06 Sep 04 5:05 PM
**Discussion of religion. No offense meant to anyone. My most sincere apologies if I spell anything wrong.**
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.”
“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 interacting with a higher power (i.e., the Elves in pre-strife Valinor).
*A written prayer (comparable to the Lord's Prayer).