(From the appendix to Two Paths)
Verecunda, like any other nation, had its own set of national holidays. The changes that took place with them track many of the vagaries of Verecundan politics.
Until Kendall’s regime Verecunda had a holiday scheme pretty typical of “Western” countries, with a combination of national, international, Christian and calendar-based holidays. The CPL had as an objective the elimination of both national and Christian holidays, the former because they believed they were creating a “new” nation and the latter because they disliked Christianity. This took some time, because the force of habit dies hard.
Verecunda had only one explicitly “Christian” holiday, and that was Christmas. In 1970 Kendall had it retitled “Yule,” leaving the job of completely secularising the holiday to the CPL. This they did with gusto; by the end of the decade any celebration of the birth of Christ was severely restricted to the remaining churches or underground.
The rest of the holidays were unchanged; Kendall was in no mood to “spend political capital” on such an effort. It was left to Seamus Gallen to make the realignment of holidays part of the initial manifesto of his Druid party/movement in the 1980’s. Their objective was to make the eight Druid/Wiccan holidays (sabbats) the main national holidays of Verecunda. These are as follows:
- Vernal (Spring) Equinox (20 or 21 March)
- Summer Solstice (20, 21 or 22 June)
- Autumnal (Fall) Equinox (22, 23 or 24 September)
- Winter Solstice (21, 22 or 23 December)
- Oimelc (Candlemas, or Groundhog Day), 2 February, festival of winter purification and the approach of spring, honours the pagan goddess Brigit (how significant this is in a climate like Verecunda’s is debatable)
- Beltane (May Day), 1 May, the fertility festival, the time to plant (same comment as above)
- Lughnasadh (Lammas), 1 August, festival of firstfruits, commemorates the “shining one” Lugh (Terry Lewis referred to this as “Genji’s Day”)
- Samhain (Halloween), 31 October, the Celtic New Year and the coming of winter
They had a start with May Day, which was a secular, working people’s holiday in Verecunda as it is in most of the world. In 1990 they were able to make Halloween a national holiday, replacing the old Verecundan Constitution Day a couple of weeks earlier. But the rest of the agenda—even moving Yule to exactly correspond with the Winter Solstice—remained unfulfilled under either Allan Kendall or Lillith Connolly.
It took the fall of Verecunda and its rebirth to realise the Wiccan dreams. Once of the first acts of the Provisional Government—firmly in the hands of the Wiccans—was to make the eight Wiccan holidays the national holidays, along with New Year’s (1 January) and the International Women’s Day (8 March).
One interesting omission to these holidays was a “Gay Pride Day.” The large homosexual community would have made the holiday obvious, but there was one important opponent: Richard Marlowe, who always opposed it on the grounds that having only one day for homosexuals would marginalise them. His idea was that the homosexual community should celebrate itself at every major holiday, although the biggest gay pride parades in Verecunda were on Halloween. The Provisional Government honoured his memory; the large number of gay and lesbian Wiccans insured that Richard’s concept would be put into full practice.