The Official Calendar
The Official Calendar of the Empire was created over one thousand years ago by Emperor Delicate Fortitude. It divides the three hundred and sixty day year into eight months, each month lasting forty five days. The months are simply named First Month, Second Month etc., and the days are also named only for their numeric value.
Every First Day, Fifteenth Day, Thirtieth Day and Forty Fifth Day is deemed an official holiday. On these days, it is illegal for anyone of Magisterial Rank to work, although not for anyone else. Thus legal and governmental business is not conducted on these day, except in the case of national emergency.
The Lunar Calendar
This predates the official calendar by centuries, and is commonly held to have been given to mankind by the Divine Emperor. It divides the year into twelve lunar months of twenty nine days each, starting and ending on the dark of the moon (meaning full moons occur on the fifteenth of every lunar month).
The lunar months, known as Victories, all represent struggles that the Divine Emperor won in the process of His development. The last (twenty ninth) day of each Victory is a holiday of some sort.
- Victory Over Darkness
This represents the birth of the Emperor as a Sun God, thus bringing light and warmth to the Mortal Realm. The Victory ends with the Festival of Lights, with torchlight processions through towns and villages. Good Imperial citizens are expected to keep a fire burning constantly throughout this month.
- Victory Over Drought
The first quest of the Sun God as a young man was to defeat an ogre-demon who was keeping all the waters of the world stored away in a clay jar, break open the jar and return water to the world. The Water Festival ends with a recreation of this event, and also sees children hurling origami water bombs at each other and their elders. Decorations of an aquatic theme are very much in evidence, and in some parts of the Empire mass river bathings occur.
- Victory Over Want
Once light and water were brought to the Mortal Realm, things could begin to grow. Jade Gibbon brings the Three Grains to mankind. The Laburnum Festival sees Imperial towns festooned with flowers, fertility rituals performed over the fields and feasts prepared.
- Victory Over Fear
Although the world was now a fertile place, it was ruled by evil warlords. The Sun God took up battle with these tyrants and defeated them. In return, the grateful people made him Emperor. Ascension Day is when many offerings of incense, prayers and offerings are made in the temples to the Divine Emperor. Effigies of the evil warlords (often based on some historical enemy) are paraded through towns and then publicly burned.
- Victory Over Passions
There was a time just after his ascension that the Divine Emperor had to fight against his own worst instincts. At first almost as bad as the tyrants that he defeated, eventually he learned restraint and mercy. The Day of Quiet Contemplation is a day for peaceful meditation and examination of one's own life. It is common on this day to make resolutions to better oneself for the coming year. Priests and other pious individuals spend the day (sometimes the whole Victory) in total silence.
- Victory Over Solitude
The Emperor was alone on the throne until he met, and fell in love with his wife, Lady East. This is a popular month for weddings and it is also considered particularly propitious to conceive during this month. The Children's Festival at the end is a traditional day for declarations of love, proposals of marriage and so on, but more importantly to most it is a day when children are given the run of the towns, and adults must obey them for a change.
- Victory Over Toil
The Divine Emperor ordered his underlings to teach the ways of civilisation (the Nine Arts) to mankind, that their lot in the Mortal Realms might be bettered. On Crafts Day, local artisans display their skills in contests and country fairs.
- Victory Over Ignorance
After teaching them how to survive, the Divine Emperor then taught the people how to better themselves. The first thing he did was to teach them literacy. This Victory ends with the day of One Hundred Sacred Readings, a day where the priests recite the great sutras and tales of the gods from dawn to dusk. For those who don't visit the temples, plays are often performed, although these are frowned upon as impious by the priesthood.
- Victory Over Injustice
With literacy, the Emperor was then able to teach the people laws, that they might deal with each other in a civilised fashion without recourse to violence and wars. The reasons why this is celebrated with Money Day is lost in history. Money Day is normally celebrated by giving token gifts of money to friends and relations. Some larger business give discounts and free gifts.
- Victory Over Pride
With age and wisdom, the Emperor came to realise the benefits of humility, and sought to teach this to the mortal realm. On Kind Deeds Day, the people of the Empire try to remember this by helping at least one other person at expense to themselves.
- Victory Over Desire
Looking back upon his life as his reign neared its end, the Divine Emperor was satisfied with what he had achieved, and what he had gained. He found himself freed from the shackles of need and want of betterment. This Victory has come to be celebrated with the Poem Festival, which in many places takes the form of a public contest between poets (and now playwrights). An authentic Poem Festival poem should be reflective, a eulogy to the life of the poet or a well-known figure.
- Victory Over Death
- The Setting Sun waned and died, but the Divine Emperor had reached spiritual enlightenment in his journey through life, and so he was reborn - the first true dawn. At the end of this Victory comes the Festival of Spirits, a great celebration of the cycle of life. Celebrations range from the quiet veneration of one's ancestors, to the noisy carnival parades full of ghostly costumes and candy skeletons. Paper lanterns and frog salt are used to keep away any unwanted spiritual visitors.
The Official Calendar remained through the reigns of Delicate Fortitude, Silent Willow, Studious Tranquillity, Great Knowledge, Many Blessings and Seeking Perfection, even though the lunar calendar became completely out of synch very quickly. It was Empress Seeking Perfection who finally fixed the calendars.
She decreed that the Victory Over Darkness would begin on the the first day of the first full lunar month to occur within First Month on the official calendar. If the twelfth lunar month, Victory Over Death, should end before the Eighth Month of the Official Calendar, then a leap month would occur. Amongst the priesthood this is considered a month of fasting (no eating within daylight hours, and minimal intake during darkness) but few of the common people fast. The Leap Month ends with the Dawn Feast, where fasting is finally broken with a ritual meal.
This created a repeating cycle where the first day of Victory Over Darkness and the first day of First Month would fall upon the same day every Twenty Nine years. Each year in this cycle was given a name based upon geomantic principles. These names, and a full list of all combinations are given here.
Sample calendars for the 63rd Regnal Year and the 64th Regnal Year of Emperor Received Wisdom are also provided, with all festivals and leap months marked on.
Empire of Splendour
Way of Life
63rd Received Wisdom
64th Received Wisdom