A comprehensive list of holidays celebrated annually in the Fontraile RP Edit
Who Celebrates It: The People of Jang, The People of Xing
When It's celebrated: February 3rd
What It Is: Known as "Bean-Throwing Festival" or "Bean-Throwing Ceremony". It is actually the day before the beginning of spring in Jang. It's name literally means "seasonal division" and thus serves as the understood beginning of the new year to those of Xingese and Jangese culture.
How It Is Celebrated: Setsubun is marked by a traditional ceremony intended to cleanse away the evil of the previous year and drive away disease-carrying spirits known as "Mameki" (literally translated as bean-throwing). While traditional Jang practice involves the household's "toshitoko" (the male born on the corresponding year of the Xingese zodiac or head male of the family) performs this ceremony, in light of things Bunnie Mei Rabbotou performs the ceremony. The ceremony consists of using roasted soybeans (fortune beans known as fuku mame) are either thrown out the doorway of the household (in this case Rabbot Dojo) or at a corresponding member of the family (in this case a male member of Rabbot Dojo's exchange student class) wearing an oni (ogre demon) mask while attendees chant in the Jang Language "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" (Translated: "Evil demons out! Good luck in!"). As part of facilitating bringing good luck in, it is customary to eat roasted soybeans--one for each year of one's life plus one additional one to represent the year of good luck.
Other: While unofficial, it Setsubun's Mameki Ceremony has been said to parallel the practice of throwing rice at weddings.
Hina Matsuri: Edit
Who Celebrates It: The People of Jang
When It's Celebrated: March 3rd
What It Is: In Jang, it is known as Doll Festival or Girl's Day.
How It Is Celebrated: Beginning in the "Kyouto" period of Jang history, the tradition of displaying dolls arose from the belief that dolls had the power to imprison evil spirits. Descended from the practice of "hina-nagashi" (doll floating, literally); straw hina dolls were set afloat on a boat down a river to the sea in order to take with them troubles and evil spirits. Some parts of Jang have shrines where this is done in practice, often to pray for the safety of children. The holiday is celebrated by setting up an intricate doll set depicting the ruling royal Jang family and royal court. The display is left up throughout March 3rd and 4th. Per superstition, the display is not left up beyond March 4th on the belief that it will result in bad luck or a late marriage for the daughter.
Other Practices/Cuisine: The customary drink for the festival is "shirozake", a sake made from fermented rice. A colored "hina-arare", bite-sized crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce depending on the region, and "hishimochi", a diamond-shaped colored rice cake, are served. "Chirashizushi" (sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with raw fish and a variety of ingredients) is often eaten. A salt-based soup called ushiojiru containing clams still in the shell is also served. Clam shells in food are deemed the symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and no pair but the original pair can do so.
Placement of the Dolls: The dolls of a Hina Matsuri set arranged on a platform called a "hina dan" which is covered by a red carpet with rainbow stripes on the bottom known as a "dankake" or "hi-mousen". Modern Hina Matsuri practice implements the setting up and display of the seven-tiered Hina Matsuri doll set, depicting the ruling Jang royal family and royal court. While the order in which the dolls are placed may very the positioning per levels is always the same:
1st tier: Odairi-sama (Emperor) holding a "shaku" (royal baton) and Ohime-sama (Empress) holding a fan. Often placed in front of a gold, folding screen called a "byoubu" and beside Jang garden trees. Optional accessories include bonbori (lampstands), hibukuro (silk or paper lanterns with cherry or "ume" blossom patterns), and sanbou kazari (two vases of artificial peach branches called "kuchibana").
2nd tier: San-nin kanojo (three court ladies). Each holds sake equipment. From right to left: Nagae no choushi (long-handled sake-bearer; standing), Sanpou (seated sake-bearer), Kuwae no choushi (backup sake-bearer). Additional accessories include takatsuki (stands with round table tops for seasonal sweets).
3rd tier: Gonin bayashi (five court musicians). Each holds an instrument save for the singer, who holds a fan. In order: "taiko" (small drum, seated), "outsuzumi" (large drum, standing), "kotsuzumi" (hand drum, standing), fue (flute, standing), "utaikata" (singer, holding a fan and standing).
4th tier: Daijin (two ministers). Consist of the Udaijin (Minister of the Right, depicted as younger) and the Sadaijin
5th tier: The fifth tier, between the plants, holds three helpers or samurai as the protectors of the Emperor and Empress. From left to right: nakijougo (Maudlin drinker). okorijougo (Cantankerous drinker), waraijougo (Merry drinker).
6th tier: These are items used within the palatial residence: "tansu": chest of (usually five) drawers, sometimes with swinging outer covering doors, "nagamochi": long chest for kimono storage, "hasamibako": smaller clothing storage box, placed on top of nagamochi, "kyōdai": literally mirror stand, a smaller chest of drawer with a mirror on top, "haribako": sewing kit box, two "hibachi": braziers, and "daisu": a set of ocha dougu or cha no yu dougu--utensils for the tea ceremony.
