Dwarven Festivals

Expansion on the post “Dwarrow Calendar”

 

Details on the more well known festivals:

Muhudtuzakhmerag (“Blessed Green Fest” or “Spring Fest”), a dwarrow spring-festival traditionally held from the 1st till the 20th on the 6th Month of the Dwarrow calendar –
the month of “‘âfmuhudtuzakh” (“Blessed Green Month”). The first day of the festival marks the cutting of the springbarley.
Barley which had been sown during the first day of the harvest festival, 6 or 7 months earlier.
It is noted that in the North, the spring festival is usualy held 2, sometimes even 3 weeks later, due to the fact that the springbarley is not ready to be cut in the colder climate.

A tradition of Muhudtuzakhmerag is to carry a fresh straw of spring barley with you. Dwarrow woman are known to wear it in their hair while dwarrow males often carry it in their pockets.
“The carrying of the straw”, is a dwarven tradition which, according to legend, dates back to the first Dwarrow Spring Festival, held at the beginning of the Second Age.
During this first festival, which the dwarves held in honor of Yavanna (the wife of their creator Mahal), Yavanna gave the fathers of the dwarves each a straw of spring barley.
This served to remind them of their dependance of nature.
Many years later during the war of the last alliance at The Battle of Dagorlad (3434 Second Age), the dwarves lead by dwarven general Barin were carrying straws of spring barley in their pockets,
which they had been offered during the start of the spring festival some time earlier.
Though a vast amount of soldiers died, not a single one of the generals regiment perished.
Since then it is considered good luck by most dwarves to carry a straw of spring barley in your pocket during the time of the spring festival.

The last day of Muhutuzakhmerag notes the annual pony race between Thorin’s Halls and Needlehole in the Westfarthing, known by many dwarves and hobbits as “The Broken Bone Race”.
The pony race, first held in the year 2903 TA, starts traditionally at foredawn.
Though originally a race held by dwarves only, in recent years hobbits have been known to enter.
The race is well known for its difficult conditions, the majority of the riders never reaching Needlehole.
The winner of the race is allowed to carry the title of “Race Champion of The West” untill the next spring-festival.
The most notable winner has been lord Dwalin (who won the first race – commemorating the Founding of Thorin’s Halls the year before)

Unlike the hobbit spring festivals, the dwarrow spring festival does not hold any sporting events (as those are reserved for the Harnkegger Festival some months later).

More information on some of the more obscure above mentioned holidays:

Ghiluzkhebabmerag (Forge Day Fest) – 19th of ‘âfnudkhazâd (This year on February 9th 2012)
As its name suggests, sacred to Smiths. Each Dwarven smith is required to forge a large, exquisite item in honor of this day. Some of the greatest Dwarven weapons (most notably the Durin’s Axe) were reportedly forged on this day. The meal for this feast day is quite heavy- dark bread, mutton, and mushrooms. Likewise the Dwarven spirits on this day are thick, black ales.

ghuregbuzramerag (” Deep Ale Fest” / Harnkegger Fest) – 9th till 19th of ‘âfghuregablug
(This year from May 29th till 17th of June 2012)
This holiday reflects the love of hard work the Dwarves have, followed by equally hard play. The holiday is named after the ceremonial position of the Harnkegger, which is given to a Dwarf who works conspicuously hard between spring festival and this holiday. The Harnkegger dons the traditional heavy boots and red garterbelt and gets the honor of tapping and sampling the first barrel of summer ale. Thus begins a 10 day festival of drinking ale, eating enormous amounts of food, gaming contests, and general merriment. On the last day, votes are taken and awards given for the best ale. The Dwarves work without cease from muhudtuzakhmerag till ghuregbuzramerag , so they can take full advantage of this holiday. Though this was originally a Dwarf feast of Ered Luin, many other Dwarrow nations have adopted it.

Lomil Zatamaradu (Night of the Kill) – evening of the last day of ‘âfizhu
(This year on September 14th 2012)
Lomil Zatamaradu starts on the last evening of ‘âfizhu and ends at Foredawn the next day. The Night traditionaly starts with a fellowship of Dwarves heading out early in the evening, set out to hunt and kill a deer or boar. The meat and hides are donated, later that night, to dwarves that are less fortunate. In comparison to other dwarven feasts no heavy ales nor feast meals are to be had, instead most dwarves drink a simple Mead and eat meager rashions on this eve. When the fellowship returns it is noted to pay homage to those dwarves that have gone to join Mahal.

Yuleblot (aka Mahalmerag or Yule Fest) starts 20th of ‘âfnarag – ends 18th of âfgalab (this year from December 13th 2011 till January 10th 2012).
Although Yuleblot is celebrated throughout its 29 days, the core of the festivities start on the 6th day of Yuleblot (this year on December 19th), when the traditional “zariragholt” (Sónargǫltr or sacrificial boar) is sacrificied. After the sacrifice, “Strengdir” (also known as Hietstrenja or The Yule Fest vows), would take place. The lord of the dwarrow kin or eldest dwarrow, would stand and first place his foot upon a stone or bench, then would lay his hands on the bristles of the sonargoltr and say: “I mount on the block and solemnly swear by Mahal… ”
Each adult dwarrow male, in order of rank or age is then to follow the Lord and also perform Strengdir. Each vow is solemn and there are punishments for breaking them. On the 10th day of Yuleblot (this year – 2011 – on 23rd of December), the “Yulebocken” (or Yule Goat) is killed and sacrificed to Mahal. The richer the dwarrow clan or kin is the fatter the goats are, sometimes 2 or even 3 goats are slaughtered as a symbol of the riches of the kin. A tradition which is followed by chants. On the 12th day of Yuleblot, (this year – 2011 – on 25th of December), a mass is held in honor of Mahal. The days after Mahal’s mass are known as Yulenkagr (“Fat or Rich Yule”), as they herald the start of the drinking and eating – till the last – 29th day of Yuleblot. Yuleblot is traditionally closed by chants on the last eve (this year – 2012 – on January 10th). *Note: apart from “zariragholt”, most names related to Yule are directly derived from Dale and have no seperate khuzdul word.

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About The Dwarrow Scholar

The Dwarrow Scholar first experienced the brilliance of Tolkien when he received a copy of The Hobbit from his uncle as a kid, reading it feverishly again and again. Some years on, when he got his very own walk-man (aye forget about tiny iPods, this thing was a brick and played cassette tapes) he made his own little audiotape of The Hobbit, so he could listen to it on his bike on his way to school. Between reenacting the Battle of Five armies with 4 of his school friends (still feel sorry for the kid that had to be the Orc) and before the days of internet, you would find Roy frequently in libraries trying to find all he could about Tolkien and his beloved dwarves. When Roy isn’t delving into Neo-Khuzdul or searching for lost dwarven treasures on the net he’s enjoying time with his wife and son, re-reading his tormented Tolkien paperbacks, watching a good movie, learning new languages or playing a game of LoTRO on Laurelin as Kandral Strongbeard.
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