11 December, 2010

Midwinter Blogfest: Winter Celebrations

This post is part of Marieke's Midwinter Blogfest!

Here's some information from her blog:

What does your MC do for Midwinter? Any special celebrations? Yule, Christmas? Celebrations for a midwinter solstice? A Festival of Light? A Wild Hunt? Perhaps something else completely? Christmas on the beach or winter in June? Maybe your MC has good memories of a winter’s day past when life was easier before the story you as Evil Writer wrote?
You’ve plenty of time to think about it, because the blogfest will take place in, you guessed it, December. Specifically Saturday, the 11th. The blogfest will remain open for three days when everybody has a chance to read the entries and comment. The more you comment, the better the response will be on your own entry!
During that time the judges will select a the top entries and the following week everybody will have a chance to vote on their favorite. The only requirement is that you link back to the blogfest and keep your entry under under 500 words.
So of course there’s also a special prize… A special Midwinter themed How To interview on my blog on December 21st. A chance to tell us about your story, your blog and everything it takes to write a great seasonal scene!

My story--as many of you know--is Science Fiction. I also have a lot of characters, and the ones I focus on the most are either not the celebratory type, or there is no room for celebrating in their world (it can get pretty rough, and many are focused on just surviving). But some of my characters do engage in the Winter Celebrations, and here is a piece on what some of my characters who live in the city might find during this part of the season:

The government might be oppressive. They might confine their citizens to saying only what they want them to say. They might be the strictest regime in the history of the galaxy, but that doesn’t stop the people from having a good time when the cold weather rolls in and the snow begins to fall.
   Each planet hosts their winter celebrations at a different time, since all have their winter weather at different moments in planet orbits and tilts. There are a variety of holidays—religious days, days to honor people, days just for fun. Cultures merge into a mishmash of all kinds of ways of celebrating the season, from elaborate food to elegant rituals.
   All of the planets have one thing in common, though—a white tree.
   Not green, not red, not any other color—it’s always a brilliant snowy white. Sparkling lights and snowflakes dance on the tree in every capital when the winter celebrations come around; usually the tree is tall, over 50 feet high, and there are often events held beneath its branches. In the cities, it almost rivals the skyscrapers and corporate offices in height and grandeur. It glows in the night, all white and gleaming, like a spire of what the time of year means to everyone.
   For the buildings in the cities and the towns, it’s tradition for them to light up in the winter, their storefronts decorated in twinkly tinsel, red and blue lights, and snowflakes. Snowmen to spring up on street corners, and reindeer and other symbols of the season appear on billboards. The houses deck themselves out in lights and figurines, and some of the parks and public places turn into a shining dance of lights and snow.
   One year, one of the regimes even decided to decorate their buildings. It was an uncommonly festive move for them—and when the large ribbons appeared, criss-crossing the windows to make it look like one giant present, the people temporarily forgot their troubles with the regime and laughed.
   Laughter is everyone’s favorite part of the season. Jokes, gift-giving, visiting families, and surprises abound in this time of year, like a massive April Fools’ Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and  Thanksgiving rolled into a span of time of only two months. It’s a time of goodwill and hope—and not just a little craziness—for there are few other holiday times.
   And there’s the music. It ranges from the heavy metal to the classical, but it all follows the same tunes, all over the galaxy—if you enter a subway station during the celebrations, they’ll be playing Snow Is Falling. If you go into a department store, a singer is singing Peace Be With You. If you walk into a park, chances are they’ve got their speakers up and the lyrics to White Is My Dream seem to dance around through the lights.
   It’s a glorious time of the year, when people can put away their troubles and have some fun, even for just a little while. The cheerful mood is infectious. Everyone smiles—at least once.

If you are participating in this blogfest, do leave a comment and tell me! I'd love to visit and read your entry.

-----The Golden Eagle


Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Nice way to set the mood for the season!

I'm also participating in the blogfest if you'd like to read my entry.

Summer Ross said...

I have my entry up, but i did three blogfests today :)

I really enjoyed your piece what a great idea having each planet celebrate at different times, very creative.

Old Kitty said...

Wow - what a planet this is!! For two months at least there's some fun to be had despite the totalitarian and oppressive atmosphere. I like the idea of everyone going a little crazy for this very short period of time. It's sounds utterly insane and makes me wonder what happens the rest of the time when the snow stops and the warmth returns!

