WHY YEARTURN IS CELEBRATED - A GRANDFATHER'S GIFT

A SANTHARIAN YEARTURN STORY

 
Stories of Yearturn   
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Introduction. When the nights are cold, a story’s told; a tradition that stems from ages old. Come gather round grandfather’s knees, and listen to how Yearturn came to be...
 

he fire was slowly burning down, casting a waning but warm glow on the old man. He was smoking a pipe full of hobbitweed, the rising smoke from the pipe dancing together in harmony with the shadows cast by the flickering flames. For music, there was the company of the wind which howled and whistled in turn. Two children lounging in front of the fire, basking in the comfort of its warmth, were made drowsy by the burning logs of peace pine and cinnabark thrown in for good measure - the sweet smell enticing them to worlds of dreams and fancy, ideal for a cold winter’s night.

The old man smiled fondly at his grandchildren, remembering his own youth and how he too used to lounge in front of the fire, not on the large chair as he did now, but on the floor where the fire was a warm contrast to the freezing ground. In moments like these, what better gift to give than a good old story about the beginnings of Yearturn, something to look forward to and something to give good cheer. He took out his pipe and began his tale…

A long time ago, before you and I were born, there was never much to do during the cold days when the Injèrá was furthest away from Caelereth - the nights were long and the wind howled the days away. It was always dark and you could never tell what lurked just around the corner. At that time, people did not all live in separate homes but rather, there were a few huts and many would dwell under the same roof - we believed much more in community then and branches of the family would all stay together, sharing the warmth that each person gave. That made arguing a most disagreeable course of action because sharing the same space meant that no one could really avoid one another. When tempers got heated, everyone suffered. The problem was that on long cold nights, arguing seemed to happen all the time because there was really nothing else one could do except to stay in and trample on each other’s toes. And so it was that as the cold days wore on, people became more and more miserable, feeding on the sour mood of each other and adding a cloud of ill over all that dwelled within.

This kind of ill-temperament was the norm and expected when the Injèrá took her long leave. People hated those days and always anticipated in great joy for the returning of the Injèrá as each year passed and people accepted it as they accepted the tides of time. This was the case until one day a quarrel broke out between two related families in the village. There was nothing unusual about families quarreling but these two families took it one step too far to the point of affecting everyone else who lived in the same community. These two families were two of the most respected families in the village and both were dealing in the same trade, that being clothing. They took care of all the clothes that the village occupants wore and were extremely proud of their work, each thinking themselves better than the other. That particular year, it was colder than any had ever experienced before. More clothes had to be sewn in order to keep everyone warm. The problem started when the clothes to be sewn for the elders were assigned to the younger of the two families contrary to previous years. Full of dissatisfaction, the family that had been around longer refused to do the rest of the clothes and in their act of rebellion, people did not get the required warm clothes that were needed to match the weather. This became a problem.

The elders realized that this was something that needed to be solved because it was not just a current problem but one that would happen every year as long as people could not see past their own folly and pride, aggravated by the weather. When times were hard, all the more people had to be united. A conference was held and in those days, conferences meant huddling together over a small fire and deciding what to do. That night, suggestions were given and rejected and the words came hurtling fast and furious until emotions went out of control. The debate lasted long until one of the elders said, "What do you quarrel about? I tell you, it is for naught. Why do you complain that the sun has left and the food is scarce, when you know for sure that she will return again? Can't you see that the Injèrá has to leave first from her place in the skies to bring all of you together here? To bring all those together, who usually go out and tend their own fields, not minding the business of the others? Can't you see that the Injèrá disappears so that we start to talk about her leaving and what her leaving means to us, though you only notice the bad things? But don't you understand as well that it is a blessing to have her go, to be able again to await her return? And that it is on us to rejoice that we have come together in this house, because of her - but wouldn't it be wiser to cease the disputes and instead celebrate the Injèrá's coming? And what better time would there be for feast and song if not in the midst of winter? At the time when we still feel the Injèrá's guidance once we apprehend how thankful we have to be that it was she who has brought us together after all."

Silence fell as everyone realized the wisdom that lay buried within those words. It was clear what they had to do. They had to give themselves something to look forward to, to celebrate, when the hour was at its darkest, so as to remind themselves that every ill can be turned to light, if only they would set their minds to it. Thus came about the celebration at Yearturn. They decided that on this day, it was right to celebrate the turning of Injèrá for it meant that the cold days would be ending and that brighter days lay ahead. It gave people something to look forward to, to prepare for - the best food was kept, presents were made, the celebration planned. It was quite a time really. People would hide the gifts they were making so as to allow the receiver the biggest surprise. People would come together to plan and decorate the huts, everything that could be spared to add festive cheer. Soon all found themselves waiting in anticipation for this special day and with goodwill and happiness in their hearts, it really made no sense to quarrel and be mean to one another, no matter how cold it got. Stories were told and instead of a time of misery, the days became a time of community and fellowship, welcomed by young and old alike.

And so, on the night of Yearturn, people would burn logs to create a big fire, lighting up the night and adding merry cheer to the silence of the cold, beating the wind with a fire that consumed all around in its warmth and brightness. On this night, they would exchange gifts, tell stories, sing and dance the night away. It was always a night to remember and up till today, we would still tell stories as I am doing now and await in joyful hope, the turning of the Injèrá.

 


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Celebration Story written by Elendilwyn View Profile