Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holidays and Traditions

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  There's just really no competition.

It's the spirit of the holiday, the gathering of family and friends to give thanks that always made it special for me.  My mother was the kind of person who always invited many, many people over for Thanksgiving - sometimes as many as 20.  I can remember different traditions that were started when I was younger, and they still warm my heart.  When I was in junior high, we used to set up the ping pong table either outside if it was warm or inside the garage if it was cold.

But probably my favorite tradition of Thanksgiving was baking day.  That's what we called the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  It was the day to make rolls and pies in preparation of the big celebration.  And that's where I learned my love of making pies.  Every once in awhile I still get the urge to make 5-6 for no reason.  My husband loves it.

2011 'Early Thanksgiving' pies

2012 Thanksgiving pies

While going through my pictures, I found that every Thanksgiving, I have many, many pictures of friends and family meeting together - probably the greatest memories of that year.

Holidays and traditions make up a big part of any culture.  Though I write fantasy, I've found that adding that small part in a culture makes it richer and makes it feel real.  While writing my White WIP, I was struggling with a scene where two main characters fall in love.

I finally decided to rewrite the scene, having them celebrating a holiday together, among all of their family and friends.  Just putting them in that situation made the scene so rich that it's still probably one of my favorites that I've ever written.  And every single one of my betas has said that it's their favorite as well. Here's just a snippet:

“Are you enjoying yourself?” Anthalor asked.  His hand tightened on her waist as he directed her away from another couple.
Kanya nodded.  “I’ve never been to a…” she paused, attempting to remember what Miha and Zeugal had called the evening.
“Harvest celebration,” Anthalor supplied.  He spun her under his arm before drawing her back toward him.  “It’s a celebration that began in the Kingdom of Gekun.  The harvest is so important to them down here.  It’s really their greatest source of income.”
“Then why do you celebrate it here?”
Anthalor smiled.  “My mother is from Gekun.  When she married my father, she missed the celebration and although he didn’t care for it much, we always had a harvest celebration.”  His grip tightened and he drew her in even closer.  “This is my way of keeping her memory alive.”

How about you?  Do you like to add holidays to your writing?  What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?