“On this, the darkest night of the year, we remember the light is coming soon…”
Almost all human cultures celebrate a form of Yule, the festival of “light overcoming darkness.” The methods of celebration vary drastically, as does the name of the celebration itself. The date of Yule is fixed as the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year.
THE NORTHERN WORLD
Candles are lit during Yule, the darkest night of the year. Luna cakes, a type of sweetbread imprinted with a special rune, are served. Gifts are given and Yule trees — evergreens decorated with ornaments — are displayed in homes and city squares. Wreaths are hung over doors. In Gallia, Yule carols are sung in the streets.
Yule in the Empire is marked by role reversals; slaves are served by their masters and permitted to speak ill of them, children rule over their parents and pets are fed the finest of foods. Mismatched brightly-colored clothing is worn and the pointed “liberty cap” is donned. Gifts are given, especially by masters to their slaves. For seven days candles are lit, no unnecessary work is done and parties are held nightly. Many call Yule “the happiest time of year.”
In Fharas, the “Feast of Lights” is celebrated on the winter solstice. Candles are lit on that day and the two days preceding it. Sacrifices are made in temples and shrines and all work is forbidden.
THE ELVEN WORLD
The elven celebration of Yule (Iulé) has the most in common with celebrations in the Northern World. Wreaths and evergreen trees, decorated with starstones, illuminate the night. Luna cakes and sweet foods are consumed. Alms are collected and distributed to the poor.
The Lonen do not celebrate Yule, considering it a “Lamen superstition.” Instead, the King’s Day is celebrated the day after Yule, honoring the state and the government. A brief respite from work is allowed, but holiday symbols and traditions are considered superstitious