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(PLEASE READ FIRST POST) When is the FotEA?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I've been thinking about Imperial holidays/holy days. The two I find most interesting are the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension and the Emperor's Gift. (Pulling this from Dark Heresy: the Inquisitor's Handbook, by the way.)

Unfortunately, as with so many other things in 40k, the dates for these are not listed. The Emperor's Gift is whenever the tithe ships come around, but it is implied that the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension happens once every 365.25 Terran days.

Now my two guesses for when this would be are Christmas-time (or rather, the winter solstice), and Easter (the spring equinox). A lot of real-world cultures have or used to have holidays at those times, usually as prayers for safety in the coming winter and to celebrate spring's return.

There's also the fall equinox (think Halloween/Thanksgiving), usually associated with the harvest, the dead, and/or the world winding down for winter (in temperate climes), but fall holidays are less common than spring and winter ones, to my knowledge. There're very few summer solstice holidays that I know of; presumably our ancestors were too busy working/enjoying the weather.

Anyway, dragging myself back onto topic: because 40k borrows liberally from the real world, and most holidays are in the spring or winter, I figure the FotEA is on one of those. I keep flip-flopping on which it would be, though, so I'll put it to you lot: when do you think the Feast is?
 

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I'd go with winter, that is the most important one to raise the spirits during a hard winter.

Living in a giant hive or on a desert world, you might forget it is winter, but you will still be thankful of a days rest from the hard labour.

Pause and give thanks for The Emperor and His Sacrifice
 

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Son of LO
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There are a couple of problems with this whole thing.

1. Terra doesn't exactly have seasons any more. Ever since it was ravaged during the Horus Heresy, it's been an ecologically devastated planet-wide urban sprawl. Imagine Mumbai, times one hundred, everywhere, for ten thousand years. The only weather changes worth describing would be "smog" and "thick smog."
2. It wouldn't matter anyway, since the Feast is celebrated on over a million Imperial worlds and according to the Law of Science Fiction Variance they're all going to have wildly different and thematically appropriate seasonal timetables. The Feast might happen in the dead of winter on Snowyworld, but it might also be right at the end of the fifteen-month summer on Sunnyworld.
3. The holiday itself has little in common with either Easter or Christmas. Christmas is the day of Jesus' birth, and Easter is the day of his resurrection. Neither one is thematically similar to the Ascension, which was when the Emperor died and got put in the Golden Throne. The closest real-world equivalent you've got is when Jesus went to Heaven, which isn't actually celebrated anymore. And the date for that holiday, which is called Ascension Thursday, varies every year. It was the 21st May this year, and it'll be the 13th next year. It can be any day between April and June.
4. Even if we pick the 25th of December and say that this is the Emperor's Ascension, how do we get every planet to celebrate it simultaneously? Even Earth doesn't celebrate Christmas all at the same time because of how the day works. It's far more likely that each planet has its own internal calender and each one picks an appropriate day for the Feast. In which case, tied with 2., it could happen any time.
5. It doesn't even matter because celebrating Christmas in a fictional universe is almost always lame and kind of ham-fisted. Does anyone remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? Lifeday? Yeah. Not cool.

So if I was going to pick Christmas or Easter I'd prefer to say none of the above and make up my own fictional holiday celebration. Knowing the Imperium, the Feast probably involves burning a year's worth of heretics and kicking some puppies, followed by the Ten Hour Hate where everyone boos a picture of Abaddon.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are a couple of problems with this whole thing.
1. Terra doesn't exactly have seasons any more. Ever since it was ravaged during the Horus Heresy, it's been an ecologically devastated planet-wide urban sprawl. Imagine Mumbai, times one hundred, everywhere, for ten thousand years. The only weather changes worth describing would be "smog" and "thick smog."
That, oddly, did not occur to me, which is sad since all three of you have commented on it. Ah, well...

2. It wouldn't matter anyway, since the Feast is celebrated on over a million Imperial worlds and according to the Law of Science Fiction Variance they're all going to have wildly different and thematically appropriate seasonal timetables. The Feast might happen in the dead of winter on Snowyworld, but it might also be right at the end of the fifteen-month summer on Sunnyworld.
Oh, I'm certain that that would be the case on a local level, but since the dating system the Imperium uses seems to cycle every 365 units, I guessed they were basing the official calendar on Terran years. So while you wouldn't have consistent weather, you'd still be able to say, "Hey kids! Just three more days until we get to burn the library!"

