To see into the core of a Sentient species should begin with an examination of their holidays. The collective nature of holidays reveals their capacity to create, continue, and reinforce the shared beliefs of that species. A holiday ties past to present, the living to the dead by social chains to form the greater community of a single species. It creates a sense of the “species self” vs the “not species”, and through that othering, bridges the gaps between families and between castes.
- Po-vish, The Holiday as a Mechanism of Species Identity Construction
Exile Fast: February 1st - 19th
Held on Humanity’s February 1st and ending on the 19th, this festival commemorates the trials and hardships suffered by the First Exiles at the hands of the Siloth and Choxen. Each day of the celebration represents 10 years of Human struggle during enemy occupation.
During one such holiday, a Prehson dignitary remarked that they had not yet freed the planet from Siloth rule. A member of the Human Beirat -- their governing body -- with whom the Prehson dined, replied that while it was true that they were not yet entirely free, to have the opportunity to fight was cause enough for celebration.
It is an austere holiday that celebrates suffering. As such, the labor and physical load placed upon the populace increases. It is quite amazing how these Sentients willingly and without objection struggle. All of their activities reflect their time of exile and near extinction. Their work, normally occupying 50% of the 24 Terran hour day, is increased by half as much, a mere six hours devoted to sleep and leisure activities. They engage in fasting during their working hours, their breakfasts and lunches skipped for a large meal after their shift ends.
There are some exceptions to this working and fasting rule. The elderly or infirm are exempt, as are children under 10 Terran years. Those who work in positions of great importance, where a slip of focus would endanger the lives of the Republic and its citizens, are also exempt from the increased working hours and fasting. Active duty military are also exempt, for their sacrifices are real and made daily.
At random times during the working days, the non-military populace undergoes training exercises. Sirens ring out in factories, bureaucratic buildings, and on the street, mobilizing the workforce to prepare and defend their buildings against attackers. A minimum of twice during the holiday, the apartment buildings must marshal its denizens for defense.
Unsurprisingly, the incidences of injury increase by a factor of 3 as tired bodies, sluggish minds, and mid of night emergency sirens combine to create sometimes catastrophic accidents.
For one hour each day, every workplace must train their workers in military tactics. The month before, the Oniwabanshu (see related link in database) sets the curriculum. This training is meant to augment Humanity’s already robust military training program and ensures that the members of a workplace will function well together during times of danger.
Freedom Day: February 20th – 22nd
This 3 Terran day festival ends the 20 day Exile Fast and commemorates the arrival of the Prehson, and their induction as a species into the Intergalactic Alliance. They celebrate, in a word, liberation. Their toil is no longer for an alien overlord, but for the advancement of their species; their endless work is for their betterment, their oppression is selfimposed on the current generation for the benefit of those yet unborn.
They celebrate by engaging in only 6 Terran hour shifts. The other hours they can fill with whatever they wish (provided it doesn’t interfere with the following day’s work). In one of the more egalitarian systems studied, during those 6 hours of work, ¼ the population services the remaining fraction. Beer and grain spirits flow freely, food steams in buffet style tables in public eateries and in stations on the streets.
In a rare display of waste, huge quantities of food and alcohols are produced and ultimately recycled.
Again, like during their Exile Fast, the critical duties of the Republic are maintained.
Child’s Day: March 1st
The final festival in the early Terran year is Child’s Day, celebrated on March 1st. This festival honors the second half of the Human reproductive cycle: the children of the Republic. Celebrated 9 months to the day after their Doubling Day holiday in July the previous year, this holiday commemorates the first child born in the Republic after the lifting of the prohibitions against sex and pregnancy among the First Exiles.
Their work is reduced to just 6 Terran hours, the remaining time dedicated to spending time with children.
This is a coveted holiday by the children of the Republic. They form eager lines at their creches, the clothing of their caste pressed and neat, waiting to be picked up by family members. There is no formal proscription for how to spend those few hours. Some children are taken to the familial complexes where they eat and drink and play with the farflung branches of their family tree. Smaller families may elect to see one of the state-sponsored films created for this occasion. If they have the means, some may tour the countryside, visiting nearby pre-invasion ruins or view the combat games.
For many it is equal parts exciting and tense. The widespread use of the Iron Womb results in a populace that is very much disconnected from the biological triggers that mammalian pregnancy instills in both mother and father. In historically military caste families, it is not unusual for the child and parents to meet once a year on this day, or if missed due to deployment, never see them at all.