Winter holidays in Austenasia

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In the Empire of Austenasia, the Christmas and holiday season is a time during which various days are designated as public holidays. This article documents the celebration of such winter holidays throughout Austenasia.


Christmas Day - 25 December - is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The preceding day (24 December) and the following day (26 December) are observed as Christmas Eve and Boxing Day respectively. Christmas Day is the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas, a festive period lasting up until Ephiphany (see below).

Although Christmas is a primarily religious festival, many of its associated customs and celebrations are of secular Western origin or significance. Christmas Eve is a day of spiritual or secular preparation for Christmas Day itself. In Britain, Boxing Day (the Second Day of Christmas) - although now often associated with shopping sales - is traditionally a day for families to meet who were unable to spend time with each other on Christmas Day; it is also known as Saint Stephen's Day or the Feast of Stephen in Western Christian calendars, although in the East that feast falls on 27 December.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day have both been Austenasian public holidays since the implementation of Act 10 (Public Holidays) in October 2008, and were reaffirmed as such by the Public Holidays Act on 14 January 2014.[1] In both Act 10 and the Public Holidays Act, Christmas Day was specifically designated a public holiday whereas Boxing Day has been given that status via a provision in each Act that any day considered a British bank holiday is also an Austenasian public holiday.

Christmas Eve was designated as an optional public holiday by Imperial Edict on 24 December 2017. This means that local authorities can choose whether or not to adopt it as a public holiday within their own jurisdiction.

Wrythe and the Imperial Family

The Imperial Residence's Christmas tree, 2021.

In the Imperial Residence, a Christmas tree is erected in Parliament Hall and decoration put up around the rest of the house at some point during the first half of December. Christmas cards received by the Imperial Family do not tend to be put on display until the week before Christmas, so as to provide ample time for birthday cards received by Emperor Mother Margaret (whose birthday is 8 December) to be displayed.

The run-up to Christmas sees the Emperor and Imperial Family send Christmas cards to friends, family, and domestic and foreign dignitaries. Most of the Imperial Family attend the nearby Carshalton Methodist Church, which the Sunday before Christmas holds a festive lunch after the morning service and a carol service in the evening. These two events are usually attended by Imperial Family members and the former residents of Zephyria.

Christmas Eve tends to be a relatively quiet, reflective day. Prior to her death in 2012, the immediate Imperial Family would customarily visit Dame Bette - mother of the now Emperor Father Terry - on Christmas Eve,[2] in a tradition dating back to 2002 if not earlier. Since 2018, Emperor Jonathan I has attended the Royal Hours at a nearby Orthodox Church[3] each Christmas Eve morning. Carshalton Methodist Church holds a midnight service (or, in recent years, an evening service to coincide with midnight in Bethlehem) on Christmas Eve which is usually attended by Emperor Mother Margaret; she is sometimes joined by Crown Princess Caroline, and was accompanied by the then Crown Prince Jonathan from 2008 to 2010 (prior to his conversion to Orthodoxy in 2011).

Christmas Day sees the Imperial Family attend the morning service at Carshalton Methodist, usually opening one or two of their presents beforehand and the rest after returning to the Imperial Residence. The Imperial Family then ordinarily either host or visit the Boxalls - the Emperor's maternal relatives - for Christmas dinner. Boxing Day will then usually see the roles reversed, with the Imperial Family or House of Boxall visiting whichever family was hosted the previous day. Some elements of Christmas Day are often repeated on Boxing Day, with the hosting family usually serving a festive (albeit somewhat less extravagant) meal and gifting small "tree presents"[4] to those there.

Oppidum Tubae

In Oppidum Tubae, cinnamon biscuits are a popular treat over the Christmas period. Christmas 2022 saw proposals put forward from Oppidum Tubae to adopt cinnamon biscuits as a nationally recognised Christmas treat. The Cinnamon Biscuits Act 2023 was accordingly passed on 9 February the following year, officially adopting cinnamon biscuits as "the national Christmas sweet" and encouraging all local authorities to promote and distribute them (or an alternative sweet adopted by that specific town council) at Christmas events.