7th tier: These are items used when away from the palatial residence: "jubako": a set of nested lacquered food boxes with either a cord tied vertically around the boxes or a stiff handle that locks them together, "gokago": a palanquin, "goshoguruma": an ox-drawn carriage favored by Kyouto nobility. This last is sometimes known as gisha or gyuusha. Less common, "hanaguruma" an ox drawing a cart of flowers.
Other: While not related to the holiday, UCIAT member Gadget Hackwrench celebrates her birthday on Hina Matsuri.
Festival of the Rabbit: Edit
Who Celebrates It: The people of Southern Ecotropia
When It is Celebrated: Varies according to yearly calendar, between March and April
What It Is: A traditional spring holiday celebrating life, fertility, and appreciation of lagomorphic species
How It Is Celebrated: Known as a "western" influenced holiday, this holiday glorifies the changing of the seasons and its symbolic heralding of new life, new romances, new opportunities, fertility, and the overall appreciation of rabbits and rabbit-like species. While religious connotation are often linked to Festival of the Rabbit, no official (and in some cases plausible) connections exist. The holiday is often shared among children of all races (though lagomorphic species are often the majority represented) and involves many spring activities ranging from a competitve group hunt for hidden colored/decorated hard-boiled eggs, outdoor activities and sports, and the appreciation and sharing of chocolates and candies. It may also entail floral arrangements or small festivals.
Kodomo no Hi: Edit
Who Celebrates It: The People of Jang, the People of Xing
When It Is Celebrated: May 5th, as part of "Golden Week".
What It Is: Children's Day or Boy's Day. A celebration set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness; as well as promote and celebrate healthy growth.
How It Is Celebrated: Originally known as Tango no Sekku (seasonal festival of the edge/first noon), it was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the Xing calendar. It was then moved to May 5th after the Jang calendar system was amended. Before this day, families raise the carp-shaped "koinobori" flags (carp because of the Xingese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), one for each boy (or child), display a Kintarou doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, kabuto. Kintarou and the kabuto are symbols of a strong and healthy boy. Kintarou is the childhood name of "Sakata no Kintoki" who was a hero in the Kyouto period, a subordinate samurai of Minamoto no Raikou, having been famous for his strength when he was a child. It is said that Kintarou rode a bear, instead of a horse, and played with animals in the mountains when he was a young boy.
Cusine: Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves—kashiwa-mochi (just like regular mochi, but is also filled with red beans jam) and chimaki (a kind of "sweet rice paste", wrapped in an iris or bamboo leaf)—are traditionally served on this day. The black carp (Magoi) at the top represents the father, the red carp (Higoi) represents the mother, and the last carp represents the son, with an additional carp added for each subsequent son with color and position denoting their relative age. Despite being the only surviving member of the Rabbotou Clan, Bunnie continues to fly the traditional colors of the koinobori, using the black and red to represent the memory of her parents, and the additional carps to represent her dojo's male students rather than herself and her sister, Bunnette.
Other: UCIAT member, Bunnie Rabbot celebrates her birthday on this day.
Who Celebrates It: The People of Jang, the People of Xing
When It Is: July 7th
What It Is: Literally translated, "The Evening of the Seventh". An oriental Star Festival celebrating the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively).
How It Is Celebrated: According to legend, the Ginga (The Galaxy) separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the solar-lunar calendar. In present-day Jang, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on "tanzaku", small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day. Often there are summer festivals and star-gazing. Superstitious belief is that if one is able to recite their wish, mentally, in the time a shooting star appears then vanishes from sight, that wish will come to pass.
There is also a traditional Tanabata song:
Sasa no ha sara-sara (The bamboo leaves rustle)
Nokiba ni yureru (shaking away in the leaves.)
Ohoshi-sama kira-kira (The stars twinkle)
Kingin sunago (on the gold and silver grains of sand.)
Goshiki no tanzaku (The five-colour paper strips)
watashi ga kaita (I have already written.)
Ohoshi-sama kirakira (The stars twinkle,)
sora kara miteru (they watch us from heaven.)
Other: While UCIAT member, Princess Violet Tokugawa
celebrates her birthday on July 1st, her celebrations can and often do
run week long thus ending with her celebrating Tanabata with Bunnie Rabbot.
Who Celebrates It: The People of Jang, Ecotropian Lycans
When It Is: Approximately September 15th, according to the lunar cycle.
What It Is: Otsukimi or Tsukimi is the annual aesthesic appreciation of the full moon/harvest moon, marking the beginning of the autumn season.
How It Is Celebrated: While lycans celebrate the lunar cycle, monthly, the Jang select only one lunar cycle of the year for a special appreciation of the full moon, regardless of race. The Jang believe the moon is especially beautiful between the months of September and October. Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Jang pampas grass(susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month. The alternate names of the celebrations, Imomeigetsu (literally "potato harvest moon") and Mamemeigetsu ("bean harvest moon") or Kurimeigetsu ("chestnut harvest moon") are derived from these offerings.