EXERCISE Creating Holidays #2: Death!

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Minibit, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Woah wait, death? A holiday about... death?

    Yes! If you think about it, our own world has LOTS of holidays celebrating or commemorating deaths!

    HALLOWE√ČN was/is believed to be the day spirits can cross from the next life to bother people in this one!

    St Patrick's Day and St Valentines's Day both commemorate the deaths of historical figures!

    Good Friday remembers the crucifixion of Jesus

    and every New Years most newscasters and reports take a moment to note the lives that ended in the past year and appreciate them.

    If you don't want to invent a holiday about death, you can try coming up with your own funeral rituals! nearly EVERY culture has events associated with passing away which honour or remember the deceased, and are usually focused on comforting their loved ones. Some people hold big parties (wakes) to celebrate their life and the good things they left behind; burying, burning, cremating, and other ways of disposing of the body give some closure to the departed's loved ones; Eulogies review the deceased's life; erecting monuments such as statues or even mounds of flowers create a testament to remember the departed person's life.
    Many rituals also have a step for keeping their departed spirit from returning to wreak havoc! a Metis tradition is to cut long hair when someone dies, to prevent the spirit from dragging you with them by your hair; some cultures send things such as flowers, ashes, sand, pictures, or other significant items away on the wind, or down a river or into the sea, to signify the journey the spirit will make; a few also make offerings to deities in order to buy protection for their loved one's spirit as they travel to the next life.

    HOLIDAY FORM (you can use this, freewrite, or make your own form, however you're comfortable!)
    Holiday Name:
    When is it celebrated?
    Who celebrates?
    What is done to celebrate?
    How old is this holiday?
    Has this holiday changed much from its roots?
    Where do the festivities take place?
    Is there anything it is taboo to do on this holiday?
    Do people dress differently for this holiday?
    Is any kind of decoration traditional?
    Are any colours, symbols, or icons associated with this holiday?
    Are any spirits or deities associated with this holiday?
    Is it an important/widespread celebration, or a smaller affair?
    Are there any foods or drinks associated with this holiday?
    Do any natural events coincide with this holiday (ie: an eclipse)?
    Does it celebrate a specific person's death, or many?

    Is any kind of physical memorial built, decorated, or otherwise serviced on this holiday?


    FUNERAL FORM: (Again, freewrite, use this, whatever you like!)
    Holiday Name:
    When is a funeral typically held?
    How soon after the death is a funeral typically held?
    Is food and drink usually served?
    Is it a celebration or a solemn event?
    Are any safeguards taken to protect against spirits?
    Are any steps taken to ensure the safety of the departed spirit?
    Is there anything it is taboo to do at a funeral?
    Do people dress differently for a funeral?
    What people/age groups participate?
    Do any special performances or events mark the occasion?
    How is the body disposed of?
    Is it usually just family and close friends, or is it typically open-door?
    Held usually in a home or a certain place?
    Are any markers/monuments placed in memory?


    Other Creating Holidays Exercises:

    Seasons!
    Death!
    Food!
    Protection!
    Costumes!
    Travel!
    Animals!
    Time!
    Parents!
    Invention!
    Gifts!
    Inebriation!
    Superstition!
    Religion!
    Miracles!
    Birthdays!
    Manliness!
    Games!
    The Future!
    Purification!
    Flowers!
     
    #1 Minibit, Aug 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
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  2. Holiday name: Amaya's Cycle
    When? Early Spring
    Does it celebrate a specific person's death, or many? It celebrates the Goddess of Death. Amaya is seen by the Zaitra as an important and meaningful deity that works closely with her brother Zambak the God of Life to keep the cycle of life and prevent the balance from being disturbed.
    What is done to celebrate? (bonfires? dances? a feast? a journey?) Everyone helps prepare a meal during the day that is then shared in the afternoon, later people dance and celebrates, children play games inspired by the holiday and the adults. In the evening the large families gather in their Zhiangs to have a smaller and more private celebration of drinking, storytelling and praying until children have fallen asleep in the main room and are carried to bed by their parents and by the small hours everyone is asleep.
    Are there any foods or drinks associated with this holiday? Yes, the local wine and cider made from berries in near their city.
    Is there a specific kind of clothing to wear? Should it be a particular style or colour? The style isn't so important as the colour is, the Zaitra believe strongly in the power of colours. Grey (that symbolizes death, despair and fear) and white (that symbolises rebirth, life and holiness) are colours that should be used on this day, it symbolises the unevitable end through death but also the rebirth that follows. Also a grey and a white dye is prepared for this day and everyone colours their horns grey and/or white and paint symbols of both colours on their skin, grey dye is normally reserved for funerals and only on this day is it used in a positive manner.
    Is there anything it's inappropriate to do on this holiday? (such as getting married, killing animals, making sweets, drinking alcohol, or visiting a certain place) It is seen as very inappropriate to marry during Amaya's Circle, it brings unfortune and death to performa ceremony of hope and light on a day of death. A child born on this day is born under an unlucky sign and may very well die or if he or she survives can become a servant of Amaya and is then revered as a person close to the Goddess of Death.
    Is this holiday associated with any religions or deities? Yes, the Goddess of Death and her importance in the balance is honored during this day.
    Are there any natural events which occur on this holiday? No.
    Do you need to be a certain age to take part? No, Zaitra of all ages participate.

