Relics of the North
Most cultures of Faerûn follow the Calendar of Harptos, named for the long-dead wizard who invented it. The Faerûnian year is 365 days long, marked by the passage of Toril around the sun. The year is divided into twelve months of thirty days, loosely coinciding with the waxing and waning of Selûne, and five annual holidays. In lieu of weeks, each month is divided into three tendays, also known as rides. Once every four years, Shieldmeet is added to the Calendar of Harptos as a “leap day” immediately following Midsummer night.
Particular days of the ride or month have no special names. Instead, days of the ride are denoted by counting from the beginning of the tenday. For example, “one-day, two-day, three-day,” and so on. Days of the month are noted as numbers followed by the month name. For example, sages might record a date as occurring on “1 Mirtul” or “27 Uktar” or “Midsummer.”
The Calendar of Harptos
|1||Hammer (annual holiday: Midwinter)||Deepwinter|
|2||Alturiak||The Claw of Winter|
|3||Ches||The Claw of Sunsets|
|4||Tarsakh (annual holiday: Greengrass)||The Claw of the Storms|
|6||Kythorn||The Time of Flowers|
|7||Flamerule (annual holiday: Midsimmer) (Quadrennial holiday: Shieldmeet)||Summertide|
|9||Eleint (annual holiday: Highharvestide)||The Fading|
|11||Uktar (annual holiday: The Feast of the Moon)||The Rotting|
|12||Nightal||The Drawing Down|
Every culture across Faerûn has its own special festivals and holidays whose occurrence is governed by the passage of the sun, the moon, or some other event. Five annual festivals and one quadrennial festival are observed in almost every civilized land:
Midwinter: Although this holiday is generally known as Midwinter, it is often celebrated under different names. For example, the High Festival of Winter is a feast day used by nobles and monarchs to mark or renew alliances. For commoners in northern climes, Deadwinter Day is a somber day noted mainly as the halfway point of winter, with hard times still to come.
Greengrass: The start of spring is traditionally a day of peace and rejoicing marked by the display of flowers (even if they need to be grown in a hothouse during the winter months) that are worn or given as sacrifices to the gods who have brought life back to the world.
Midsummer: The midpoint of summer is a time of feasting and love, marked by dalliances, betrothals, and (traditionally) good weather. Bad weather on this night is seen as a sign of ill fortune to come.
Shieldmeet: This quadrennial festival follows Midsummer night. It is traditionally a day of open council between the ruled and their rulers, and the renewal of pacts. In addition to theatrical entertainment, many tournaments are held on Shieldmeet, allowing the brave and the foolish to try to prove themselves.
Highharvestide: The autumn harvest is marked by feasting and thanks. Many folk travel in the wake of this festival before the worst of winter’s bite makes the roads and waterways impassable.
The Feast of the Moon: This holiday celebrates ancestors and the honored dead. During the festival, ancestral tales are recounted, and the stories and myths that bind cultures are taught anew.