New Year

New Year's Day - 1 January (the Eighth Day of Christmas) - marks the start of the civil year. As with Christmas (see above), New Year's Day was designated an Austenasian public holiday by Act 10 in 2008 and by the Public Holidays Act in 2014. The holiday is usually observed with people staying awake the previous night, New Year's Eve, in order to celebrate the start of the new year at midnight, and is often used as an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to make resolutions for the year ahead.

In Austenasia, since 2011, New Year's Day has been the day on which the Consuls for that year take office. Furthermore, under the Austenasian Constitution of 2008, it was also the day on which elections would take place, both among the population for Representatives (yearly) and the Prime Minister (to take place every three years, but only occurred in 2009), and also among the legislature (then known as "the Cabinet") to elect government ministers.

No special religious significance is usually attached to 1 January by virtue of it being the first day of the year. However, it is the date of the Feast of the Circumcision in Orthodoxy and Anglicanism, the Solemnity of Mary in Roman Catholicism, and the feast day of Saint Basil the Great in Orthodoxy.

Wrythe and the Imperial Family

The 2017 walk stops by the Kingsmere pond on the Common.

In previous years, the Imperial Family would usually see in the New Year at midnight while visiting[5] friends or family. However, recent years - New Year's Eve 2020 onwards - have seen them stay in Wrythe with no visitors.

The main New Year event for the Imperial Family is the annual New Year's Day walk on Wimbledon Common. This is a tradition that was begun by the local Ramblers group of Raynes Park, by 1986 at the very latest (which is when Imperial Family members begun to take part). The group of walkers assembles at Wimbledon Windmill, usually at about 10 a.m., and proceeds to walk two circular routes around different parts of the Common,[6] both starting and ending at the Windmill, with a stop for refreshments at the Windmill's café halfway through.

2014 was the last year that members of Raynes Park Ramblers took part in the annual walk, due to age or having moved away. From 2015 onwards, the walk was continued by the Imperial Family and Boxalls. From 2020, an attempt has been made to expand participation in the annual walk to non-family members, with members of Carshalton Methodist having taken part in the 2020 walk onwards.[7]

From 2008 onwards,[8] the Imperial Family and Boxalls have gone out for lunch together at a restaurant - usually one of two local Harvesters - following the walk. The 2013 and 2017 walks were designated expeditions of the Imperial Geographical Society.

Should New Year's Day fall on a Sunday, the Wimbledon Common walk is postponed to 2 January in order to allow for church attendance. This took place in 1989, 1995, 2006, 2012, 2017, and 2023, and will next take place in 2034.

New Pontunia

In New Pontunia, New Year's Eve is celebrated with a fireworks display.


Liturgical vessels ready for the Blessing of Water, at a Theophany service by the River Dee attended by Emperor Jonathan I and Princess Hannah on Theophany 2019.

Epiphany, or Theophany - 6 January - is a holiday celebrating the revelation of God incarnate in Christ, and comes at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (see above). It is immediately preceded by 5 January, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, which is also known as Twelfth Night; this is the standard date on which tradition dictates that Christmas decorations should be taken down. In Western Christianity, 6 January is known as Epiphany, and principally commemorates the visit of the Magi, whereas in Eastern Christianity, it is known as Theophany, and commemorates the Baptism of Christ.

The festival was first given an official status on 14 January 2014, when the Public Holidays Act designated it as an optional public holiday. It was then upgraded to a nationally recognised public holiday upon Austenasia becoming an officially Christian country on 21 June 2017, under Paragraph 6 of the State Religion Act 2017. Both laws designate the day simply as "Epiphany or Theophany"; this has been interpreted as allowing each individual authority to refer to the holiday by the name most fitting in the respective circumstances.

