January 16th – Snow Day

You will see more children in the streets of Buentoille today than on any other day of the year. They will be accompanied by street vendors stirring huge vats of steaming caramelised nuts, soup salespeople and those supplying extra scarves, gloves and woolly hats with the bobble on top to the children and their parents. Today it is going to snow.

Despite many meteorological studies into the phenomenon, the question of why it is almost certain to snow today is still unsolved. It is thought to be to do with the sudden abatement of the southern Karst winds, but this is far from proven or fully explained. The pattern first emerged through the 1860s, but was initially ignored as that decade saw record snowfalls, still unmatched today, where Buentoille was covered in persistent snow from late December to mid March.

Whilst it might snow on other days of the year, it has snowed on the 16th of January every day since 1862, except for 1994 when it merely sleeted. Children wake up especially early, as the snow has often settled overnight, and continues to fall through the day. The few cars in the city are banned from using the roads today, but the tramways and train lines are salted in advance, and continue to run on time. The underground is usually unaffected.

Today it is also highly likely that the Moway river that runs through the south west of the City, and The People’s Mirror (the lake in Revolution Park) will freeze over, providing an excellent opportunity for ice skaters. The Committee for Winter Safety will test the thickness of the ice is adequate before any skating is allowed. Sledging is also a common pastime, and is part of the reason that cars are banned today, with many of the steep roads and lanes being transformed for the day into sledge and ski runs by the City’s children. The most famous of these runs goes through the twists and turns of the Prophet’s Steps in Guilgamot district; the child who can complete the journey unharmed and still on their sledge is awarded the Brilliant Medal of Extreme Honour by the Union of Children.

Today is also a day for the giving and receiving of cards decorated with snowy scenes, usually with the salutation ‘Happy Snow Day!’ These cards will often feature a redjack, a small, blood-red bird with a white beak that visits the City only on Snow Day.

Other festivals happening today:

  • The Guild of Skaters Grand Competition
  • Ice Fisher’s Association Weigh In