3. The holiday itself has little in common with either Easter or Christmas. Christmas is the day of Jesus' birth, and Easter is the day of his resurrection. Neither one is thematically similar to the Ascension, which was when the Emperor died and got put in the Golden Throne. The closest real-world equivalent you've got is when Jesus went to Heaven, which isn't actually celebrated anymore. And the date for that holiday, which is called Ascension Thursday, varies every year. It was the 21st May this year, and it'll be the 13th next year. It can be any day between April and June.
Perhaps my first post was unclear... I know that there's no thematic connection, but I picked those two points in the year because of our real-world tendency to celebrate at those times. Admittedly the climate changes may have made that moot, but a surprising amount of the past survives in the grim dark future, so I thought that tendency might as well.

Also, thank you for pointing out Ascension Thursday. Despite being raised Catholic, I had never heard of it, although I had wondered why that wasn't holiday-worthy. A nice bit of trivia, and for that you get another Rep Point to swim in. :)

4. Even if we pick the 25th of December and say that this is the Emperor's Ascension, how do we get every planet to celebrate it simultaneously? Even Earth doesn't celebrate Christmas all at the same time because of how the day works. It's far more likely that each planet has its own internal calender and each one picks an appropriate day for the Feast. In which case, tied with 2., it could happen any time.
It would be a logistical nightmare, but that seems to be meat and drink to the Administratum; I can picture that department being one of their largest. Plus the Ecclesiarchy seems pretty anal retentive about tradition, so I could see proper celebration being enforced locally.

5. It doesn't even matter because celebrating Christmas in a fictional universe is almost always lame and kind of ham-fisted. Does anyone remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? Lifeday? Yeah. Not cool.
Missed that movie, but I'm glad to have done so. Anyway, I'm not trying to cram in a real, modern holiday, just thinking about the in-universe ones; partly for curiousity, and partly because I'm running a Dark Heresy campaign and I like having living, breathing worlds with details like that.

So if I was going to pick Christmas or Easter I'd prefer to say none of the above and make up my own fictional holiday celebration. Knowing the Imperium, the Feast probably involves burning a year's worth of heretics and kicking some puppies, followed by the Ten Hour Hate where everyone boos a picture of Abaddon.
Oh, I'd imagine the Ten Hour Hate to be more of a monthly thing, really. Weekly on Cadia... :)

If you're curious, the Feast is described as follows:

Dark Heresy: the Inquisitor's Handbook; Bligh said:
This annual event is the most common festival held in the Emperor's name. It celebrates the moment, ten thousand years ago, when He was raised to the Golden Throne and made the transition to divinity. On many worlds this is a week-long event, with feasting, games, and spectacles to honour the Emperor. Often symbolic sacrifices are made in His name, such as the burning of books to offer their knowledge up to Him. It is also an auspicious time to join people in wedlock or concieve children, leading to mass gatherings of citizens intent on one or both of these undetakings. It is also said that during the Emperor's Ascension, no false judgements can be made, making it impossible to overturn a ruling made during this time.

Not all worlds celebrate the Ascencion with feasts and festivals. On some, especially primitive worlds, this holiday marks a time when the Emperor looks down from His divine realm and remembers His mortal followers. It is at this time that those brave and bold enough can eran a place at His side. Thus the Ascension becomes a bloody time when men and women fight and die in an effort to please the Emperor, each trying to outdo the courage and skill of the others.

However it is celebrated, the Fest of the Emperor's Ascension is the most notable Imperial holiday and the one that the majority of Imperial civilians observe, even if they do so only to gain a brief respite from their daily drudgery.
 

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Ascension day is the most liekly although I voted winter because its more fun.
Ascension day is 40 days after Easter (I think) and I think Easter is the last day in one of the spring months or something.

Personally I think the Imperium would have a galactic standard time as in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series as it would help trade and war.
 

