January 5th – The Honey Workers’ Festival

The Honey Workers’ Festival harks back to the days when honey was a mainstay of the Buentoilliçan economy. The lower districts were full of wooden roof-hives, and anaphylaxis sufferers were given government-appointed homes in the Catathon district, next to the smoker’s yards.

Nowadays the honey industry is reduced to a few buildings in the east, and the iconic slatted nodules of roof hives that litter the rest of the city have long since been filled in to discourage bee infestations. Despite their modern lack of prominence, the workers usually put on a good show, and this year is expected to be no exception.

Throughout the day, stalls selling honey and honey-based products such as mead and candles will be placed around the bandstand in the Buzzing Gardens. Specially sealed and red-lit tasting tents will cater for those seeking out the more exotic dark honey; a potent, spicy substance made by the female ascended moth from night lilies. The Master’s Ambulance service will be on standby for any cases of ridgotoxicity which may occur (revellers are reminded to always have their blood type checked before tasting dark honey).

At 3:45, the Honey Worker’s Festival Band will march from the Cooperative Bee Yard to the bandstand, playing a special rendition of ‘Sup the Honey of Life’. The day’s highlight is expected to be the spectacle of Hanavario Thickskinne braving The Room of Killer Death Bees.

The children’s tent will feature many well-loved traditional activities, such as ‘a go in the big white suit’ and ‘count the bees in the jar’.

Other festivals happening today:

  • Derek Flatley’s Hall of Amusements Free Day

January 4th – Saint Reinard’s Day

One of the more important events in the Buentoilliçan Chastise Church’s calendar, Saint Reinard’s day is a time of prayer and of giving thanks to Saint Reinard, popularly known as the most sinful man to have walked the earth, and patron saint of dentists.

Saint Reinard was the last known Buentoilliçan sin eater to be officially supported by the Chastise Church. He rose to sainthood shortly after he was ritualistically killed at the age of seventy six, on this day in 1846. In his seventy six years walking the earth, Reinard, whose birth name was Hamish Bulgarrson, had accumulated the sins of over thirteen thousand sinners, around six hundred of whom were fellow sin eaters that had been collecting the consolidated sins of many generations.

The practice of sin eating is frowned upon by the Church nowadays, although many studies indicate that it still survives in a modified form in some small sections of Buentoilliçan society. The act itself is a protracted ritual wherein the sin eater bakes a loaf of bread containing a small quantity of finely crushed teeth from a recently deceased person. At the time it was widely believed that a person’s sin was concentrated in their teeth (a rotting tooth was a sure sign of sinful behaviour), and that by eating the loaf a sin eater would take this sin onto themselves, freeing the soul of the deceased from its ultimate chastisement.

Today followers of Saint Reinard will complete their month-long pilgrimage around the Seven Cities, ending the journey with a torturous procession up Ranaclois hill on their knees to the Church of the Holy Host. They wear red masks in honour of Reinard’s famously ruddy face. There, in the octagonal central chamber, each follower lets a small quantity of blood onto the central altar; the ceremony commemorates the killing of Reinard, who is said to have bled in a constant torrent for sixteen full days after his death.

By his death, Saint Reinard apparently freed followers of the Chastise Church of some of humanity’s original sins, which had been held by generations of sin eaters before him. A combination of astrological alignments and prophesied signs meant that sins he held returned to the earth with his blood. As such, devotion to Reinard is strong, and blood letting can at times be excessive; The Orderlies of Good Health are paid by the Church to oversee proceedings.

Visitors to the City are advised to wear appropriate waterproof footwear if they intend to visit The Church of the Holy Host or its environs today or for the next sixteen days.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Homily Collection Open Day
  • Dan ‘the Shill’ Johnson’s Advert Extravaganza

January 3rd – The End of the Wait

The origins of The End of the Wait are unclear, and many pieces of unproven speculation have been published by the Buentoilliçan universities (especially de Geers), but the general consensus is that this needn’t detract from the festival.

Celebrations on this day are highly idiosyncratic person to person, as is the essential meaning of the day. Some Buentoillitants choose to spend the day doing mundane tasks they have put off for too long, or similarly making lists and resolutions to resolve some part of their life which has been ‘left waiting’. Others (especially members of the Faucaust Sect who claim unverified ownership over the day) choose to deliberately put off something they usually indulge in for a month or so; be it chocolate, sex, popular music; and then re-indulge themselves with gusto today.

