Like all peoples in all worlds, the citizens of Albion and the surrounding environs have their way of marking the days, the months, and the years.The Albionese system bears some similarities to our system and many differences. For one, the years in both systems are composed of 365 days divided into 12 months. Unlike our own system, the Albionese do not have leap years, for the Demigoddess Morgaine refuses to do that much math. Furthermore, instead of one random 28-day month being thrown into the mix of 30- and 31-day months, all Albionese months are composed of 30 or 31 days. Each Albionese week, however, is identical to one of our weeks, for both have seven days, named exactly the same, with the week starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday.* Days are also functionally identical to days in our world, since each is composed of twenty-four hours.
However, the seasonal cycle of Albion is drastically different from ours. It is extraordinarily long: instead of all four seasons being experienced in one year, it takes four Albionese years to go through a single cycle of seasons. Of course, not all climates experience all four seasons. The southern climes, like those of the Twikkii Islands and Dousa Desert, experience summer all the time. More northern regions, like Bledavik and Simberia, have winters that last for two years, with a year of fall and a year of spring on either end. The world of Albion also does not work like Earth in that half of it is experiencing summer while the other half is experience winter and vice versa. Once again, the Demigoddess thought that would be too complicated.
Another big difference is, of course, the year numbers. Practitioners of various religions of course number their years in different ways. The Wrightians number theirs beginning with the rising of St. Robert from the dead. In fact, the reason why their year begins and ends when it does is because of the date when he came back from the dead (more on that later). The first year after he rose from the dead was Year 1 according to their calendar. The years after rolled on until Albion was founded in 990.
Other than the seasonal difference and the year numbers, there are two other big differences between the calendar of Albion and our own: the names and length of the months, and the holidays and celebrations.
As it was mentioned before, the Albionese calendar is composed of 12 months of 30-31 days. The months run as follows:
All of the months have thirty days, except for five: Imsdyn, Tyves, Ververe, Jaban, and Radenth. These five have thirty-one days. The year begins on Imsdyn 1 and ends on Endskel 30. Unlike our own world, the academic calendar follows the regular calendar. There’s a brief break for students at the beginning/end of the year (around the last couple weeks of Endskel and first couple weeks of Imsdyn) so that teachers and professors can sort out who will advance to the next year. Students also have other breaks throughout the year, generally coinciding with important feasts, although these may vary by region, as the Church in different areas may emphasize slightly different feasts.
And that brings us very neatly to …
Holidays and Celebrations
Like all peoples everywhere, the denizens of Albion and the Albionese world need time to relax, kick back, and unwind. Obviously different religions have different feasts and holy days; those that the Wrightian faith endorses will be the main focus here.
In Wrightian territory, Sunday is mandated as a day of rest: no non-essential work** may be performed on this day, and all are expected to attend church services. Saturday is also starting to gain traction as a secondary day of rest. Many nobles refrain from non-essential labors on Saturday, as do wealthier merchants. Many government offices, like the courts or the tax collectors, are also closed on Saturday. Schools too are closed. However, farm labor still goes on, and almost all of the shops are still open.***
Besides the Saturday and Sunday weekends, there are many other holidays and celebrations throughout the year, some widely celebrated by the Church, some more narrowly celebrated by the Church, some entirely or mostly secular. Albionese citizens are also generally well-educated enough to know the date. This means that birthdays are often celebrated, as well as wedding anniversaries or other dates important to each person or family. Lastly, the Crown may cancel work for a day or a few days to celebrate an important event, such as a royal wedding or the birthday of the king or of an heir. This date may go on to be an official holiday, or it may not.
These are some of the biggest festivals in Albion and the surrounding environs. There are many others, which may grow in importance as time goes on, or may be important to different families.****
- Founding Feast, Imsdyn 1: Besides being New Year’s Day, Imsdyn 1 is also the date Albion was officially founded. There are often patriotic celebrations around this time, although at the present they are mainly restricted to the upper classes.
- St. Romeo and St. Juliette’s Day, Darid 14: This feast day commemorates the day that the lovers Romeo of Monty and Juliette the Capp were slain. They tried to bring peace to their warring families and were murdered for their trouble. Lovers of all stripes have adopted this day as their feast, and often the Albionese like to surprise their spouses with little gifts on this day. Popular tradition also has it that Sims who are born on this day are especially likely to have a romantic disposition.