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Son of LO
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Also, thank you for pointing out Ascension Thursday. Despite being raised Catholic, I had never heard of it, although I had wondered why that wasn't holiday-worthy. A nice bit of trivia, and for that you get another Rep Point to swim in. :)
I understand that it's mostly an Orthodox Christianity thing.
Missed that movie, but I'm glad to have done so. Anyway, I'm not trying to cram in a real, modern holiday, just thinking about the in-universe ones; partly for curiousity, and partly because I'm running a Dark Heresy campaign and I like having living, breathing worlds with details like that.
That actually sounds like a great idea. Does the celebration tie into the plot, or is it there for decoration? Because it occurs to me that a murder mystery or a cult hunt set smack-bang in the middle of the Feast would be an interesting scenario.

Also

It is also an auspicious time to join people in wedlock or concieve children, leading to mass gatherings of citizens intent on one or both of these undetakings.
This made me crack up. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That actually sounds like a great idea. Does the celebration tie into the plot, or is it there for decoration? Because it occurs to me that a murder mystery or a cult hunt set smack-bang in the middle of the Feast would be an interesting scenario.
I haven't decided that part yet, but I wanted to nail down when it was on the Imperial calendar partly to see if I could fit a mid-Feast mission into my current lineup. Technically it's my game and therefore my choice, but I figured I'd poll the more experienced 40k-ers here first.

I already have a murder mystery lined up for the group, but a cult hunt sounds interesting... :freaked-out:
 

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but since the dating system the Imperium uses seems to cycle every 365 units, I guessed they were basing the official calendar on Terran years
Personally I think the Imperium would have a galactic standard time as in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series as it would help trade and war.
The Imperium has its own semi-decimalised system, not anything like either a 365 days cycle or like anything else I've seen. At least, not explictly.

For example, as far as I can work it, today's date in the Imperial reckoning would be:

0937009.M3

The first digit (0 ) is the "check number", basically a measure of how accurate the date is likely to be. 0 is used to refer to events in the Sol system, 1 to events in direct psychic contact with Terra, and so on until 9, which is code for "this date is very approximate, it didn't have contact with any corroborating date source".

The next 3 digits (937) are the "year fraction" number. Basically it's a numerical way of calculating days that isn't reliant on solar cycles. I have no real idea how long a "year" is in the Imperium, so for the purposes of this calculation I based it off a solar year (365 days = 1000 year fraction units).

The next 3 are the year number. Again, no idea how long they are, but they're based off a millenial cycle and all years are given in Anno Domini values, so we're in year 009.

The last bit after the dot is the millennium number. In most cases it's .M41 for 40K, but it's .M3 for us. Again it's the Anno Domini years that are counted.

The only relation to our current time is the year length, I seem to remember a reference to "standard years" in the 3rd edition ork codex, but that's the only indication that I've ever seen.
 

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I know you've actually got people contributing to this topic who know things about the fluff of the 40K world, so I'm not really going to be of any use, but...

Well, I've been thinking about your question, and I'm not all that sure The Feast of the Emperor's Ascension would correspond to any current real world holiday, or if it was even intended to...

Maybe it was. See, from what I understand regarding Easter and Christmas, the dates these occur on were chosen because they corresponded to pagan days of worship or something. By replacing the evil pagan celebrations with good, wholesome Christian ones, the church was one step further to relegating pagan customs back to the dark ages they belonged...

Perhaps I should be less judgemental...

Possibly, GW took this idea and ran with it; perhaps the Emperor and/or those in charge of decreeing these things replaced the Christian holidays with Imperial Sanctioned ones in an attempt to eradicate the old ways, in which case the FotEA would probably correspond to Easter/Spring Equinox and the Epmeror's Gift day would logically match up with Christmas/Winter Solstice.

Then again, logic would also dictate that the FotEA actually occurs when they put the guy on the Golden Throne, which would depend more on when the Horus Heresey (Horesey?) actually happened and less on what time of year it was.

I could have saved everyone a lot of time by just saying 'I don't know' but where's the fun in that?
 

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Deadstar_MRC said:
Then again, logic would also dictate that the FotEA actually occurs when they put the guy on the Golden Throne, which would depend more on when the Horus Heresey (Horesey?) actually happened and less on what time of year it was.
I'm sticking with Deadstar_MRC on this. The feast probably occurs on the day the Emperor was interned in his throne. Since no date is given, I say October 12th.
 