The post office also engages in the festival, ensuring that all the previous year’s post has been delivered by today. Similarly, many companies reveal new product lines during the festival; today Buentoille’s thriving music and digital games industries usually release hundreds of long-teased albums and games. In a piece published in the Ranaclois Herald about the large numbers of mental breakdowns which occur in these companies before The End of the Wait, Jeraldine Hait coined the term ‘wait syndrome’. This term has recently been picked up by the Union of Strong and Resolute Entertainment Workers (USREW) as a rallying cry against excessive working hours and pressure, in their fortnightly television segment, USREW Speaks.

Folklore has it that today is when the long-nested Gablelark eggs hatch, but various studies into the matter have proven this to be a falsehood.

The festival has recently been popularised in neighbouring Litancha, due to the cult film Waiting for Her, which features the memorable final scene set at the festival’s celebrations, in which the lonesome protagonist is reunited with her wife after a long stint at sea.

Other festivals happening today:

  •  Big Val’s Festival of Shapely Movers

January 2nd – The Festival of Tortoises and Tortoise-Related Animals

The Festival of Tortoises and Tortoise-Related Animals was created in 1979 by animal rights activists in celebration of the city outlawing the consumption of tortoises, turtles and other related creatures such as terrapins.

Revellers are invited to pet rescued tortoises at special heated pens set up for the day in the Holy Market Square, and free passes to the city’s aquarium are given to members of the TAS (Turtle Appreciation Society), AHRTWG (Animals Have Rights Too Working Group) and CBSA (Compassionate Buentoillitants in Support of Animals).

Holy Market Square also hosts a number of vegan food stands and stands for animal rights campaigning organisations which educate the public about the non-food-related activities that still damage chelonii to this day. For revellers who are fired-up by these stalls, safe release of anger and energy is provided in a march to the Parliament building and the BioJohnsoncorp offices (the latter are charged with selling agro-chemicals which cause stunted growth in tortoise shells).

Those fired up with more destructive tendencies can find adequate recourse in the evening when berrat hooks, slavets, budle spoons and other such illegal tools of the tortoise-meat trade are burned in an enormous bonfire, around which vegan hot chocolates are sold. As almost all the original tools were destroyed in the years following the Tortoise Turtle and Terrapin act of 1979 (excluding those held by law in the Museum of Traditional Antiquities), wooden effigies of the offending articles are used instead.

Other Festivals happening today:

  •  ‘Don’t open that valve!’ festival of BIG MISTAKES
  •  The Universalist Society Ball
  •  Festival Dejour

January 1st – Catrosondia Day

Catrosondia day is a reserved and humble affair for the City’s Catrosondian population. Mostly it is a time of contemplation for the homeland they lost in the Great Flood of 2001/2002, when in the midst of new-year celebrations their small island began to sink beneath the waves.

The cause of the sinking is still unknown, and this has been a source of great dispute and unease for the Catrosondian people; the remains of many families have been split by religious and political divisions as a result of their theories about the Flood. Many new groups have been set up in the wake of the disaster: some scientific, raising money and lobbying for research into the cause of the sinking; some political looking to integrate themselves further into Buentoilliçan culture; others religious, looking on the Flood as the act of an angry god, or even believing the island will raise from the sea anew, washed clean of sin.

Because of it’s proximity, tolerance and respect for tradition, Buentoille now houses almost the entirety of the Catrosondian diaspora. Whilst they are generally welcomed, some hard-right Buentoilliçan groups regularly express concern over the large number of (now settled) foreigners through demonstrations, lobbying, media and violence. As such there has been some hostility to the introduction of the festival in the past, but most are in favour of commemorating the terrible event which led to the death of nearly a million people.

For most Catrosondian’s the day is spent in quiet contemplation with their families, eating nothing but lehavas nuts (a buoyant nut which was the only food available to those refugees who sheltered on the nearby crags until help arrived). In the evening they gather at the Memorial by Saint Fibrass’ Dock and submerge themselves in the freezing water.

There are no other festivals today.