    What it's called: Rites of Passing
    Is alcohol served? No.
    Is food and drink usually served? No.
    Is it a celebration or a solemn event? It is a solemn event, despite believing strongly in the balance and that death follows life and in rebirth the family oriented Zaitra mourn their dead.
    Are any safeguards taken to protect against spirits? There is a lot of squares around, in decoration, placement of the graves and so on as Zaitra believes in shapes as well as colours and squares are seen as lucky and a good omen.
    Are any steps taken to ensure the safety of the departed spirit? Their skin is painted with special symbols using grey dye symbolising death and their horns, as the most important part, are dyed white symbolising rebirth. This is to ensure the body will stay dead but gives the spirit a chance to move from their shell and be reborn.
    Is there anything it is taboo to do or say at these ceremonies? No, just common curtesy really, it's a day of mourning and so a cheerful disposition will be seen as disrespectful to the deceased.
    Should you wear a certain garment or dress a certain way for it? Clothes should be grey with white details and the dress itself for both men, women and children are a floor length robe like dress tied with a belt and with a square shape by the collar and square patterns along the edges.
    Do children usually take part? Yes, if the deceased's family has kids then they attend as well.
    Are there any performances? No, it is a quiet ceremony where the dead is honored and laid to rest.
    How is the body disposed of? After the body is cared for properly it is carried to th eburial site by its relatives and two priestesses, the higher the status of the family the higher the rank of the priestesses that come. Then the body is laid in a shallow grave without being buried. After eight days have passed the family and the priestesses return to bury what nature deemed right to leave behind.
    Is it usually just family and close friends, or is it typically open-door? Family and close friends only attends the funeral.
    Held usually in a home or a certain place? It is held a bit outside the city, still inside the pattern of shrines however.
    Are any markers/monuments placed in memory? Yes, after the body is buried after the eighth day a small marker made of stone with carvings related to the family is put on top of the grave.
     
  3. How soon after the death is a funeral typically held: Within a day

    Is food and drink usually served: Yes, the favorite foods of the dead, or party foods like sweets and snacks are given out.

    Is it a celebration or a solemn event: A celebration

    Are any steps taken to ensure the safety of the departed spirit: Rarely, as most people of the world don't believe in life after death.

    Is there anything it is taboo to do at a funeral: Anger is taboo during one, it is supposed to be a time to celebrate all that the dead did in their life, and the legacy they left behind, not to be angry.

    Do people dress differently for a funeral: No, people wear what they desire, as no one wants the gloom of all the black that was worn to funerals before the apocalypse.

    What people/age groups participate: Everyone of any age participates, sometimes whole communities will help with the death of a simple member such as a dog walker if it's in a small enough town.

    Do any special performances or events mark the occasion: Yes, if the person was well known then something they enjoyed in life is done at their funeral, but if they were not known people dance, then the possessions of the dead are brought and dispersed among all that decided to attend the event.

    How is the body disposed of: Cremation. The body is burned to an ash and the ashes are spread on the ground, to blow away in the wind or become part of the earth, though if any family or friends want small portions of the ash to keep in a container it is allowed.

    Held usually in a home or a certain place: In a public place like a park or somewhere in the wild, unless the dead or their family wished otherwise.

    Are any markers/monuments placed in memory: None, as with the dangerous world and people dying rather frequently, there would be much too many markers all over the continent.
     
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