Closed Challenges

I'm A Believer!

Challenge Details

Whilst leafing through the index of my brand-new copy of Unfinished Tales (What? Reading the index is almost as much fun as reading the book itself…), I came across 3 Númenorean holidays: Eruhantalë ("Thanksgiving to Eru"; autumn feast), Erukyermë ("Prayer to Eru"; spring feast), and Erulaitalë ("Praise of Eru"; midsummer feast).

This set me to thinking. All religions celebrate their faith in different ways, and with different special days. Christianity has Christmas and Easter, Judaism has Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah, and Islam has Ramadan.

How do the cultures of Middle-earth celebrate their faiths?

Before it darkened, Númenor obviously revered Eru Ilúvatar with festivals and feasts through the year. How did the Elves celebrate their faith in the Valar and Eru? Did the Dwarves pray to Aulë? How about the race of Men? Did Gondor have special days for religion (the seventh day of their week is named Valanya: "Powers-day")? Rohan revered Oromë, calling him Béma: did they devote a day of the year to him?

And what about those myriad others? Did the Haradrim and Easterlings even believe in Eru and the Valar, or did they pray to their own gods? What about the Variags of Khand?

And here's a twist. To illustrate, I quote Sphinx's wonderful story Eloquent Remembrance:

"The Valar left us to our devices long ago. In our hope that they would remember, that they would acknowledge the existence of those other than their precious exiles – we were failed. Four Ages of that land did I see, many war trumpets and gleaming swords and rivers of blood, but only once did they come. Only once did they step from their mighty thrones to sink the world as we knew it in water and flame." (snip)

"The Valar love all of Ilúvatar's children, Celeborn," Finarfin said gently, attempting to calm the troubled air.

"Tell that to the screams of Doriath as it crumbled, or to the bodies that lay lifeless in Sirion. Tell it to Hithlum besieged and Gondolin burning. Tell it to Nargothrond overthrown and Balar overrun. Tell those who lay dying that the Valar heard their cries and still loved them. Tell Eluchíl, Eärendil and the line of the Halfelven that their doom was in their choice. Sing of the glory of the Valar, lord! Sing of their patience and mercy as they watched a land drown in the waves of the sea, glory lost and honor forgotten. Praise their passivity, and the love that they had for the children they would not save!"

How did the Sindar feel about the Valar staying in safety in Aman while they fought Morgoth's forces? What about the spirits of the Faithful who perished in the Fall of Numenor (not all of them could have been saved in the ships from Romenna)?

Were there some people who were angry at their god(s)? Were other Elves angry at what they saw as inaction? Did some actually denounce their god(s)? And (if they were Elves who reached Valinor), how did the gods themselves react to such behavior? It doesn't even have to be an organized religion: just anyone, anywhere celebrating (or denouncing) their faith and/or god(s).

Any length, genre, format: your pick. So here are some prompts to write on. (Simply swearing by a god doesn't count.)

*A festival celebrating a higher power.
*Someone denouncing a higher power.
*Someone praying.
*Someone interacting with a higher power (i.e., the Elves in pre-strife Valinor).
*A written prayer (comparable to the Lord's Prayer).

Entries with Stories

The following authors have entered a story in the Challenge.

Aeneid - Adraefan
Adult Audience
Last Updated: 20 Oct 05
AU. One less arrow at Amon Hen and things go much differently for beloved good-bad son of Gondor. A veritable odyssey for Boromir ensues, complete with manipulative Valar, exiled elves, Radagast the Brown, and a helpful chorus. Action, adventure, angst, humor. Mixed writing styles (prose and poetry), with a Greco-Roman feel. Rated for violence and adult themes. A warning to the squeamish. 2005 MEFA Award Winner: 1st place, Alternative Universe category
elanor of aquitania - Beregond's Prayer standing on watch
General Audience
Last Updated: 18 Nov 04
Poem on Beregond, Bergil, and ‘Courage under fire’ including an essay on Tolkien's view on Middle Earth faith.
This poem was written after a HA-discussion with Dwimordene about ‘Courage under Fire’ with respect to Aristotle’s notion of a 'fine death in war'. I thank Dwimordene for the permission to use in the notes some of her words.
As a prayer it is entered into the HASA challenge I'm a believer
Gwynnyd - Musings on a Dark Mythology
General Audience
Last Updated: 01 Nov 04
I have wanted to know for some time just what it is that the emissaries of Sauron tell people that is so attractive. Here is my first take on the subject. Remember this does not have to be "true" just believable. I know it contradicts the Tolkien mythos in most places. I also assume that the late Third Age Men this is destined to be told to live away from the elves or the Númenorean kingdoms and would not know the 'real' story of the creation.


The following authors have entered a placeholder in the Challenge.

Entry Date: 03 Dec 04
Entry Date: 26 Feb 05
Entry Date: 03 Mar 05
Entry Date: 13 Sep 04

In Challenges

Challenge Info

Open Date: September 09, 2004

Closed: March 09, 2005

Challenge Topic: Faiths/Myths

Entries: 7

Originator: Meril

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