- St. Skip’s Day, Clatan 18: This is the feast day of St. Skip, father (or so the Church insists) of St. Robert. Although the Church tries to get everyone in for services on this day and encourages the baking of St. Skip’s Bread, the holiday hasn’t really caught on with the populace.
- Feast of Free Will, Tyves 1: This is the day set aside to celebrate Free Will; i.e., the fact that Sims are (mostly) free to make their own choices in this life. The Albionese often celebrate it by doing the silliest things imaginable, such as jumping in puddles, going to the lavatory every ten minutes, drinking to excess, and running around congratulating each other for such feats as losing one’s virginity or earning top marks in school. Sims born on this day are traditionally supposed to grow up to be free spirits or freethinkers.
- Brandiwine, Seryl 1: This is the feast day set aside to honor St. Brandi, mother of St. Robert. The Church mandates that everyone attend services on this day. However, the main event comes after — because of the lore surrounding St. Brandi’s love of grape juice (particularly the fermented kind), new wine is opened and drunk on this day. As such, it’s become quite the party and is widely celebrated outside of its more holy aspects.
- St. Vivian’s Day, Ververe 21: St. Vivian of Cho is the patron saint of mourners and doctors both. Doctors often make a point of attending services on this day, and the cemeteries are usually packed with families of the recently-deceased.
- St. Agnes’s Day, Hybel 15: This is often reckoned to be the biggest party of the year, despite the fact that St. Agnes, the wife of St. Robert, hated feasts, frolicking, and merrymaking of all kinds. Although everyone dutifully goes to Church, the real party afterward. Oddly enough, all of the cultures in the Albionese world have a celebration on this day, and it’s always centered around a woman …
- St. Denise’s Day, Lenona 1: St. Denise is the patron saint of bakers and bread-makers. On this day, a new loaf of bread is baked and brought to the Church for a blessing.
- Llamamas, Jaban 29: This day celebrates the Llamas, the highest angels of Lord Wright. A great and solemn church service is held on this day, after which the Wrightians go their separate ways to have a big celebration.
- Feast of the Cordials, Osgary 30: The Cordial sisters were originally twin witches and priestesses, Samantha of the Goddess of Light and Kimberly of the Goddess of Dark. Shortly after their deaths, their followers decided they were in fact avatars of the Goddesses of Light and Dark respectively and decided to worship them as such. Several hundred years later, when the Wrightian faith had moved into the area, the cult of the sisters was proving particularly difficult to stamp out … so the Wrightians co-opted the sisters and turned them into Wrightian saints. This isn’t a very big feast for the Church, but witches and wizards remember the truth story and so celebrate it. In areas where suspicion against witches and wizards is high, an ostentatious celebration on this day is enough to garner an accusation. Furthermore, children born on this day are rumored to have increased magical ability.
- St. Pascal’s Day, Radenth 11: St. Pascal is, of course, the founder of the Order of St. Pascal. This is naturally a major celebration for the Pascalians, and since the Pascalians make up one half of the church in Albion, it’s acquired a heightened status in Albion.
- Robertmas, Endskel 25: This is the feast that celebrates the day St. Robert rose from the dead. It is the most sacred and solemn day of the year, even though most non-monks and nuns do have a party after they get let out of church. St. Robert’s early followers originally wanted to begin the year on this date, but St. Robert reportedly thought that was insane, given that there would be a new month less than a week away. It was his decision to start the year on Imsdyn 1, since that makes much more sense than starting it in the middle of a month. Sims born on Robertmas are considered to have a heroic destiny.
- Day of the Dead, Endskel 30: The last day of the year, Sims often set time aside on this day to remember those who have passed on. Services are said on this day in memory of all those who have parted. St. Robert himself instituted this holiday, and the time between Robertmas and the Day of the Dead is entirely given over to celebration, with the solemn feasts serving as bookends.
*That’s how Americans do it. I’m American. Also, that’s how the game — or at any rate, my American game — does it!
**In other words, you can feed your animals and take care of farm chores that can’t be put off for a day; law enforcement continues to work (’cause it’s not like the thieves and murderers are going to take it off); doctors can continue to see their patients; the Crown is still open for business in case of an emergency, etc. But schools and government functions that operate according to a set schedule, like the courts, are closed, and merchants and others who aren’t performing vital services are expected to take the day off.
***Even those run by the wealthy merchants. They just hire somebody else to stand behind the counter for the day.
****I.e., I reserve the right to add more holidays if and when I think of them. 😉