World-Building Wonders – The Significance of Holidays

Welcome to another installment of World-Building Wonders! Find a Friday escape into an author’s awesome world — and worldview! Today’s featured author is Josh Hardt.


One of the most important aspects of any culture is how – and what – they celebrate. From Independence Day to Passover, these holidays are often attached to a certain date or event of religious significance. There are even some that are celebrated the world over, Christmas being the obvious example.

These events are not limited to Earth. In the Forgotten Realms we have Shieldmeet; a day of festivals taking place once every 3-4 years. We have Lithe as a Midsummers holiday in the Shire – a time of feasts and flowing drink, I’m sure!

All of these have a great deal of meaning to those who celebrate. Real-world holidays affect every aspect of a culture –food, rituals, ornamentation, and so much more. And we don’t even need hobbits to enjoy them!

In a spurt of world-building around Christmas I realized that I had the start of something. I was pondering New Years and how I despise resolutions. But I am a big fan of new beginnings. One of the faiths in my story world – that of Elne – is all about such things. Out of that was borne New Hope’s Dawn.

All those who adhere to Elne believe that dawn is a holy time. It is the death of darkness and rebirth of the light. The last day of the last month of the year is especially important. All of the ills of the previous year die at the next dawn. For some it is a somber time. One to focus on an escape from their past. Many others look to what they will do with their new futures. For all it is a time of joy despite their circumstances. As mentioned, special raiment is involved. That varies from race to race, of course.

Not every holiday in fiction is as involved as I’ve made New Hope’s Dawn. But all add flavor and significance. Just like here on Earth.


Josh Hardt is an avid reader, ecumenical nerd, and lover of puns. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and two high-energy children. He helps out – and cracks wise – at the men’s group at his church. When not living in worlds of others’ devising, Josh enjoys nighttime walks and board games. He’s currently hard at work on his first novel.​

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