Tales of the Northern March
This is the halfling calendar that was in place when humans first came to the valley. It was adopted by the human farmers and stuck. Months are 4 weeks, 28 days long. Seasons start on the equinox/solstice. New moon is the first day of the month, full moon is the 15th, half moons on the 8th and 22nd. The fortnight is also an important measure, dividing each month into Low (first two weeks) and High (latter two weeks) parts.
- Spring (moderate)
- Seed Moon: plant spring grains (barley, oats), plant flax and hemp, farrowing, wean calves (12h)
- Milk Moon: plant pulses (peas, beans), capture bees, plant gardens, cow’s milk (15h)
- Wool Moon: lambs weaned, sheep’s milk, shearing (17h)
- Summer (warm)
- Hunger Moon: harvest flax and hemp, retting, haymaking (18h)
- Harvest Moon: harvest grains (winter than spring) (17h)
- Honey Moon: process grain, harvest pulses, harvest honey, breed cattle (15h)
- Autumn (moderate, windy)
- Apple Moon: plant winter grains (wheat, rye), harvest fruit and nuts, breed sheep (12h)
- Hunter Moon: hunt migrating birds, pannaging, collecting firewood, thatch, and bedding (10h)
- Blood Moon: slaughtering, indoor work (spinning and handicrafts) (8h)
- Winter (cold, windy)
- Yule Moon: clear ditches, cut wood, lambing, breed sows (7h)
- Ice Moon: hedge and fence maintenance, prune fruit trees, plant willow, calving (8h)
- Sugar Moon: harvest maple sugar, preparing fields (10h)
Days of the Week
- Sun’s Day
- Moon’s Day
- Tyr’s Day
- Odin’s Day
- Thor’s Day
- Freya’s Day
- Washing Day
The years are counted from the ascent of King Morgan. It is currently year 192.
The major festivals serve several purposes: honoring the gods, marking important points in the agricultural year, and providing a break from work and worries. They are times when the community gathers and celebrates. The holidays marking the solstices and equinoxes are called “dark festivals” since they occur on nights of the new moon. They tend to be more somber affairs. The mid-season holidays are called “bright festivals” since they occur during full moons. These tend to be wilder and more extravagant. Yule is the exception. It lasts two weeks, starting on the new moon and continuing until it is full. As such, it starts modestly and builds until the great mid-Yule feast.
New Year (1 Seed)
This is the festival of the spring equinox and marks the start of planting. Sacrifices are made to Baldur as his return from the underworld represents the end of winter. Altars are ritually reddened with the blood of the sacrifices by priestesses or important women of the village. Most human villages also have a tradition of playing a ball game against a neighboring village. In Fallsport, it is a town-wide event pitting those east of Gem Street against those west. The goal is to get the ball to the furthest tower in the opposing territory (Cliff and River Tower).
Beltain (15 Milk)
This is the mid-spring festival to ensure fertility for the new harvest and marks the beginning of summer pasturing. Huge bonfires are lit and cattle led between them before leading them into summer fields to protect them from disease. People may also leap through the fires naked for the same reason. Maypoles are constructed and flowers collected to make garlands. It is a festival of courting, dancing, feasting, and drinking. Sacrifices to Odin are hung in trees for the nine days prior to the festival to commemorate the nine days he hung on the World Tree to gain wisdom.
Summersday (1 Hunger)
This is the festival of the summer solstice marking the beginning of the season for war, travel, and trade. Sacrifices to Tyr are made to ensure victory in battle. There is feasting and drinking, usually the last of winter’s stores. Bonfires are lit and fed with bones. There is a jousting tournament hosted in Fallsport that attracts nobles from across the glen. It also marks the start of the hunting season for harts (male deer).
Gathering Day (15 Harvest)
This is the mid-summer festival which celebrates the new harvest with the first new bread. It starts with solemn cutting of the first grain and the sacrifice of a bull. Sacrifices are made to Sif as thanks for the harvest and a blessing on new marriage contracts. It is also a time for sports and contests of strength and skill. Games include the long jump, high jump, running, hurling, spear throwing, boxing, contests in sword-fighting, archery, wrestling, swimming, and chariot and horse racing. They also included competitions in strategy, singing, dancing and story-telling, along with crafts competitions for goldsmiths, jewelers, weavers and armorers. As with most festivals, it involves feasting and the lighting of great bonfires. The ashes from the bonfires are used to bless fields, cattle and people. In Edgemoor, this is the start of the bilberry harvest.
Mid-Year (1 Apple)
This festival marks the beginning of autumn, the end of the harvest, and the waning of daylight. A private feast is led by the female head of each household where sacrifices are offered to Njord to bring prosperity and wealth. Some families also make offerings to house or ancestor spirits. The festival is also the start of the hunting season for boar, aurochs, hares, and hind (female deer).
Samhain (15 Hunter)
This is the mid-autumn festival honoring the dead and the end of summer grazing. Cattle are led between two bonfires on their way back from the summer fields and those which are to be slaughtered are chosen. One sacrifice is killed immediately and the bones thrown into the fire. There is heavy drinking and feasting and places are set for the honored dead. It is a time when the dead are particularly powerful and passage between worlds is easier. It is popular time for divination. The day is considered sacred to Freya and offerings are made to her to placate the dead.
Yule (Low Yule)
The fortnight following the winter solstice is the great festival of Yule, after which the month is named. Huge logs are fed into the hearth to burn for the duration of the feast during which the sacrifice of a boar is made to Freyr in celebration to his return to strength (as god of the sun). There is wassailing, gifts are given (particularly by lords to their tenants and vassals), and large quantities of ale is drunk. Even the least man is able to eat meat on this day, as it is plentiful from the end of autumn slaughtering. It also marks the start of the wolf-hunting season.
Imbolc (15 Ice)
This is the mid-winter festival of hearth and home. It involves hearth fires, the lighting of candles, and feasting. Offerings are made to Thor asking him for good weather and to drive back the Frost Giants. Divination about the weather is also done. It is marked by the first births of livestock and thus marks the start of preparation for spring.