People need to amuse themselves to live and that is not an exception in Gaia. Each and every one of the principalities has its own particular pastime, forms of escaping the daily monotony and give something of color to life. The truth is that in spite of the great cultural differences between the diverse territories, generally everybody shares a similar tradition when it comes time to have fun. After all, entertainment is something intrinsic to people wherever they live.
Diversions for the Privileged ClassesEdit
Normally, rich people usually enjoy refined and proper entertainments worthy of their social position. Their superior economic ability allows them to spend large amounts of money on their pastimes, anything so as to give some interest to their lives and prove that they are above the mob.
Places like the opera or the theater are frequented by the nobility and the bourgeoisie, where the luxury is at the level of what the privileged demand. The opera houses or theater presentations spare no expense to satisfy their demanding public, and invest great sums on stage scenery, clothes and anything that can elevate the quality of what they offer to their spectators.
Other places frequented by the upper class are museums and the art exhibitions, where they can observe the talent of renowned artists and be surprised with wonders from all parts of the world. Equally so, zoos are also recurrent places, especially for women and children.
Hunting is another unquestionable favorite, mainly among the young people who look for dangerous excitement. Contrary to the mere local hunters, the majority of nobles and bourgeoisies attain restricted private hunts, extremely exclusive clubs in which one can chase exotic animals brought in from all corners of the world. This hobby is enormously popular in some very refined principalities like Gabriel, where it is normal to make trips to “wild places” like Nanwe or Goldar to find the best prey and later boast about them before their friends. It does not have to be said, that professionals usually accompany them so that they can help them and watch over their safety.
Nevertheless, of all the diversions of the privileged classes, nothing even compares to the popularity of dances and society dinners. It is a grand reunion of high lineages that various families hold periodically. Their reasons can be diverse, from presenting somebody new into society to celebrating any kind of festivity. In them the nobles chat, dance and have fun, as well as close business deals or make important decisions. There are some people who prepare themselves for weeks to correctly attend to the etiquette or to stand out in the dance.
The island of Paradís Paradís deserves a special mention, because in spite of their recent creation, the attractions that it offers have become tremendously popular in all the countries of Gaïa. Of course, other competing parks have not taken long to provide some competition, but for the moment none come remotely close to the quality and spectacular experience of the marvelous island.
Diversions for the Lower ClassEdit
Contrary to the wealthy people, the lower class do not have access to too many refined entertainments, but of course the boredom and imagination of some plebs has caused them to have an almost equally varied repertoire. Normally, these individuals distract themselves going to street spectacles that jugglers and traveling artists provide daily. All the large towns or districts of the important cities usually have a street filled with comedians and actors to ready to entertain the plebs in exchange for a few coins. Games with animals, juggling or public representations are the most common diversions to escape routine. This interest has caused diverse traveling circuses to visit the cities more and more, announcing their arrival with loud voices. For a simple silver coin or even a smaller amount, a person and his family can see a unique spectacle that makes them feel like they’re on top of the world.
More common places of entertainment include bars and taverns, which many workers go to rest when they finish their day. To have a little wine or beer while some musician or singer brightens up the atmosphere is a traditional scene in any place of the world. Of course, one can’t forget the importance of festivities and fairs, where people can dance, eat and enjoy things grandly, relegating any other problems.
Then there’s the much wilder diversions in the most recondite places of Gaia. In places like Goldar or Haufman, there are combat arenas where fighters face-off against each other or against wild beasts for entertainment of the public. In such gladiatorial spectacles, blood and human life can be currency for trade with bets.
Music is an element of considerable importance in most cultures and societies. In Gaia, each country usually has one rooted musical tradition, with its own styles and tendencies. Without going too far, the nordic zones are known for the uproarious force of their songs, the eastern islands for their slow and refined style, and the western territories for their varied tones. Nevertheless, during the past few centuries Gaia has experienced a true musical flourishing, very similar to what it has developed culturally and technologically. Therefore a multitude of new styles has arisen, like jazz, flamenco, blues or even an archaic version of pop music. Similarly, trying to keep pace with the new types of musical advances, a plethora of unusual instruments have been invented, some of which are surprisingly modern, like pianos, saxophones, organs or even drums.
The recent emergence of musical idols deserves special mention, who have been appearing with an unstoppable force for almost thirty years. These are singers or groups who receive strong promotions and publicity by part of interested private parties. They’re usually young, especially attractive girls or boys with a rebellious look that employ the most original musical styles. Some of them are famous all around Gaia, and people follow them with fervor.
The singing sensation of the moment is the mysterious Andiel, a precious young girl whose voice captivates all that hears it. In truth, she has obtained that talent from Doctor Schwarzwald, who fulfilled the dream of the young girl to become a famous singer.
