In Asthenopia there are several holidays, mostly centered around seasons and religion. The world of Asthenopia is openly presided over by angels - in particular a rather egoistic one named Quenael - so holidays tend to be associated with prayer, worship, and reverence in addition to any traits listed below. It's also worth noting that alcohol is completely banned on the planet with the exception of during holidays, so people tend to look forward to the holidays as a time to finally get smashed.
All of Asthenopia's world is united, so there aren't any other religions or celebrations; there's what the angels celebrate and nothing more. When it's close to a Festival, it's common to wish someone a "happy former/latter" or "happy equinox/solstice." It's not that common to say "Former Equinox Festival" in casual conversation; the full titles are usually just used in writing, advertising, and by anyone formally speaking about them.
Also worth noting that Asthenopians celebrate birthdays as well but theres not rly anything different goin on there so yeah
Former Equinox Festival
For the vernal equinox... uhhhhh i dont have a name for this fuckin planet i guess im calling them asthenopians for now. rip. ANYWAY Asthenopians celebrate nature. It's a holiday where there are plenty of parades and parties, though over the past few centuries it's become more associated with romance. With so much focus on flowers, it's become commonplace to buy a bouquet for your partner(s) and take them out to a park, where people often set up shop to make money off of visitors. Contests revolving around flower arrangement and pets are often held, and concerts spring up all over the place. Unless the weather is particularly poor - something that never happens considering the angels control the weather - it's considered unusual to stay inside during the Former Equinox Festival.
The Former Equinox Festival has similar theming to Easter, with imagery like pastel colors, birds, small animals, and flowers being common in Former Equinox merchandise. Hearts are increasingly common symbols as well. There's also an emphasis on music, particularly slow music and songs with romantic or poetic lyrics. Because of both the romance and nature association, literature (especially poetry) and art are often celebrated as well.
Former Solstice Festival
On the first day of spring, Asthenopians celebrate life. It's another outdoors-oriented festival, though less romance-focused and more activity-focused. In addition to various parades, fitness contests are commonplace. Stands and booths for shopping pop up along streets, discouraging any automobile usage and encouraging commerce. Even children are encouraged to sell things, from lemonade to their own arts and crafts. During the night there are fireworks and bonfires, with any child-free adults usually staying up to drink late into the night. Like the Former Equinox Festival, it's considered unusual for anyone to stay inside during the Former Solstice Festival unless they have a good reason for it.
The Former Solstice Festival is associated with azure (for the sky and sea) and yellow (for the sun.) In the past few decades it's become traditional to put on a special red outfit at night to match the fireworks. It has a strong association with water and the sun as well as the moon and fire, with merchandise usually focusing on the duality of day celebrations and night celebrations.
Because of the Former Solstice Festival, personifications in media often have the sun depicted as wholesome and responsible while the moon is depicted as a wild party animal who's usually drunk. The sun is often used to symbolize health, creativity, and wealth, while the moon is associated with mischievousness, sin, and often appears in logos for any place involved with partying or the nightlife. Likewise, the colors blue and yellow are common in kid's media and apparel while wearing a single red item or any outfit that has just a splash of red is seen as a signal that you're single and ready to mingle.
Latter Equinox Festival
On the first day of autumn, Asthenopians celebrate death. Well, maybe celebrate isn't the right words. The Latter Equinox Festival is about remembrance and facing one's mortality, reflecting plants and animals going into hibernation. It's a solemn holiday, with the angels keeping the world in a perpetual moonless night throughout it. Asthenopians stay indoors where the atmosphere is usually more mirthful, sharing stories about the deceased and eating their favorite meals. Knowing their loved ones may be watching from Heaven, it's common to perform lighthearted roasts of them in hopes of getting enough of a rise out of them for them to move objects or do something else supernatural. It varies from household to household, though; some are more joyful and some are almost oppressive in their sorrow. It's unusual for anyone to stay home alone during the festival and considered incredibly taboo to leave the house during it unless there's a medical emergency; anything else should be planned for in advance.
It's common to eat unhealthy items during the Latter Equinox Festival, with the reasoning being "we'll all die eventually but the angels will surely let us into Heaven, so let's enjoy what we have now!" Desserts in particular are associated with the Latter Equinox Festival, especially chocolate. The color black is also associated with the Latter Equinox Festival, as well as stars. Feathers are another associated symbol, bringing to mind the angels that their loved ones have become. As such, it's common to wear formalwear throughout the festival decorated or made with feathers and glitter. To any other world it looks like a joyful party, but to Asthenopians sparkles just kinda remind them of their inevitable demises.
Week of Stupor
Taking place halfway between autumn and winter, the Week of Stupor is a week during which - to cope with the changing seasons and get one last hurrah before the chill of winter sets in - Asthenopians show appreciation for all that the angels have given them. It sounds innocent enough, but all that really means is that it's a week to engage in vices freely. Alcohol is made legal for the entire week, no one has to go to work, people have feasts every day, parties are hosted all night long, people sleep from sunrise to sunset, kids eat all the dessert they want, everyone blows money on shopping sprees, half of the planet goes on vacations, and let's just say the birth rate tends to spike about 9 months later. The first part of the week tends to be lively, while everyone rests their tired bones and nurses their hangovers on the weekend.
The Week of Stupor is associated with food and drink, and it's common to gift edibles and alcohol to friends and family throughout the week. Money and luxury goods are also common symbols, as well as bright and loud colors.
