Pan-Veletan Culture (or more simply but less accurately Veletan Culture) is the collection of cultural characterists shared by all the schools of Veleta. Veletans have a number of common cultural aspects which are common to all schools of Veleta and helps to bind the entirety of The Order together into a single cohesive movement. These are varied and often the details of these cultural aspects, that is the fine details, will differ from school to school. However, the large scale features are Pan-Veletan and thus are recognised by each of the schools.
These are those traits which partially act to define a particular organisation as a school of Veleta. However it may be the case that a given institution has these but which does not meet the other qualifying marks of Veletan School, such as not having the basic beliefs.
These basic markers include the Veletan Calendar, Pan-Veletan holidays and various other cultural set ups which have been determined by the Order to be defining features of Veleta. While organisations which do not meet these are not Veletan, they may well be considered Veletan-compatible so long as they do not directly contradict any of the cultural aspects or beliefs of Veleta.
The Veletan Calendar is a example of a calendar with equal length months, however to do this it has a five days period at then end of each year which does not belong to any month, which expands to six days in leap years. The remaining three-hundred and sixty days are then divided equally between eight months of forty-five days each. These months are then divided into five weeks which consist of nine days.
The excess days, which constitute a period in Veleta for studying the Codicem, for introspection and for preparing for new years festivities, come directly before the new year, which occurs on the twenty-first of June in the Gregorian Calendar. Thus, the scheduling of months within the Veletan calendar, whose months do not yet have names, is as follows:
- First Month lasts from June 21 to August 4
- Second Month lasts from August 5 to September 17
- Third Month lasts from September 18 to November 1
- Fourth Month lasts from November 2 to December 16
- Fifth Month lasts from December 17 to January 30
- Sixth Month lasts from January 31 to March 16 (March 15 leap years)
- Seventh Month lasts from March 17 to May 1 (March 17 to April 30th leap years)
- Eighth Month lasts from May 2 to June 15 (May 1 to June 14 leap years)
- Additional days from June 16 to June 20 (June 15 to June 20 leap years)
This calendar is a key part of Veleta's cultural aspects. It differentiates Veletan chronology from Gregorian and other chronology, and allows for a shared identity among Veletans by setting yet another small piece of their lifestyle apart in contrast to the rest of society, micronational or macronational.
Veletans have nine holidays a year. These come under three subsets; celebrations of achievements in the sciences, celebrations of historic events and celebrations which relation directly to The Order and Veleta itself. For each of these events, members of entheogenic schools assign an entheogen to be given special focus on the day in question, and the assigned entheogens shown here are for the current entheogenic schools. Names given to holidays here are working titles, and are in english, as a result of the unfinished state of Veletan at the time of the authoring of this article.
The Two Day Feast
The Two Day Feast, otherwise known as The Darwin-Einstein Feast, which is celebrated across the 24th and 25 November in the Gregorian calendar, celebrates two great achievements of modern science. The first day of celebrations commemorates the publishing of the revolutionary biology text, the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. This book collected Darwin's ideas on evolution by random mutation and natural selection, making it arguably one of the most important books of all time.
The celebrations on November 25 are in honour of the publishing of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, arguably one of the most important discoveries ever made, which changed the way physicists viewed space, time, mass, energy and gravity forever, and which has had implications for a myriad of modern day technologies.
The two days feature feasting, the letting off of small quantities of fireworks (which may either be commercial or homemade) and the construction of bonfires by schools, which become focal points for discussion sessions. These discussion sessions most often center around the theories at hand. This means discussion of the evolution of life, of the evolution of the Universe and its nature and behavior on the large scale, and often cosmology in general, talks often involving the marvels of modern cosmology and the mysteries which still about within our current understanding.
Quantum Contemplation Day
Quantum Contemplation Day, also known as The Day of Duality, is celebrated October 19, and falls on the day Max Planck first presented his paper which proposed his law of black body radiation, kicking off the first quantum revolution and beginning the theory we now know as quantum mechanics, changing the face of physics in the process. This theory is important to Veletans as one of its features, wave-particle duality, is used analogously to try to communicate the idea that what seems paradoxical (in this example, something being both a wave and a particle) may actually simply be a kind of duality, wherein how you observe something changes what you observe. This celebration features Veletans taking tea, usually green tea or lapsang souchong, in the traditional Veletan manner, (see Tea Culture). This is a time for relaxation, discussion and contemplation of the idea of duality. Most often this is the time where dualities and supposed paradoxes in Veleta are discussed. Those taking part in the discussion either advance the case that the observed paradox is a duality, that meaning that it is not a contradiction but only an apparent contradiction, or that it is a true contradiction, meaning that it must be resolved one way or the other in order to 'resolve' it.
Nuclear Age Commemoration Day
Nuclear Age Commemoration Day or more informally Criticality Day, is celebrated on December 2, and celebrates the day Chicago-1, the world's first nuclear reactor, attained criticality and thus began the world's first sustainable, power generating nuclear chain reaction. This is a day both of celebration and of mourning, for very different reasons.
The day is celebrated as an event which turned the course of history. Nuclear power is an incredibly efficient way to generate energy without the deadly emissions of fossil fuels, though with it's own dangers. It was a great achievement, which took the work of many great minds working many hours to complete, and which stands as a testament to the ability of human beings to cooperate, to innovate and to ultimately change the world.
However, this is also the day which signaled the beginning of much despair for the world. Chicago-1's success lead to the creation of the X-10 reactor, which would go on to produce the plutonium needed to create the bomb which destroyed Nagasaki and kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of innocent people. It is this second, far less desirable outcome, which is mourned on this day.