If there is something that there is never enough of in Gaia, those are holidays and festivities. From the distant corners of Baho to the heart of Abel itself, there are a multitude of celebrations, with as much of a religious scope as cultural. Many have been sprung as a reminder of great events, whereas others are no more than “fictitious” celebrations created by economic interests to sell products. Each country has approximately twenty or thirty annual festivities, without counting with the ones that each town or city can celebrate independently. The following is a list of some of most well-known holidays and celebrations throughout the whole world.
Day of the Infinite SkiesEdit
15th of April (Stygia)
This stygian holiday is consecrated to the God Amenhotep, and its celebration is centered on the King-Pharaoh who is his descendant. Hundreds of pilgrims head towards the capital to celebrate an immense festival, while that King-Pharaoh receives the most ostentatious gifts from the nobles who try to please him.
13th of August (Varja)
This day is celebrated in very different ways in both empires of Varja, because it recalls the appropriation of the Soulstones on the part of Lannet. Lannetens celebrate it like a day of exaltation of national spirit by means of banquets, music and competitions in which samurai face of with each other, proving their strength before their lords. Contrary, in Shivat it is a day of melancholy, meditation and prayers, since it is said that it is the moment of the year in which the spirits of Ashura are closest to the world. People go to the temples and make offerings, trying to avoid establishing conflicts that can attract the monsters of war.
Week of GiftsEdit
First week of April (Salazar)
Once a year, the nomads of Salazar meet during one week to deal and distribute the areas of the desert. All the weddings are celebrated and carious festivities take place that include dances and other competitions.
16th of September (Sacred Holy Empire, Azur Alliance, Episcopal States)
Possibly, it is the layman’s most important celebration in Gaia. Within it celebrates the day in which the Sacred Holy Empire was founded. Everywhere it is a day of the great rejoicing, because the end of a dark period is commemorated. Presently the day has lost its meaning in many countries far from the heart of the Empire, but it continues being celebrated in a grand way. In Abel it is the greatest of all the festivities and Archangel fills with visitors for a spectacle that has no equal.
9th of June (Sacred Holy Empire, Azur Alliance, Episcopal States)
The 9th of June is a dark and sad day, in which the death of Aeolus Hawke is commemorated, the founder of the Sacred Holy Empire. In many places the custom is to toll the bells of all the churches throughout the entire morning, and fill the houses with candles.
Festival of AyakashiEdit
First week of August (Varja, Phaion)
This festivity commemorates the memory of the deceased. Relatives ignite lamps and leave them on the sea to guide their spirits to the beyond.
First night of April with a full moon (Territories of Al Enneth)
The “moment destined” recalls the date in which the Eyad received the revelations of Jihamath. It is a time of oration and meditation, in which each one of the believers must reconsider the path that they have chosen in its life. At night, great celebrations are common, with dances and feasts.
21st of December (Gaia)
Called the “festivity of the mirror” or “the perpetual dark”, this date marks the longest night of the year. Depending on each culture, it can be celebrated with joy and feasts, or respect and fear. In the north they believe that it is the only moment in which the Gods sleep and darkness blossoms over the world, while in the areas most attuned to the Empire the tradition exists to disguise one’s self and set off fireworks.
21st of June (Gaia)
The longest day of the year, this festivity is celebrated throughout all of Gaia in very different ways. In many places great bonfires form and people dance around it, because tradition says that it purifies the soul and protects from the demons. In some cultures, this date is called “the Day of the Door”, and it is believed that the membrane that separates the real world from the spirit one is more fragile then.
21st of March (Gaia)
A smaller festivity that praises the arrival of spring. It is a day for couples and lovers, where the declarations of love and weddings are tremendously common. For years, the Providence company has begun to promote the custom in which during the equinox a gift for the loved one must be made. Surprisingly, it has had a fast acceptance and has become a very widespread habit, especially in the Empire and Varja.
23rd of September (Gaia)
The well-known day of harvest is celebrated by almost all the farmers of Gaia, who are used to giving thanks for their hard work throughout the year. Great festivals are common, that of course includes dances and drinks. It is mainly a rustic festivity without too much of a repercussion in the large cities.
7th of April (Alkavian States)
The day of mourning and weeping for the believers of the Alkavian Church, Sanctus is the date in which the Messiah died on the walls of Solomon. Although each country has its own traditions, processions and attendance at holy masses in memory of Christ are most common.
Celebration of the SoulsEdit
18th of February (Moth)
A profane celebration of unknown origin, whose purpose is to expel the bad spirits and to protect one’s self against curses. People go out and throw salt everywhere, leaving a small pile in front of each door.
24th and 25th of December (Alkavian States)
The so called “night of blessing”, one of the main Alkavian festivities, it commemorates the appearance of the Messiah into the world. It is celebrated with great rejoicing and it is normal to get together with families and do a gift exchange.
31st of December (Gaia)
Generally, all the cultures that use the calendar of Aveh celebrate the end of the year the night of the 31st of December. No one works that day, and people gather to first have supper with family and later leave to party at the precise moment that midnight arrives.