Well done you!! I enjoyed reading this - GOOD LUCK with your entry!! Take care

Helen Ginger said...

I'm not participating in the blog fest - this is the first I've heard of it. It sounds like a fun idea, though. I'd never considered putting Christmas in my book. If I did, the celebration would occur at someone else's house. She might decorate her house with a few things, but Christmas would be a bit foreign to her.

Francine Howarth said...


Loved it. It's almost like Alice in Wonderland, and not a lot different on the Totalitarian front, either. She met with weird and wonderful people within what was nothing less than bizarre regime and strange customs. ;)

Fun read.

Milli said...

The blogfest sounds fun! Though, I don't really think I'll participate..
Yours sounds really awesome:D

DEZMOND said...

a festive sf, now that's unusual and super interesting! :)

N. R. Williams said...

I love that the galaxy celebrates and all the trees are white. How great were the names of the songs, obvious which ones but the names changed because to the oppressive regime. Great job.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Mason Canyon said...

Don't participating in the fest, but love your entry. I like the part of all the planets celebrating at different times and for two months. All white trees would be beautiful.

Thoughts in Progress

L'Aussie said...

This is a very creative piece for the blogfest. Great way of presenting it with having different planets celebrating. Great stuff!

Clarissa Draper said...

I never heard of this blogfest but it's clear you've got the season down. The planet, wherever it is seems happy...

Su said...

Very cheery! I really liked the white tree.

Rachael Harrie said...

Very interesting, love the white trees :) Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading this. Can't wait to read your story when it's published ;)


Simon Kewin said...

I loved this : such a clearly visualised world (or set of worlds). I definitely want to read more!

Brian said...

I'm not participating but I sure did enjoy your entry.

Brenda Drake said...

I loved this, very interesting how each planet celebrates at different times and they all have a white tree. I'd want to planet hop so I could celebrate all of them. Well done! :D

Marieke said...

I love this "Laughter is everyone’s favorite part of the season." It basically tells us all we need to know about the world, and it's lovely bittersweet!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the white tree bit. I was picturing it in my head. It's really interesting - makes me want to read more :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Sandra: Thank you!

I read it your entry--great job, Sandra! :)

Summer: Those are a LOT of blogfests! The way you combined them was fun to read.

Glad you liked it!

Old Kitty: They start preparing for the next cold season, once the weather warms up. :)


Helen: It sounds interesting--especially since we celebrate Christmas every year. I wonder what it would look like in the perspective of someone who doesn't know much about it . . .

Francine: I'm glad you enjoyed the entry!

I didn't think of that--but you're right, it is kind of like Alice in Wonderland.

Milli: Thanks, Milli! :)

DEZMOND: Most of the rest is rather non-festive; but it just seemed out of order for it to be all dark and gloomy. :P

Nancy: I loved inventing the names, LOL.


Mason: I'm glad you like it, Mason!

I wanted the celebrations to be in sync with the weather; planets scattered all over the galaxy but with the same weather at the same time of the year just didn't make sense. Hence, different times. :)

L'Aussie: Thanks, L'Aussie!

The Golden Eagle said...

Clarissa: For a time. The rest of the year, (and, for some planets, even during the holidays) the regime is clamping down on the cities.

Su: We always have green ones, but there's something magical about white trees. :)

Rach: You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!

Someday in the future . . . :)

Simon: Maybe I'll post more about the world in the future, for another blogfest or something--it was fun, thinking up a new aspect to the planets.

Brian: I'm glad you did!

Brenda: I wanted there to be some unifying factor on most (maybe not all) of the planets, but not exactly like our own, green trees and decorations.

I would so planet hope as well--shall we get a joint shuttle ride? ;)

Thank you!

Marieke: Thanks, Marieke! There's so little laughter in the world there; I decided the people needed some. :)

This was a fun blogfest--thank you for hosting!

Projectfraeya: Well, I'll just have to get it published then, huh? LOL.

Thanks for coming by and commenting!

Rachel Morgan said...

A very heartwarming piece, even though you can sense that things might not be all that festive at other times of the year.

Congrats on being a finalist!