Luminaire is an annual celebration that lasts throughout December, culminating in a feast called Lumineve on the twenty-fourth day with many presents given the following morning after sunrise. Subetans get together with their friends and families to sing songs, enjoy festive foods and exchange gifts. Towns are decorated in lights.
Winter had always been difficult in Alpendale, a cozy valley village nestled within the mountains of Arctic Frost, but somehow the rugged villagers had always managed to get by. Nothing, however, could have prepared them for the fierce blizzard that seemed to whirl up out of nowhere; the worst they had ever seen. Undaunted they waited, sure that it would pass.
To their dismay, the storm was still raging nearly three weeks later, with no sign of letting up. The villagers, reduced to nibbling stale food and burning broken chairs for warmth, had grown desperate. The oil they had used to light their lanterns had since run out, plunging nights into darkness. Their sole link to the world, an icy mountain pass, was far too treacherous to cross in whiteout conditions; any team that attempted it would certainly have perished, if they didn't first manage to stir up a deadly avalanche. With no light and no rescue teams in sight, the villagers had all but given up. Still, they gathered around to share whatever food and medicine they had left, determined that they would all survive to see a rescue team, or else perish together.
One night, when all but the most restless children had gone to sleep, the winds died down and the sky was bathed in the most beautiful colors, an undulating rainbow ribbon shimmering through the darkness. Multitudes of snow fairies, so rare that they were thought only to exist in bedtime stories, descended upon the town like so many stars falling from the sky. Within minutes everyone had been woken, gathering around the town center to greet these magical creatures. While their orbs of light were small and pale, they were surprisingly warm to the touch. The fairies pressed their light into the outstretched palms of villagers, warming them all from head to toe. Having imparted whatever warmth they could, they fluttered off to the highest point in the town, a great old evergreen, and lit it with their tiny orbs in hopes that someone would see them.
Those in the towns at the foot of the mountains did know of Alpendale's plight, but they realized that a rescue attempt would have been a fool's mission. Sadly, they decided that they couldn't be responsible for Alpendale's fate; not when it meant sending their own men to their deaths.
This answer wasn't good enough for Melody. Although she was young and hardly stood a chance of surviving the dangerous journey, she was determined to help if no one else would. Astonished by her bravery, the townspeople donated their supplies and their strongest anyu, and she set off at once with as much as her anyu could pull on a sleigh.
However much Melody wanted to help, the bitter wind and ice were too much for the inexperienced traveler to handle. The pass, normally difficult, was now impossible to cross. Lost and exhausted after days of travel, the disconsolate Melody closed her eyes and sobbed at having failed the villagers. When she opened them, however, she found herself surrounded by the very fairies that had lit Alpendale. Buoyed by their warmth and company, she pushed onward.
The fairies lit the firs that dotted the path with their orbs, guiding her through the safest portions of the pass. At last she made it, and was greeted almost immediately by the grateful villagers. While they were more than thankful for the supplies she had brought them, it was clear that they wouldn't last a week unless she could bring more: more time than she needed to return to her village for help. It was in this time of need that Melody, out of desperation, learned that she had an ability that no one else did. Her heart hurting at the sight of a hungry child, she felt something small and crumbly materialize in her hand: a gingerbread cookie! It seemed that she had the power to produce anything she wanted at will, so long as she meant to give it to someone who needed it! Ecstatic, she went to work at once, producing everything the villagers needed to weather the storm.
Now, Melody travels to town every December, but not for the sake of bringing supplies; rather, she brings delicious foods and toys for all of the children! To this day, the villagers decorate their trees with lights and exchange gifts to remind themselves of the gift of light they were given, and the sharing that got them through the most trying of times.
Customs & Traditions
Luminaire is, above all, about warmth and giving. Friends and family gather to enjoy each other's company, enjoying a large feast on Lumineve and exchanging gifts the following morning. Trees, windows and pretty much everything are decorated with lights as a reminder of the light given by the fairies.
- While most of the gift giving occurs on the twenty-fifth (the morning following Lumineve), friends and families exchange gifts throughout the season. Additionally, Melody offers gifts to any visitors who stop by in December.
Lanterns and candles are lit and trees, usually evergreens, are decorated with lights to remember the gift of the fairies. Trees are usually the highest points in small alpine villages, and are often lit as beacons for travelers.
Winter markets open all over Arctic Frost, selling handcrafted toys and treats such as candy canes, gingerbread cookies, rice pudding, trifles, and eggnog. Families gather on Lumineve for a great feast.
Taking after Melody and her love of music, people gather to sing songs about winter and Lumineve.
Luminaire has been viewed 54,068 times.