Worldbuilding 101: Holidays Part Two

You guys are awesome. I don’t know if last week’s blog resonated with a lot of readers or you were taking pity on an insecure writer (I’m hoping for the first, but I’ll take the second.) but I got more likes faster than any previous post.

You may also be behind the upswing on my Pinterest account. Still didn’t sell any books on kindle, but I remain hopeful.

So, holidays, part two. The problem with putting this off two weeks is I can no longer remember what it was I wanted to say. Hopefully I can remember and put in some good points anyway.

When is your holiday? Is it by the solar calendar, the lunar calendar, always the same day of the week? Christmas is by the solar calendar. It is always December twenty-fifth. Easter is reckoned by the lunar calendar, because Passover is by the lunar calendar. It is also always on the same day of the week (Sunday), like American Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada, it’s on the second Monday in October.

I can see the Weres using the lunar calendar more commonly, and perhaps the vampires wish to avoid the solar calendar as well. Do races that interact with each other more start using other calendars?

Perhaps your races use another calendar entirely? In Knightfall, there is brief mention of a Yeti holiday, First Winter’s Night which begins the Festival of Ice. Winter is declared to begin when the ice is thick enough to support the full weight of an adult yeti. But no one knows when that will be ahead of time. Also in Knightfall, Violet wishes a goblin RA a happy Mid-year’s day on New Year’s Eve, because the goblin New Year is sometime in June, based on goblin constellations. So, a stellar calendar. Maybe your holiday revolves around a blooming of a plant or the return of a migratory bird or animal.

How is time measured? Without a moon, we may not have months as we know them and it would be harder to differentiate the beginning and end of the year.

Holidays can be heavily linked to the values of the culture. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Because as a society we are supposed to be grateful and honor our parents and ancestors. Some holidays are made up for commercial reasons. Does anyone really think there is a good reason behind National Ice Cream month other than to sell more ice cream? (I originally used National Pancake day and National doughnut day, but apparently there are reasons behind them.)

Most religions have a day they consider more sacred than others. Most Christians (other than Seventh Day Adventists) have Sunday as a day of rest. Most Jews (and the Seventh Day Adventists) consider Saturday the Sabbath. The Muslims consider Friday a holy day. This is essentially a minor holiday each week. If you are inventing a religion for your race, a weekly holy day is not a bad consideration.

When does the holiday begin? Is it at midnight? At dawn? At sundown the night before? How old is your holiday? You may not think that matters, but it does. What a holiday is meant to be is not always closely related to what it becomes after some decades of time. Memorial Day is supposed to be a time to remember those who have fallen in battle. It was originally observed by decorating the graves of soldiers (and by some partisan speeches and bickering). But it has been turned into a three day weekend which is often celebrated by cookouts. I don’t believe I did anything last Memorial Day. I’m not passing judgement, but I think we can all admit the holiday changed over the years. The further a holiday is from the original founding, the more likely that the meaning and way of celebrating has changed.

Have fun making up your own holidays and celebrating the upcoming ones!

A little note, I’ve made Hyde University pins. You can see them and read about the development of the Hyde University crest on Facebook.

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Update

Sorry I’ve been off for awhile. Sometimes I get blocked and then distracted. I hope to have a real post on Monday. But in the meantime, I’m pleased to make a few announcements.

Knightfall, the sequel to The Pawn’s Play, is now out as the second book in the Hyde Chronicles. Available on Createspace and Amazon. First chapter can be read for free here.

I now have a Facebook and a Pinterest account. Each has unique items that are not available elsewhere. With a little luck and organization, the plan is to release a blog post on Monday, new pins on Wednesday, and something new on Facebook on Friday. Being me, this probably won’t work out for long, but here’s hoping. Check them out.

Nightmare’s Revenge, second book in the ‘Moonlight Memories’ series will be available on Halloween. First chapter will be available soon. Sneak peek of the cover is available on Pinterest.

I will be a guest at Marscon (Jan. 12-14) and Ravencon (April 20-22). New announcements coming soon.

Another Update

Okay, so apparently ‘update tomorrow’ means ‘update a few months from now’. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy, but who hasn’t. Since my last update, I’ve put out a book (The Pawn’s Play, now available on Amazon and CreateSpace); had two adventures while trying to drive home in a tropical storm (it’s a really bad idea to lock your keys in your car while it’s running in any case. Doing it at midnight, during a tropical storm, while your phone is in said car is worse.); bought a new (used) car and accidentally rear-ended my Dad’s car while trying to take it home (no injuries, no damage to his car, mine was drivable but the headlight was damaged and it was weeks before I could get it fixed); gotten a new addition to the family (in the form of an awesome cat); been snowed in for days (see my previous driving record, I am not driving on ice!); and been a panelist at Marscon (don’t think I made too much of a fool of myself, and I sold twenty-two books out of thirty.).

Anyone here who found out about me/my blog from Marscon? I’d love to know. I’m also working on writing a newsletter. I’m trying to set up a widget where you can sign up on this blog and my website to be added to my mailing list, but if that’s not set up, then you can email me at hjhardingbooks@gmail.com and request to be added. First newsletter will hopefully be out by the end of next week. Judging by the frequency of this blog, newsletters will not be overly frequent, so don’t worry about being spammed.

For anyone interested in knowing, I plan to attend Ravencon, but I did not sign up in time to be a panelist or even to reserve a table. I may have a few copies of my own books to sell, but more than that would not be fair to those who did pay to reserve a table. I would however be more than willing to talk about my books to anyone there.

The sequel of Secrets of the Moon Fox is not out yet. I was hoping March, but since I’m less than a quarter of the way through revising, it might be later still. The sequel to The Pawn’s Play, titled Knightfall, is through revision and should easily be available in the spring. Still needs to be professionally edited and any changes from that, but I’m not expecting any holdups.

First chapter of The Pawn’s Play can be read here for free. Please check it out. Like I did for Secrets of the Moon Fox, I would like to propose a contest letting a reader win a free autographed copy (by the way, the contest for Moon Fox is still open, details are at the bottom of the post on the link). The Pawn’s Play is a more tongue in cheek book than Secrets of the Moon Fox. It was actually supposed to be humor (sort of), and was inspired because my sister asked me to write a vampire school book. That didn’t happen either. But all the buildings that are named at Hyde are named for people who have something in common. The name could be first or last, real or fictional. First person to correctly identify what they have in common and the name behind each building gets a free autographed copy.

  1. King Library
  2. Shelley dorm
  3. Price dorm
  4. Griffin Infirmary
  5. Victor Science Building
  6. Addams dorm
  7. Barker Central building
  8. Meyer dorm
  9. Stevenson History building
  10. Poe Humanities building

Some are easier than others, but there are no tricks and no one is named twice. Either leave a comment or email me.

Monday I’ll have a writing blog. Promise. (I think. Fingers crossed.)