Aug 31st – the Fire Howling. The Fire Howling is a day of cleansing and the equivalent of New Year’s Day; the 30th is the equivalent of New Year’s Eve.
At sundown on the 30th, Tribes gather at the designated locations in their territories / Realms where priests have a bonfire going that’s been made with the intent to cleanse. Papers with memories, forces, and whatever someone wants to leave behind in the New Year are burnt, and space is given for grieving and processing. Dancing, singing, and music often play a part of the night’s cleansing as well.
The night isn’t deathly somber, but it is more serious in tone than the next day. Everyone puts something into the bonfire and processes throughout the night, even if they need to return after the initial line goes through in order to process and add more. Talking and listening about what’s been burnt is an option, and light refreshments are out to help with grounding.
Tribes have chosen to stick with the traditional stance of starting the New Year at sunrise on the 31st, even though they do have timekeeping devices that switch to the next day before sunrise. Food is brought out as the sunrise approaches, and priests say special prayers and blessings in the minutes before. At sunrise, everyone in attendance toasts with a drink¹ and then feasts.
A few minutes after sunrise, during the feasting, the televised event from the Henge starts broadcasting. (The Dignitaries, ambassadors, and higher ups get a few minutes of private celebration with family before needing to attend to official business.) Angrboda leads rounds of toasts with the priests from the Tribes (there are multiple priests for each Tribe, so that Someone can be at Henge while Someone else can be at a televised event) for blessings of the New Year.
The members of the Tribe being toasted drink and make noise while their priest is drinking, and this helps to solidify all the Tribes. Priests and leaders of the neighboring Realms (Muspelheim and Niflheim) are toasted to solidify the relations and connections with those Tribes. Representatives from various other Realms are often invited and get toasted together as well in order to cement those relationships before the sign off. Angrboda blesses the Jotuns, “May you not howl alone this year”, howls, and everyone in attendance and watching howls.
Sacrifices, prayers, offerings, and magic are often done throughout the day to ensure good luck and health for the year. Diviners are sought for readings and resolving wyrd issues as well. With connections to Midgard over the years, some Jotuns may make ‘resolutions’, but they typically avoid something that can be construed as an Oath. Feasting and cleaning often finish out the day.
Observing the Fire Howling:
- Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible (bonfires for cleansing are there for residents and visitors the night before).
- It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
- Whether you can do a bonfire in Midgard or not, you can burn away negativity of the past year. Other means of banishing junk can be utilized as well, as this night is ideal for finalizing shadow work and cathartic work.
- Lighting a candle at sunset and listening to music, singing, or utilizing songs in processing and cleansing throughout the night works, preferably until sunrise if you can make it.
- If you can make it to sunrise on an all-nighter, a toast for blessing the New Year and sharing a drink with Someone is appropriate.
- Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them.
- Other means of cleansing and attractive magic are appropriate for this day as well.
(1) The drink in question varies. Some use mead, water, a different type of alcohol, something else that isn’t alcoholic, etc. A traditional drink seems to be a relative of mead that can be alcoholic or not depending on how long it’s been aged.