Bring out the candles, the musical instruments, and the colorful Halarei, because today is the day of one of the most vibrant festivals in the world: Angeli. Over many years, the Unitist religious holiday has fused with a variety of folk traditions in Eiria, Auria, and other nations, giving rise to a cultural celebration like no other. Houses are adorned with stylized candles, and banners fly from apartment balconies. It’s a day for color, for vibrance, and for joy, and it’s truly a sight to behold.
But what makes Angeli significant? What event do all of these festivities celebrate? Well, according to Unitist belief, Angeli celebrates the day that all five High Angels were born out of the Holy Unity, resulting in the birth of the universe as a whole. As such, December 9th is the holiest day in all of Unitism, when the five Angels are revered for their role in creating and preserving the delicate balance of our world.
This reverence takes many different forms. One more notable example is all of the music. In public squares and parks, crowds sing and dance to classic folk songs as local instrumentalists work together to keep the beat going. During the day, choirs perform on street corners and in train stations (or in Liberty Square for Geminus’s famous “Duel of the Carols”). In bars and restaurants with their yellow flags up*, exuberant patrons sing during their lunches, happy to be in such enthusiastic company. Even Unitists in foreign countries where they may not get the day off (such as Lauchenoiria) usually find the time for at least some singing and dancing.
As the long day of festivities wind down, the more contemplative side of the holiday begins. Many families gather together for a large dinner, happy to have the peaceful evenings together. Members of the Unitist clergy host free dinners, donation drives, and private services for anyone in desperate need. Some walk the Angelus Chelšei, paths of shrines that are said to offer fortune and guidance to those beginning new chapters of their lives. Others place a “lucky tray” on their windowsills. This tray contains a symbol representing each Angel’s elemental domain: A lit candle, a cup of water, a turned-over glass, a flower (or some other kind of potted plant), and a mirror. These trays supposedly bring good fortune and balance to everyone that sets them out.
Family-style dining, already common in Eiria and Auria, becomes ubiquitous during Angeli. Since families usually eat dinner together, groups of friends schedule lunch gatherings together, with everyone either bringing completed dishes or ingredients to these parties. Popular dishes include fried green onion pelmes (potato dumplings), tomato flatbread, garlic shrimp soup, and duvmaize (a type of bread that can be stuffed with a variety of things). The full array of regional summer vegetables can be seen on dining tables across Eiria, and Aurian fruits form the basis of many desserts.
Besides all of the singing, dancing, and feasting, Angeli is also a time for playing games. For two days after Angeli in the city of Merēta, you can play the traditional Eirian game Polis in a massive tournament that pits hundreds of players against each other for the hope of a few thousand Lunens in prize money. Last year, the winner of the tournament walked away 10,000 Lunens richer. Would you like to try your luck?
Overall, Angeli is an incredibly versatile holiday that devotees celebrate in so many differing ways. Like most things in Unitist tradition, there aren’t very many rules or requirements surrounding the day, leaving the choice on how to celebrate up to the faithful. And whether you spend the day surrounded by family and friends, singing your heart out, or quietly contemplating life, we wish you a Happy Angeli.
*Eirian restaurants and bars have a singing flag system. The most basic rule is that if the establishment has a large yellow flag or near the entrance, feel free to start singing with other patrons. If there is a black banner, you should maintain a respectful volume and not spontaneously burst into song. There are different rules for establishments with live entertainment, but that is a different story altogether.