Holidays in Writing and Reading
Since this weekend is a unique Utah holiday, June 24 (Pioneer Day), I thought it might be good to talk about holidays in fictional worlds as much as in the real world. For those of you who don’t know, The Pioneer Day celebration is an annual event that honors the sacrifice of the early pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. It is considered an official holiday that creates mixed emotions in different people. Since the early settlers were part of the LDS(Mormon) community, there is always a disparity in Utah’s non-LDS culture. No one complains when they get an extra day off or extra holiday pay for the celebration. Are there holidays exclusive to your state like this?
How does this relate to writing?
Think about how people act during certain holidays, from the differences between couples and singles on Valentine’s Day to families and friends who gather for Thanksgiving. Each person approaches and views the various holidays differently, even though it’s the same holiday. As writers, we can use holidays to set the mood for a story. I love to write and post horror/thriller storylines during Halloween. I’ve considered trying to write Christmas specials. But for other writers, how do the holidays impact your characters? Do they enjoy them? Think of these types of questions as characterization questions.
For the Readers:
Are there fictional holidays that you wish were real? Do you think back to traditions you’ve heard of in books and integrate part of those celebrations into your lives? Think of May 4 (Star Wars Day) and how that brings out the most comprehensive array of Star Wars fans worldwide. (Never forget Revenge of the Fifth, either.) First Contact Day, from Star Trek, is central to a lot of the original works. Or even Harry Potter’s Birthday is coming up on the 31st.
Whether Fiction or Non-Fiction, these events impact our day-to-day lives, Social Media Posts, and whether you want to keep that old acquaintance as a friend or not. If you’re writing or reading, then think about the holidays and how they shape the stories we experience. And as always, stay fresh, my Nugs!