The day gives perfect time for the contemplation of issues of intention as opposed to outcome, to discussing ideas about the proper usage of new knowledge and to considering the implications for the responsibilities born by those who uncover new and dangerous knowledge. During this contemplative and often rather morose period of solemnity in reflection upon the unfortunate twisting of new technology for destruction, tea is often taken, often a green tea or a Ceylon. Veletans consider and discuss to what extent those who created the capability for this destruction bear responsibility for it utilisation, and consider the implications of such lessons in their own lives.
Later on, spirits are lightened with drinks of mead or of wine, or any other alcoholic beverage that might be to hand, the accomplishments of the past eight months are discussed, music is played, and outdoors fires may be lit to symbolise the light and heat of the nuclear reaction. The Veletans may well gather around, and offer stories of optimism. The night is ended with a taking a vow to always, at the very least, try to do the best with the capabilities available and try to harness great forces (be they physical, intellectual or emotional) for creation, not destruction.
Lunar Landing Festival
The Lunar Landing Festival or more simply Moonlanding is a grand and auspicious celebration of the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. The impact of man landing on the moon is one of the greatest mankind has ever experienced. The process itself is a testament to mankind's ability to succeed at near anything when it sets its mind to it. Celebrated on July 20, this holiday is a decidedly isolated one, lacking the social aspects of the previous festivals. This is symbolic of the isolation experienced by those first great explorers.
This holiday is celebrated individually or in pairs, but with great joy, as Veletans set out to spend the evening under the stars, to marvel at the night sky and to contemplate how giant a leap, but equally how small a step, this event was for mankind. Simultaneously, it was a feat of incredible magnitude, with man taking his first steps on a distant cosmic shore, and yet only a first shuffle into space, to our nearest heavenly neighbor.
The holiday is also commemorated with outdoor cooking, often barbeque or campfire. It is a time to be amongst nature, and a time for introspection. It serves to give the Veletan perspective on their place in universe, and to allow them to absorb the isolation and examine themselves. It is also an opportune occasion to consider mankind's future in the universe, and to marvel out our simultaneous massiveness and tininess.
Da Vinci Day
Da Vinci Day or Leonardo Day is a day set aside for the commemoration of Leonardo da Vinci, and to a lesser extend other great Veletan icons such as Nikola Tesla. Celebrated on April 15 (April 14 for Gregorian calendar leap years), it is a time to broaden horizons, to appreciate the great breadth of the achievements of mankind, and to stand in awe of some of histories greatest minds. This day is also a day which should provoke the Veletan to try something new, to re-examine established notions and ultimately to attempt to become a little closer to the "Renaissance man" ideal.
This day is a tea festival, and the tea of choice is either green tea or Darjeeling. Veletans also abstain from the consumption of meat on this day, emulating both Leonardo and Nikola, as a tribute of respect to both. The works of Da Vinci being readily available, Veletans are encouraged to read what they can of his notebooks, the same applying to Tesla, whose notes are now easily and freely available. This is in the hope that perhaps a little of the genius of either man might be absorbed into the mind of the reader.
On this day also, Veletans are encouraged to create artistic pieces for their own enjoyment and for creating some form of iconographic tradition within Veleta that might enrich the experience of all members. It is also hoped such activities might broaden the horizons of Veletans, and give them cause to reflect on the world in a manner different from usual.
Foundation Day is the day that the creation of Veleta is celebrated, on May 4. While this is not the actual state of foundation of Veleta, or The Order, it does mark the first instance of The Order in modern form. This is also the first definite date which is now recorded within Veleta, as all previous development remained undated. This has thus become the accepted date for Foundation Day.
Foundation Day is a day that should atleast in part have time set aside for the critical analysis and in depth study of the Codicem. It should serve as not only a refresher course, but a chance to familiarise one's self with any new changes, alterations or addendums which may have been added in recent revisions.
It is also a day for practicing one's physical disciplines, and provides the opportunity for confident and proficient members of combative schools to either show their merit in katas, or to engage in duels if they find themselves lucky enough to find a fellow Veletan within dueling range.
Schools should meet collectively on this day, as a whole, in order to consult within the school before the attendance, of those allowed, at the full session meeting of all school leaders and elder members of The Order. It serves to gain consensus on what the major issues The Order faces and how best to resolve them.
New Years Day
New Years Day is the day the Veletan calendar changes from one year to the next. It comes about on the summer solstice most years, over June 20 and June 21. It is a celebration of the previous years successes, and a dissolution of the errors of the previous year. This release is often symbolically portrayed by the creation of sky lanterns by each and every Veletan. They have four panels, one for each of the following: hopes for the next year, that is desires for the existence of others; goals for the next year, those being desires for one's own existence; absolutions of peoples who have acted against you; self-absolution, forgiving yourself for self-transgressions. These are all written out in calligraphic Veletan, and then added to the frame. This serves to help absolve issues and anguish, and to clarify the aims of the next year. These are let off into the night, preferably at the darkest part of the night. Fireworks are also let off during the night, in displays to express ideas a concepts, through the interpretive system known in English as pyrography. People arrange these fireworks according the the ideas they wish to put across, and displays are designed to be abstract and interpretable in many ways to many people. This idea allows for Veletans to discuss their interpretations, and to utilise this central expression, the display, to bind together their otherwise outwardly disparate experiences. In this way, the experience ignites discussion and binding and communal sentiments.
Tea, and the culture that surrounds it, is a very strong part of Veletan culture. It is an integral part of the social structure of schools, a key piece of Veletan practice and one of the most pronounced cultural identifiers with Veleta. It is subject to a structured ranking, as to the teas drunk by specified ranks, and the teas to be drunk in pan-Veletan holidays. Taking of tea in Veleta is a contemplative and social activity, which serves to allow school members to interact in a less formal manner than other possible opportunities.