If you're writing a fictional celebration, or in the process of creating one, here are some elements that can really bring it to life.
Many countries on Earth have celebrations that stem from religious events, or past days where something was achieved (like an Independence Day). Celebrations are often created to remember this day or event. I'll use a celebration from Thailand as my example, since I've experienced it multiple times.
Loy Krathong takes place on the full moon night of the twelth lunar month. The ritual of floating krathongs (see picture below) down the river is the core of the celebration, and is often done to pay respects to the Goddess of Water and apologize for river pollution. Seeing the krathongs float away also represents washing away past sins and misfortunes.
At Christmas people give presents, spend time with family, and if you're Christian probably go to a church service. Similarly, on Thanksgiving I've heard from American friends that they eat a lot of food. So when creating a fictional celebration think about what your characters will be doing. Will they be dancing? Praying? Giving gifts, eating, hanging with family? Attending public places for festivities?
Going back to Loy Krathong, apart from sailing krathongs, people let off floating lanterns (Thais did it before Tangled, I promise), go to float parades, compete in beauty contests, visit temples, and set off fireworks.
Holidays are often associated with certain foods, but is also depends on which culture you are in. In Australia at Christmas lamb with mint sauce or some kind of ham is likely served, while in America the stereotypical type of meat is turkey.
I, for one, love to read about food in fictional worlds. So what foods are associated with and have to be eaten in the celebration? Are there any special drinks or candy?
|I love eating lamb|
Sometimes certain clothing is demanded to be worn during certain celebrations. In Thailand during Loy Krathong you might see people wearing traditional clothing on floats or milling around. In your fictional world, does everyone need to wear a certain colour? Do people dress up to go out? Do they tattoo their skin or put on henna?
Play around with all four elements, and you can come up with something that is true to your world-building and unique!
What's your favourite holiday/celebration in your country? Do you enjoy creating fictional cultures and world-building? (I do!)