With Valentine’s Day coming up (and the Chinese New Year falling on the same day), I’ve been thinking about all the different celebrations I know of and sorting them into different categories.
There are beginning-of-life celebrations, such as birthdays, naming days and baptisms. There are rite of passage celebrations, like graduation, wedding showers, housewarmings and baby showers. There are end of life rituals like wakes, and days to remember the dead (Memorial Day, Day of the Dead).
There are celebrations around religious and historical figures and events (feasts of the Saints, Christmas, Eid al-Adha, Fourth of July). One of these is the English (is celebrated in other parts of the UK as well?) Guy Fawkes’ Night, which celebrates the failure of a guy to blow up Parliament by shooting off fireworks and burning him in effigy. I’ve always found that one odd and amusing.
There are seasonal celebrations, and those that mark events of agricultural importance. Winter Solstice celebrations, harvest celebrations, fertility rites all come under this. I expect hunting societies have their own share of hunting-related rituals and celebrations, though none springs to mind immediately.
My sunless world of Quartz has a moon with a funky orbit. Twice a year (their definition of year), it stays in the sky for double the “normal” time and goes around the horizon in a belt-like orbit. The denizens call this Girddlesday and this is the time for contracts–marriages, treaties, trade agreements, and the like.. After the second Girddlesday of the year (let’s call this the Greater Girddlesday), the people mourn the disappearance of their primary celestial light source. When the moon rises again on New Year’s Day, they celebrate with performances, free food and drink, parades of large animals (very rare on that world).
If you could create a celebration, what would it be? What kind of celebrations would aliens on Jupiter have, or the folks on a colony ship that has been in space for generations? What would selkies or vampires or avian-humanoid hybrids celebrate?