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The holidays that celebrate the birth and death of a 2000 year old carpenter who may or may not have been the son of god do not match up with the dates of these events. The Emperor's Ascension would probably not be celebrated on the anniversary of the event.

Jesus was not born Dec 25th, it was just chosen to replace the Pagan Winter celebration.

Therefore selecting such a date will be a good idea to anyone replacing the Christian belief system with the next one to come along. No doubt the Roman and Greeks and Egyptians and other ancient cultures with their own pantheons would have had similar dates to their feasts.

Imperial time is based on Earth time table, humans will be somewhat hardcoded to work on a 24 hour cycle because that is what the Earth works on. On a world that takes 3 years to orbit their sun and days are 70 hours long, the people are still going to need sleep every 18 hours or so. so Imperial time makes sense to some degree, especially for official Imperial orders.
Local time can be anything that suits.
 

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The holidays that celebrate the birth and death of a 2000 year old carpenter who may or may not have been the son of god do not match up with the dates of these events. The Emperor's Ascension would probably not be celebrated on the anniversary of the event.
I think that was kind of my point, in the roundabout manner in which I go about things...

Part of me thinks they would commemorate the actual day, seeing as they probably know when it actually was. Also, one would have thought they had already eliminated most religion by then and wouldn't have to bother trying to supersede an existing festival.

Another part of me thinks GW didn't think of this, and thus created rough parallels to Easter and Christmas for whatever reasons they felt like.
 

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I'm sticking with Deadstar_MRC on this. The feast probably occurs on the day the Emperor was interned in his throne. Since no date is given, I say October 12th.
Why not make it today?

Happy Emperor's Ascension Day! I'm going to buy myself a cake FEAST now to celebrate with :D
 

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Happy Feast of Emperor's Ascension Day!
The pedant in me just screamed...

It's one or the other, not both. "Emperor's Ascension Day" and "Feast of the Emperor's Ascension" are separate titles. It's the same with saints, the "Feast of St Patrick" is St Patrick's Day.
 

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The pedant in me just screamed...

It's one or the other, not both. "Emperor's Ascension Day" and "Feast of the Emperor's Ascension" are separate titles. It's the same with saints, the "Feast of St Patrick" is St Patrick's Day.
Fine, happy now? :p
 

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I'm certainly no fluff master either but..

If the tribute ships go from planet to planet then the date would probably be planet specific. If however specific ships are dispatched to individual planets, then I guess there is the possibility that the date would be set.

For the FotA I would say the spring (although for some reason I voted winter) it has the greatest connotation of protection and re-birth. The sun returns to watch over the people just as the Emperor does, etc.

And I have forgotten my other point...

cheers


Ok I remembered apparently I forgot because it is completely off topic. When I first saw this post I was wondering why someone was doing a poll in the fluff forum, and the idea sprang to mind of a choose your own adventure story remember like those old books? Where the story would follow what people decide to do by taking the poll. Anyone ever done something like that?

cheers again
 

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Aye the Feast of the Emperors Ascension, that magical time in the Grim Darkness of the Far Flung Future when Imperial warriors take time out from xenocidal campaigns to be with family and friends and enjoy a nice glass of hot mulled wine and listen to old stories from Ascension Day's past.

Such as the story of Captain Rudolphus whose old Dauntless Class cruiser was mocked by all the other captains for being too small to be a real ship of the line, but whose Crimson Alphus class beacon was able to lead the fleet through the warp to deliver a present of Flaming Death to the Tau.

Or the story of King Wenslas the loyal govenor who held out against his rebellious citizens through the winter by spying them from his observation tower and sniping at them all through the holiday season.......


Ah good times....good times.
 

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Aye the Feast of the Emperors Ascension, that magical time in the Grim Darkness of the Far Flung Future when Imperial warriors take time out from xenocidal campaigns to be with family and friends and enjoy a nice glass of hot mulled wine and listen to old stories from Ascension Day's past.

Such as the story of Captain Rudolphus whose old Dauntless Class cruiser was mocked by all the other captains for being too small to be a real ship of the line, but whose Crimson Alphus class beacon was able to lead the fleet through the warp to deliver a present of Flaming Death to the Tau.

