked Arawn into accepting this deal, though the truth is shrouded in mystery. Whatever the case, Arawn turns a blind eye to resurrections on this day… but also the creation of intelligent undead, such as liches.
- Note: It takes time for mortal souls to leave their bodies and travel through the gates of death. For this reason, Arawn freely allows mortals to be revived if they have been dead less than 7 days. After that time, however, Arawn claims their soul.
- Celebrated: Once each lunar year, on the anniversary of Miklagard’s founding.
- Customs: The date of Sigurdsday is announced throughout the kingdom several weeks in advance, giving villages time to prepare. On the day of, all settlements hold a morning ceremony to honor the name of Sigurd, first king of Miklagard, and his magical advisor, Aslaug Seidhrskjold, as well as all the royals who have come since. Each settlement does so in its own way; some hold a solemn event in the church, others drink to Sigurd in the tavern, and still others put on a pantomime and musical performance in his honor. Sigurdsholm makes the holiday into a multiple-day festival, where patriotic fervor runs high. Those who speak ill of royals on Sigurdsday risk harsh words and even violence.
- Significance: Miklagard was founded by King Sigurd, leader of a tribe of human raiders, who had emigrated from their previous homeland. He was aided by Aslaug Seidhrskjold, an immensely powerful magic-user. Some say she was a wizard, others say she was a witch, but either way, she was crucial to the founding of the kingdom. [[Seidhrskjold Wizards’ College]] was later named in her honor.