Worldbuilding Blogfest – Food, Drink, Holidays & Culture: Part 1

Day Four of the Worldbuilding Bloghop. I will be speaking of culture in a separate post. So this will focus will be food, drink and holidays. Some of the stuff I’ll be touching on has a brief mention in my post about Thardrandia’s flora and fauna in part two of geography & climate. Previous posts:
Geography & Climate: Part 1
Geography & Climate: Part 2
History & Politics
Religion & Magic: Part 1
Religion & Magic: Part 2
Most of the planet’s inhabitants are omnivores, though most diets lean more towards carnivorous. The exception to this would be the contanihians who live solely on nuts, fruit and grains. From these grains, staple foods such as bread are made. But the carnivorous lean does not mean that vegetables and fruit are not consumed, merely that meat is generally easier to come by, especially for those living in the desert and the western kingdom of Maxia.
The larger amount of the meat comes from the wikia herds, with the rest coming from the walfres. The former is used in many ways, including a dish known as ‘stuffed wikia racks’. The meat is heavily spiced, stuffed with grains and more spices, then cooked, and generally displayed with the animal’s bones skewering each pocket of stuffing.
The walfres produce tough flesh which the nomads tend to jerk for travel. The process of cooking these giant creatures requires many hands as a walfre’s bones are quite dense making skinning and carving extremely difficult on a fully-grown creature. In the Rogue community, it is more common to just build a fire around the carcass and let the heat do its work.
In the cities, walfre meat is procured for the ever-popular meat wraps, which is literally a chunk of flesh wrapped in pastry and then bundled in a cloth. The meat within is left to stew in its own heat and, when bitten, usually ends up scalding the would-be consumer. They are an especially favoured meal amongst teenagers.
Apart from walfre and the annual fruiting of some bushes, nomads also fish the southern seas. But due to boats drawing suspicion, much of the seafood has to be caught close to the shore with nets. Due the harsh nature of the desert and the lack of naturally-sourced food, some Rogues are driven to consuming the people they’ve killed. Mezans, who are amphibian, tend to live on a steady diet of fish, with the serpentine males herding shoals into the harbour during the rearing season.
On the Mora Moon, the only animal of any decent size to be had are the cynaurs. These large birds are plucked and roasted, though due to their size, they are often dissected before cooking. As the only meat in the trexen diet, they are used in everything from stews to steaks to elaborate feast day roasts.
Apart from the common standard of water and milk – taken from both the wikia and the walfre – there is also juice and several alcoholic beverages; the latter taking the standard forms of wine, mead and beer.
The most famous wine comes from the vines near Biry where it is reputed to be quite potent. Mead is sourced from the Estridorean Fields where the equineans drink it by the barrel. The best beer used to come from the great wheat fields on Cynati, but as that source has long been cut, it is back to being locally brewed in each village.
One type of juice is made from the gukoh conta berries. The large, deep-red fruit is pressed to produce juice that’s so a pale red that couldn’t quite be called pink and, while some consider it tart, is quite drinkable. A lesser-known juice – not to mention quite rare and expensive to procure – is from the palin coigin, wish vine. This plant fruits small, golden berries which, whether in fruit or juice form, is imbibed purely by adults as it’s rumoured to be a potent aphrodisiac.
Of holidays, there are a few. Some are celebrated by most, if not all species, whilst others are more localised. Although if a festival is observed elsewhere, the method will generally be different to another people’s way. I’ll touch on a few of the more well-known ones.
There is the New Year’s festival, known in Maxia as the first sign of spring. Two weeks later is the Rogue’s New Year, a commemoration of the kingdoms’ inability to route them from Rogue Rise. Both these festivals are celebrated in what’s considered the katess fashion: lots of drinking, eating and dancing about a bonfire (usually naked). Other species have less extreme festivities marking the beginning of a new year and only the Rogues will play the siren’s song.
Despite the name, the siren’s song is known more as an erotic dance. One that many a Roguess will say she knows. Originally danced to music, it’s now usually done so without such accompaniment. The music that goes with this dance is described as being a hypnotic and sensual tune with bursts of deep, fiery notes. Once commonly used amongst raptereons in courtship rituals, it was the cause of many deaths amongst their men. And is believed to have been how one raptereon woman seduced a young trexen emperor (an idea the trexens hotly deny). It is illegal to dance it now. So, naturally, its practice thrives at Rogue Rise where the women teach each other the moves.
A similar festival to New Years is observed on what is considered the first day of autumn. The Leaf Festival is their harvest feast, celebrated in much the same way all over the planet, only the desert does not head this festival.
As autumn comes to an end, people observe Evalka’s Eye, the darkest day of the year when Joh’s orbit – normally keeping within the shadow of the planet – takes it near the edge and almost into the sunlight. The moon is particularly big at this time, making the journey between moon and planet surface easy for the creatures inhabiting it. In the olden days, people would opt to stay inside. For prewania-tofuas, this was the start of their hibernation and they would not surface again for two months, after the Icsoa Moon, and the coldest day (known as Icsoa’s Heart), had past. A similar day, known as Volkia’s Breath, happens in summer.

Carry on for a little touch of Thardrandian culture, especially that of the Rogues …

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