Giving Day (Winterfest)

The last of the year has always been celebrated in different ways throughout western Immoren since the time of the Thousand Cities, but long feasts sometimes lasting over the course of several days or even a week are by far the most common. Many places still have gatherings of friends and family during this time called Winterfest, a time for sharing and camaraderie. The hanging of ivy is a popular tradition, perhaps to lift sagging winter spirits and remind the people that spring is not far away, and the greeting of "good health" and "good fortune" is commonly heard for days before and after this holiday.

Giving Day apparently came about around 269 A.R. when King Woldred the Diligent began an annual habit of going amongst the common folk of Caspia on this day with gifts for the children and coins for the adults. During his lifetime, this tradition spread to other cities, and long after Woldred had passed away, imitators with white beards would don long robes and a fake crown and spread the holiday spirit by presenting small gifts, tokens, food - ham, roasted apples, oat cakes, bread, nuts, eggs, spices, and mulled ale are the favorites - or coin donations. All walks of life now celebrate Giving Day and Morrowan churches customarily open their coffers to help fund the gift-giving. In general, this is a time for togetherness and appreciating family and friends, and King Woldred's charity over three centuries ago has underscored the spirit of Winterfest a hundredfold, especially in Cygnar, Llael, and Ord.

By Menite reckoning, Giving Day in the Protectorate has a different meaning. On this day every Menite is required to tithe the Temple. In predominantly Menite communities, especially in Khador, all citizens - even Morrowans and settled gobbers, and dwarves - are expected to tithe the Temple. Solemn processions of masked priests and exemplars of Menoth, accompanied by chanting and the tolling of discordant bells, are seen throughout the streets. In the Protectorate, the Hierarch and visgoths deliver speeches to thousands of gathered faithful at the great Temples, and in Khador, where the holiday is usually called the Day of Sacrifice among the Old Faith, boar, elk, and auroch hunts are traditional, concluding with a holiday feast. This hunt is said to derive from the Thousand Cities Era when Khards sacrificed animals at year's end in honor of some long forgotten god.

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