Welcome back to the Fiction Reboot–and a special guest post from Sharon Bayliss, author of the December People series! Winter is upon on, and with it the curiosity of winter solstice. Many cultures have used the winter and summer solstice times as a means of marking the beginning and ending of the year. In the fictional world of the December People, however, the solstice takes on new meaning. Let’s find out how wizards deal with these astrological events! Welcome Sharon!
If you’re familiar with The December People Series, you know that the winter wizards in Destruction think the winter solstice is a big deal. It’s not hard to guess why, it is their holiday. They use the time to celebrate and appreciate darkness.
However, in most cultures throughout time, winter solstice celebrations are focused around the triumph of light over darkness. So, even if you’re not familiar with the series, you can guess why summer wizards might make a huge deal out of the winter solstice, even if it’s not in their season. In Watch Me Burn, we learn a lot more about summer wizards, but we don’t get a chance to see them celebrating the winter solstice. So, I’m going to tell you about it now…
Modern summer wizards in the western world usually celebrate mainstream Christmas traditions, but their true winter holiday is The Festival of Sol Invictus, which they celebrate from 12/21-12/23. Their celebration includes some aspects of the ancient Roman festival Saturnalia and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun).
Many believe that the date of Christmas was chosen based on the timing of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, with the birth of the sun being appropriate symbolism for the birth of the Son of God.
Whether this is true or not, the timing of the summer wizard festivities do blend comfortably into traditional Christmas. This is helpful for summer wizards, as they can take off from work and school and celebrate at this time of year without much notice from the Mundanes. Summer wizards are naturally very social and agreeable, and are not troubled by celebrating Christmas like some winter wizards are. Summer wizards appreciate any opportunity to socialize with friends and family. And since wizards are so rare, summer wizards would rather participate in Mundane celebrations than be apart from society.
However, summer wizards celebrate several traditions that are specific to The Festival of Sol Invictus, many of which are related to traditions from the Roman Saturnalia:
- Summer wizards do not work or go to school on 12/21-12/23. This is a sacred time to celebrate the return of the sun, and should be spent with wizards, and away from Mundane tasks.
- On the night of 12/21, adults and children alike will fill the house with lit candles and stay up until sunrise to great the sun with rituals and celebrations.
- They give gifts on 12/23 (the traditional gift giving day during Saturnalia).
- They eat and drink copiously with friends and family during all three days.
- Although it’s a time of celebration and partying, summer wizards also make time to do volunteer work and help the needy. In some ways, this mirrors the “role reversal” traditions of Roman Saturnalia where masters serve the slaves. However, modern wizards see it as more of a way to honor and thank the unconquered sun.
- In addition to not working at their jobs, all kinds of Mundane tasks are frowned upon especially things like shopping, watching television, and video games. Instead, lots of activities and family games are planned to keep children occupied.
- Instead of making gingerbread houses or frosting sugar cookies, children work on lots of sun themed crafts:
- And of course, in a summer wizard house, you’ll find sun imagery snuck into Christmas decorations. If you want to know if you’re in a summer wizard house with just a glance, look at the top of the Christmas tree. If it’s a sun instead of a star, you’re probably with summer wizards.
Have a Merry Christmas, Blessed Winter Solstice, and a Joyful Festival of The Festival of Sol Invictus!
Sharon Bayliss is the author of the dark wizard family drama, The December People Series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies. www.sharonbayliss.com Amazon Facebook Twitter
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything.
Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
About Watch Me Burn:
David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.
His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.
David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.
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