Or the story of King Wenslas the loyal govnor who held out against his rebellious citizens through the winter by spying them from his observation tower and sniping at them all through the holiday season.......


Ah good times....good times.

Let us not forget the tale of the ork Warboss Grintch and his infamous squiggoth Makks, who invaded the world of Whochester just as the people were celebrating the Feast of the Emperor's Ascension, and looted all their presents. In retaliation for the greenskins' heresy, Inquisitor Sindee Lhou led a Deathwatch kill-team into the Warboss's space hulk Mount Krump-it and personally put a bolt-round through the ork's shrunken heart.

Hark to the story of Lord Ebenezer Scroogiam, the tyrannical governor of the world of Dickens' Pride, who assassinated his brother Marlius in a bloody coup to monopolize his control over the trade clans. He then taxed the planet heavily, forcing the population into labor camps and making them work constantly, even on Emperor's Ascension Day. It was Scroogiam who executed Saint Robart Cratchitt, the holy martyr who organized a rebellion in the name of the Emperor to reinstate the sanctity of that holiest of days.
Scroogiam's tyranny might have continued forever had it not been for a vision he received of three spirits. He awoke from this dream a changed man, freeing the population, giving them back their hard-earned money, and building hospitals, orphanages, and schools. However, Inquisitor Timothy the Small discovered that Scroogiam had in fact been corrupted by daemons of the Warp. Scroogiam was declared a witch and a heretic and was removed from power by a Culexus assassin. In the end, Timothy found the planet to be beyond salvation and invoked Exterminatus upon it, scouring it clean of Scroogiam's pernicious heresy.

Dogmatic faith and bloody vengeance. Doesn't it all just warm the cockles of your heart? Happy Emperor's Ascension Day everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The Imperium has its own semi-decimalised system, not anything like either a 365 days cycle or like anything else I've seen. At least, not explictly.

For example, as far as I can work it, today's date in the Imperial reckoning would be:

0937009.M3

The first digit (0 ) is the "check number", basically a measure of how accurate the date is likely to be. 0 is used to refer to events in the Sol system, 1 to events in direct psychic contact with Terra, and so on until 9, which is code for "this date is very approximate, it didn't have contact with any corroborating date source".

The next 3 digits (937) are the "year fraction" number. Basically it's a numerical way of calculating days that isn't reliant on solar cycles. I have no real idea how long a "year" is in the Imperium, so for the purposes of this calculation I based it off a solar year (365 days = 1000 year fraction units).

The next 3 are the year number. Again, no idea how long they are, but they're based off a millenial cycle and all years are given in Anno Domini values, so we're in year 009.

The last bit after the dot is the millennium number. In most cases it's .M41 for 40K, but it's .M3 for us. Again it's the Anno Domini years that are counted.

The only relation to our current time is the year length, I seem to remember a reference to "standard years" in the 3rd edition ork codex, but that's the only indication that I've ever seen.
Ah, my bad. I had seen somewhere (sadly I do not recall where, though I remember thinking at the time that it was a GW publication) a different breakdown:

AAAA.BBB.CCC.MDD

Where A was the time of day (in 24-hour format, not am/pm format). B was the day of the year (and therefore never rose above 366), C was the year of the millennium, and of course D was the millenium itself.

It's a pity that that was incorrect; I'd've found it easier to keep dates straight in my head...:\

Anyway, a rep point to you for clarifying that! Points to Dawnrunner and Visitor Q, too, for making me chuckle. :snicker:

Imperial time is based on Earth time table, humans will be somewhat hardcoded to work on a 24 hour cycle because that is what the Earth works on. On a world that takes 3 years to orbit their sun and days are 70 hours long, the people are still going to need sleep every 18 hours or so. so Imperial time makes sense to some degree, especially for official Imperial orders.
Local time can be anything that suits.
Exactly! That's an excellent way of phrasing my opposition to the "just use local calendars" idea. :)

Anyway! I, sadly, am still undecided; though I'm pretty sure I won't be filing it under the Summer or Autumn categories; I'm liking Winter for the "get through the dark times" part, but I also favor Spring for the rebirth/renewal angle, which might be the bit that the Ecclesiarchy wants to play up... :struggle:

Despite my indecisiveness, thank you all for your thoughts so far. :)
 
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