Wrythe and Imperial Family

From 2013 onwards, Jonathan I has attended an Orthodox liturgy on Theophany, followed by the Blessing of Waters; he was accompanied by Princess Hannah in 2018 and 2019. Other Imperial Family members celebrate Epiphany at Carshalton Methodist, which tends to observe the occasion with a service on the nearest Sunday rather than the 6th itself.

New Pontunia

In New Pontunia, Epiphany is celebrated not only as the end of Christmastime, but also as the start of Mardi Gras.

Other holidays

Wilson Family

An unofficial and unnamed celebration occurs seven days before Christmas among members of the Wilson family. The celebration is to mark collective dates of the marriage anniversary of Jonathan and Nicole Wilson (15 December) and the birthdays of Jonathan Wilson (1 December), Noelle Wilson (28 December), and Lord William Wilson (31 December). The celebration traditionally includes a three layered cake or a Bundt cake baked with three individual batters (usually Red Velvet, Chocolate, and Banana flavours), as well as watching either White Christmas or Fiddler on the Roof.


The region of Cenomannica located in the US State of Maine celebrates many Canadian holidays as well as holidays celebrated within the Culture of Misberia, which the governor Otto Gillespie Birch is one of the creators of. The region celebrates the end of the month of Pebon in the Songo Calendar on the 21st of December where reflection and celebrations over what has been accomplished in the previous month. These celebrations and reflections usually are group dinners or meetups of citizens. Cenomannica also celebrates Boxing Day, a Commonwealth Realm holiday, akin to that of Christmas, which is also celebrated as a holiday within the region. Due to the small nature of the region of one citizen, many holidays and celebrations are held in tandem with citizens from the Confederation of the Northern Coast and members of the House of Betula-Andros.


Both the Austenasian Crown Dependancy of New Pontunia and the independent Kingdom of Pontunia celebrate many Holidays from late November to early January. Thanksgiving is celebrated, with the House of Perdomo celebrating with a typical Thanksgiving lunch. St. Andrew's feast day is celebrated on 30 November, to honor the patron saint of Pontunia, and Pontunia Day, commemorating the foundation of Pontunia, is on 12 January.


  1. The passage of the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 repealed most previously passed laws, with the provisions of Act 10 eventually replaced with those of the Public Holidays Act 2014; this meant that technically, Christmas Day and Boxing Day were not legally public holidays in Austenasia from 2011-2013, although they were celebrated and observed as normal.
  2. Dame Bette's last Christmas - 2011 - was an exception in this regard. Instead of Christmas Eve, she was visited on Christmas Day morning instead, by the then Sir Terry and Crown Prince Jonathan (the then Lady Margaret and Princess Caroline attended the morning church service as usual).
  3. Ordinarily his usual parish, Ss. Constantine and Helen (Upper Norwood), although he attended the church of St. Nectarios (Battersea) for Christmas Eve 2020 due to the former not holding the service that year. The Emperor was unable to attend a Royal Hours service in 2022, due to spending Christmas in Portsmouth with his newly married consort Empress Hannah.
  4. Small presents such as packets of sweets, wrapped up and placed on the Christmas tree so as to sometimes be mistaken for decorations.
  5. Or, rarely, hosting, although the last time this happened was the Empire's first New Year's Eve while independent in December 2008.
  6. For the purposes of the annual walk, "Wimbledon Common" also includes the immediately adjoining section of Putney Heath, south of the A3 road. Although Putney Heath is officially distinct from Wimbledon Common proper, the lack of a boundary results in the A3 usually being considered the border between what is and is not included within "Wimbledon Common" in a more inclusive sense. However, the annual walk does occasionally go on routes which extend over the customary boundaries of the Common: the walkers visited Putney Heath north of the A3 in 2012 and 2014, and the adjoining Cannizaro Park in 2021.
  7. With the exception of the 2021 walk, which was a scaled-down family-only outing due to coronavirus restrictions.
  8. Not including 2021, as a result of restrictions in place due to coronavirus.