I received a question recently about holidays on Azelle, the planet I am slowly revealing to Earth. Honestly, I didn’t know the answer, so I decided to ask one of my main connections to the world of Azelle. This interaction is a result of that query.
Me: Hey, Merran, funny question to ask you. So, the 4th of July holiday is here on Earth. I’ve hung out with you for a very long time and I don’t think I’ve ever asked this question. Does Azelle have holidays?
Merran: The answer to the question you’re asking is a little more complex than it appears. Are you asking if we celebrate days or people that our culture considers important?
Me: I guess, yes. What else would you celebrate?
Merran (counting off on his fingers): Earth holidays are based on: 1) commemorating important public figures, 2) a significant date to the particular culture, such as your Independence Day, 3) religious celebrations. We on Azelle do remember our Arrival date, the date we first arrived on Azelle. We also celebrate the change of seasons, important festivals throughout the year that we come together to remember where we came from and where we are going. Commemorating important people? We don’t have holidays such as those, no. We also don’t have a religion per se, as you know, so we don’t celebrate the birth—or death—of an important religious figure. Our “gods” are more like guides and they walk among us. Sort of. They don’t have bodies, so they don’t walk, really, but the principle is the same. They are very much a part of our reality, and not something that we see as remote and distant from us. They’re also functionally immortal, so dates such as birth or death becomes meaningless (spreads his hands). You know how complicated it can be.
Me: I know, I’m having fun translating it for readers on Earth. It’s not always easy.
Merran (with a big smile): And we don’t want to give away any spoilers, do we? They’ll just have to read the books.
Me: Yes, they will! Thanks for the time, Mer. This gives me a place to start.
Merran: It’s my pleasure. I’m happy to answer any questions you or your readers have.
The difficulty in the question is, of course, that holidays as we consider them are very much a culturally defined concept. The question is more difficult than it appears. Yet, as Merran indicated, Azelle does celebrate significant events and seasons, and they stop to give thanks for who they are, where they are, where they came from and where they are going. Although they might appear very alien in some ways, they do share a desire to know their place in the universe and to celebrate their existence, as do we. They are as human as we—even as they experience life in a very different way. Azelle is a complex world with a very rich, layered culture. We will definitely be exploring more of it as the series develops. In the interim, happy 4th of July—let’s all take the time to remember who we are, where we come from and where we are going. This is our Independence Day. I’m very grateful for living here, in this time, and let’s celebrate that we are alive!