The majority of Thedas, from Tevinter to Ferelden, celebrates five major holidays, each tied to the transition of a season or, in the case of First Day, the beginning of a new year.
First Day: The traditional start of the year, this holiday involves visits to neighbors and family (in remote areas, this was once an annual check to ensure everyone was alive), as well as a town gathering to commemorate the year past, accompanied by drinking and merriment.
Wintersend: Once called “Urthalis” and dedicated to Urthemiel, the Old God of Beauty, this holiday has now become a celebration of the Maker. It stands for the end of winter in many lands and coincides with tourneys and contests at the Proving Grounds in Minrathous. In southern lands, this holiday has become a day of gathering for trade, theater, and, in some areas, the arrangement of marriages. It is celebrated at the beginning of Pluitanis.
Summerday: Once called “Andoralis” and dedicated to Andoral, the Old God of Unity, this holiday is universally celebrated as the beginning of summer, a time for joy and, commonly, marriage. Boys and girls ready to come of age don white tunics and gowns. They then join a grand procession that crosses the settlement to the local Chantry, where they are taught the responsibilities of adulthood. Summerday is a particularly holy occasion in Orlais. It is celebrated at the beginning of Molioris.
Funalis: This holiday was once dedicated to the Old God of Silence, Dumat. However, since Dumat’s rise during the First Blight, Thedosians turn a blind eye to any old ties between the day and the dragon. The holiday is now known across Thedas as All Soul’s Day and spent in somber remembrance of the dead. In some northern lands, the people dress as spirits and walk the streets in parade after midnight. The Chantry uses the holiday to remember the death of Andraste, with public fires that mark her immolation and plays that depict her death. It is celebrated at the beginning of Matrinalis.
Satinalia: Once dedicated to the Old Goddess of Freedom, Zazikel—but now attributed more to the second moon, Satina—this holiday is accompanied by wild celebration, the wearing of masks, and naming the town fool as ruler for a day. In Antiva, Satinalia lasts for a week or more, while a week of fasting follows. In more pious areas, large feasts and the giving of gifts mark the holiday. Satinalia is celebrated at the beginning of Umbralis.
- Excerpted from Dragon Age: The World of Thedas – Volume 1, due out April 16, 2013 on Dark Horse.