Latter Solstice Festival
On the winter solstice, Asthenopians celebrate each other. It's similar to Christmas in that it's a day where people give and receive gifts, gather family and friends (though with a greater emphasis on friends since family has such a large focus during the Latter Equinox Festival,) and often feast. The angels ensure there's always a healthy coating of snow on everything, so outdoor activities are common with ice- and snow-sculpting competitions being held during the day before any feasting. It's frowned upon to not give anyone anything, so loners are encouraged to donate gifts to shelters or give gifts to strangers.
The Latter Solstice Festival is associated with the color white due to all of the snow. It's traditional to wear white clothing for the festival, and most wrapping paper and seasonal merchandise is white. Snowflakes are a popular symbol, with many festival goods being shaped like them or patterned with them. Bows and ribbons are also common motifs thanks to the gift-giving, with celebrators always wearing at least one on their person.
theres no santa tho which is fucked up
Day of Reflection
The final holiday of the year is on the final day of the year. The Day of Reflection is a day to think about all you've done during the year, both good and bad. Everyone leaves their homes and goes to their designated center of worship by noon, where they are isolated in a private room. Young children and those in need of caretakers may be accompanied, but even then only by angels instead of their parents or usual caretakers. Everyone is instructed to undress and then lie upon an altar, at which point they lose all senses other than their awareness of their own experience. This sensory deprivation leaves Asthenopians alone with their thoughts for varying amounts of time until their consciousness is drowned out by a bright light and a feeling of oneness with Heaven.
While the Day of Reflection has been around forever, in the past few centuries during Higher Angel Quenael's rise to power it's been taken advantage of. Unbeknownst to humans, Quenael uses this time to comb through the thoughts and memories of the Asthenopians, assigning squads of angels to different locations to search for dissenters, fallen angels, demons in hiding, and anyone else she deems undesirable. When any seem to be found, Quenael is alerted and she personally decides how to deal with them. Punishments vary in severity depending on Quenael's judgment and can include any of the following: never allowing the feeling of oneness which causes them to be trapped in a senseless void for the full 12 hours minimum, simply delaying the feeling of oneness, replaying bad memories, manipulating sensations, amplifying negative emotions, altering or removing memories, inflicting injury on the body or branding it as a warning, sending an angel to execute the person as they lie helpless, or never allowing the person to regain consciousness.
As Quenael wants no disruptions in molding the world to her desires, participation is strictly enforced. Troops of angels are sent to the mortal realm to ensure everyone is accounted for, forcing anyone who's tried to ditch into a center of worship, executing them if they're demons or otherwise too much trouble, and capturing fallen angels and returning them to Heaven for punishment. The search lasts all day and leaves no stone unturned due to the sheer number of angels present, so it's incredibly difficult to hide. Anyone who feels the need to hide and wishes to do so successfully will seek refuge in Hell, though this often leads to lesser demons gathering near the entrances and preying on those who enter. Even then, though, their records will show that they did not attend the Day of Reflection and consequences will be inevitable; if you aren't already living off of the record, ditching is futile.
The Day of Reflection is associated with the color blue - a holy color, as Quenael has ensured - as well as lights and feathers. Cleanliness is key, so the day before and the morning of is typically spent grooming oneself to present themself to Heaven. Special outfits are often prepared for the Day of Reflection despite only being worn in the morning, incorporating fluttering fabrics, shimmery material, accessories that light up, and feathers.
Because of the Day of Reflection, nudity has a holy connotation. It is often displayed only in art; nudity outside of religious affairs, changing, and bathing is highly taboo, as to fully undress is to offer yourself to Heaven. Doing so outside of prayer or other ceremony is considered highly disrespectful to the angels. As such, nudity lacks the sexual connotation it tends to have in our world; it's a social norm to wear as much as possible during sexual encounters and ensure you're always wearing at least one item so that your skin is never fully exposed.
Time of Rebirth
OK TECHNICALLY THIS ONE IS FIRST BUT WHATEVER it doesnt make much sense w/o the context of the day of reflection
The Time of Rebirth refers to the day after the Day of Reflection and an unofficial amount of time afterward, usually no more than a week. At midnight everyone awakens from their trance and is greeted by an angel who will provide them with a special robe made of soft angel feathers, wish them well, and depart. After re-dressing Asthenopians reunite with anyone they came with and leave. Should they be unwilling to leave at such a late hour there are many beds prepared in advance - beds which provide an unreal comfort and easy sleep. Asthenopians are permitted to stay until noon, at which point they are gently escorted off of the premises. The Time of Rebirth has a quiet atmosphere, with the weather always being cold and still with gentle snowfall.
The Time of Rebirth varies greatly for individuals since everyone has different experiences during the Day of Reflection. Some are cheerful and at peace during the Time of Rebirth, having entered the bright light early on. Others may be tired or exhausted for reasons they cannot describe, while others are traumatized from punishments. Seeming shaken or overly negative during the Time of Rebirth is viewed as a sign that you were punished and deserved it, which may lead to shunning and rejection. For most people, though, it's a relaxing and overall positive time, spent coming down from the high of heavenly oneness.
It's customary to put up lights before the Day of Reflection and keep them up for some time afterward. Lighting candles throughout one's house is also traditional, as is keeping everything tidy (including oneself.) Everyone feels the compulsion to wear white and often blues as well, leading to specialty stores opening up just to sell Time of Rebirth attire. Going without one's given robe for long is uncommon, but eventually the desire to wear it will fade. The robes all disappear after the Time of Rebirth, though no one knows how or where they go nor are they able to make themselves care or think much about it. Within a week everyone will fade back into their normal selves as if nothing ever happened.
Suicide rates spike to record highs immediately before the Day of Reflection and drop into record lows afterward. Anyone who was considering it before will know better afterward than to place themselves into Heaven's hands.