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Kiralynn
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re: Need Lore Advice

Greetings, experts on all things Tolkien! I need your advice on a lore-related matter.

I am going to host another solve-a-mystery contest just after Mardi Gras. I'd like the mystery to have a Mardi Gras theme.

For those who don't know, Mardi Gras is a Christian tradition that has become a secular party as well. It is the carnival season which begins on the Epiphany of Kings, leading up to Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. It involves colorful parades, the throwing of beads and small trinkets to crowds, eating rich foods, drinking and celebrating. After it ends, the penitent time of Lent begins.

Mardi Gras is practiced the world over, but has a stronger influence in some areas, such as Brazil, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and Louisiana in the U.S. where it is a French Catholic tradition.

Here's the Wiki article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mardi_gras

I'm guessing that Mardi Gras should fit into LotR lore fairly well, being Catholic in origin, since there are so many instances of Catholicism in Tolkien's work. Also, Mardi Gras traces its origins to very old celebrations, and LotR has its own version of most of the classic holidays and festivals.

So here are my questions...

How can we best fit Mardi Gras into LotRO? For the Carnival Ride, I'm not too worried about it, because that's a primarily OOC equestrian activity. I'd like to make the solve-a-mystery event non-lore-breaking since it is a roleplay event.

Does it already exist in some form in the lore? If so, what are the details?

If not, is there a particular race that is most likely the originator of such a festival? Should I change the name of the event to something other than Mardi Gras? What name should it have? What is that name in the language of the race most likely to host it?

Thank you for helping! I look forward to reading your response.


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Byrcha
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re: Need Lore Advice

I'm no lore-expert, but I did take a look in two places: the appendix to The Return of the King, and the online Encylopedia of Arda.

The appendix mentions a spring festival outside the regular days of the months, added in the Revised Calendar (Steward Reckoning) of Gondor, falling on March 23rd called Tuilérë. The Revised Calendar is apparently the one in widespread use during the War of the Ring. Tuilérë marked the beginning of spring, but that's all it says.

The EoA mentions a Numenorean festival held in the spring: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/e/erukyerme.html.

Also from the EoA: Mettarë is the last day of the year and Yestarë is the first day of the year. For the Numeoreans and Gondor this fell during yule-tide, but for the Elves according to the Reckoning of Rivendell this fell on March 27/28. So, Elvish new year is at the beginning of spring.


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Kiralynn
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re: Need Lore Advice

Thank you so much for this information!

It looks like I may just need to invent a celebration. Perhaps it's something regional that isn't celebrated the world over. Since the solve-a-mystery event is held in Bree-land housing, I imagine it would be a festival for Men.

Some nifty events in the March timeframe I could perhaps draw from...
* Peach Blossom Day
* Pig Day (which celebrates domestic pigs) and Poultry Day
* Pecan Day
* Near Miss Day (did you know astronomers apparently celebrate that a huge asteroid didn't smack us?)

There are a number of vegetables planted in March. It's also apparently when you tap maple trees, and when crows and robins return. That's interesting, but not much reason for a wild party.

So how does this sound -- Perhaps the dwarves in the Blue Mountains make icewine, and by March bottles finally make their way down to Bree-land for trade, so there's an icewine festival, with lots of costumes and partying and such, because any festival centered around alcohol is bound to get a little wild. Does that avoid breaking lore?


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re: Need Lore Advice

That sounds fine to me. Since you're setting it in March (rather than February, when Mardi Gras usually happens, as it's 41 days before Easter), it could also be a celebration of the ending of the leanness of winter and the start of the growth of spring.

Mardi Gras (literally "Fat Tuesday") started as a day to celebrate/enjoy all the richer/more frivolous things of life before giving them up the next day for the austerity of Lent (which always starts on a Wednesday, known as Ash Wednesday). The traditions have evolved from there, and some people now celebrate Mardi Gras without also observing Lent or any of the associated religious aspects. However, with the absence of any Lent-like observance in Middle-earth, it would be difficult to create a direct parallel for Mardi Gras, so I think your idea would work fine while still harmonizing with the lore.
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re: Need Lore Advice

We're talking about celebrations in March, and nobody's mentioned Pi[e] Day? wink


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Kiralynn
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re: Need Lore Advice

NoCyg wrote:
That sounds fine to me. Since you're setting it in March (rather than February, when Mardi Gras usually happens, as it's 41 days before Easter)


For those hoping to party, this year Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, March 4. It moves around every year. There will be a ton of parades rolling starting on March 1.


What's a good, fancy name for an Icewine festival? We probably shouldn't call them krewes, so what might be call the groups that host parties and sponsor parades?


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re: Need Lore Advice

The arrival of the first icewine caravan from the Blue Mountains would indeed be cause for celebration. I couldn't find when icewine makes its way to market (grapes are harvested late, because they must partially-freeze). Presumably this would involve at least some Dwarven merchants? Too bad we don't have carts to haul behind our horses during a parade!

These are two separate (but related?) events (Mar 1st and Mar 15th)? If unrelated, could the horse-related events on March 1st be a spring-type festival involved with foaling (certainly an important event at Hengstacers)?


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Kiralynn
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Around here, icewine comes out in late January, which is why I thought it might take until mid-March to make its way down into foreign markets.

Foaling is typically between January and June, I believe. The Carnival Ride is more of an OOC event, so I'm not too worried about using the term "Mardi Gras" for that.


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