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Major Secular Celebrations in Human Space
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
There are countless small-scale secular celebrations in human space and, without even accounting for the major religious celebrations, it would be possible for a keen traveller to spend an entire Terran year waltzing from feasts to festivals without interruption. We would not assume the average traveller to have such stamina, nor patience, thus we have hereby collected a small compendium of the most famous non-religious celebrations in settled space.
- Lunar New Year: possibly the single most popular celebration on Earth. While it originated in Asia and in the Middle East, it is observed by most people across the world. The exact date of the Lunar New Year depends on the region. In East Asia, it takes place on the new Moon of January of February, while other countries follow their own traditional lunisolar calendars, with Africa, Europe and the Americas being aligned on the USRE New Year, which itself is based on the Chinese New Year. Celebrating the Lunar New Year is a very Terran experience and a hallmark of first and second generation Earth immigrants on other worlds.
- USRE Establishment Day: the only national holiday observed in the entirety of the USRE, this civic celebration commemorates the official foundation of the Union of Socialist Republics of Earth out of the Union of Socialist Republics, in the late Low Age, some two hundred years ago. It takes place on October 1st. While it is a festive day in the USRE heartlands of India, complete with fireworks and dances, outer USRE citizens only pay lip service to the celebration. It is custom to weave a sky lantern with the USRE emblems and let it drift in the autumn wind.
- Laniakea National Day: the national holiday of Laniakea, due to the more centralized nature of the Pan-Pacific State, is vastly more followed than the USRE Establishment Day. Each year on November 2nd and 3rd, parades, speeches and concerts in the great cities of the Pacific mark the birth of the Republic of Laniakea. It is considered good practice, albeit not always culturally enforced, to spend the second day visiting elderly relatives. In times of tension with the USRE or the Moon Communes, this day might include military parades, albeit they haven't been organized in more than a century. The address of the President of Laniakea, at the end of the second day, is the most followed multimedia event on Earth.
- Second Anabasis Day: this USRE celebration commemorates the armistice of the last continental war on Earth, at the end of the Low Age. It centres around the striking figure of USRE tanks stopping by the Atlantic shore, at the end of an odyssey that brought them all the way from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Europeans that live by the shores gather on the beaches at twilight on May 16th and paint the rusty tanks in bright colours.
- Week of Remembrance: a sombre celebration, generally held during the first week of March. It is dedicated to remembering all of the species, ecosystems and geosystems lost during the industrial age and beyond. Many Terrans remember it as the day where they used to visit the local museums, daydreaming in front of the representations of species lost to climate change -- from emperor penguins to skylarks and bees.
- Rani Spengler Day: though the discoverer of the geometry drive betrayed the Moon Communes to put the FTL engine in the public domain, the Moon still remembers her. This celebration, held during Terran September, commemorates her achievement and that of the pre-interstellar Moon Communes. It culminates in a descent to the heart of the Moon, where lunar denizens visit the old AIs living near the core, asking them about the old days and sharing a cup of tea.
- Remembrance of Phobos: a Martian celebration, commemorating the destruction of Phobos during the first stages of the Long War of Mars, seventy years ago. It is one of the rare universal truces on Mars and involves a good amount of stargazing under the debris ring of Mars.
- Voyager Day: an informal, yet very popular, celebration. Each year, from December 22nd to December 28th, a small expedition of volunteer ships is organized to celebrate the memory of Voyager I, II and Pioneer. The expedition starts around Ceres, visits the three probes, with a different planned activity at each waypoint (EVA, historical roleplay sessions, astronavigation contests...) and ends with a ground race on an icy body of the Kuiper belt, often Sedna.
- Day of Landfall: a straightforward celebration dedicated to the landfall of Migrant ship Look What We Have Here, sixty years ago, which marked the beginning of a permanent human presence on the planet. It takes place on the 212th day of the Eloran year, during the solar spring. A wide variety of rituals and practices serve to reassert the shared Eloran identity -- in a sense, the Day of Landfall can be considered as an analogue to national holidays on Earth.
- Season of Fog: a week-long celebration that mostly takes place on Lakshmi's continent, the most populated landmass on Elora. It correlates with an hemisphere-wide weather phenomenon, where the southward movement of polar winds clashes with the warm seas and surrounds the shorelines in thick, cold fog. It is a week of strangeness and license, where Elorans connect with the natural weirdness of their planet. The first and second days are dedicated to cooking traditional Eloran bread and getting dressed for the rest of the holidays. The third and fourth days involve long walks in the deep forests and whispering to the trees. The fifth and sixth day see Elorans donning strange, often morbid costumes, knocking on each other's doors and solving cryptic riddles in exchange for pastries. On the seventh day, a great bonfire is lit, and the Moth is celebrated. No one knows what the Moth is or who had this idea in the first place.
REST OF HUMAN SPACE
- Day of the Pleiades: a commemoration of the arrival of Phi Clio station in the Pleiades, which marked the beginning of the Irenian civilization in a remarkable achievement -- a single-way FTL jump of an O-Neill cylinder over four hundred lightyears.
- Day of Mourning: a shared celebration between Algorab and the Starmoth Initiative, where both organisations commemorate those who fell in service to the two organisations keeping watch at the edge of human knowledge. The ravens and the starmoths dress in white for a day as a sign of mourning, while various vigils, both religious and secular, are held around dead stars.
- Day of the Moth: we do not talk about it and, in fact, it doesn't exist.
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