Celebrate Your Way Around Neopia
Ahh, the holiday season in Neopia… Holly branches, hot borovan, icicles glimmering in the low winter sun, asparag- I mean, mistletoe - hanging from the doorframes to catch you by surprise… Who can resist the joy found in the cold snow and the warm fireplace? Or cuddling with the fuzziest Vandagyre you know? We build life-size snowmen and dominate a friendly neighborhood snowball fight, we go shopping for scarves and coats and hats to find a whole new winter wonderland wardrobe… it’s inevitable. It’s the norm.
But in fact, there are certain individuals who CAN resist these ubiquitous seasonal temptations. Or, at least, they have zero experience with them. We shape our idea of “the holidays” based on Terror Mountain’s impressive advertising power. But in reality...
Neopia is, in fact, a globe. Who knew?!
In the Month of Celebrating, then, cold weather and snow flurries don’t spread to every region. The southern hemisphere experiences their hottest temperatures of the year in Celebrating, and the island nations stay warm and sunny year-round thanks to oceans’ mitigating effects on temperature. So how do they spend the month of Celebrating? What are their traditions?
Here I’ll give you a run-down of the holiday season in Neopia’s more southern states.
Holidays in The Lost Desert
The desert dwellers have an easily replacement for snow. Instead of snowmen, they construct Sandmen, sacrificing the precious few drops of water at their disposal to dampen the sand just enough for it to stick together. With Tchea Fruit for eyes and Cheops Plant fronds for noses, Sandmen have a unique charm (and smell rather fresh, thanks to all the Lost Desert fruit!) Unfortunately, these sandmen have short lifespans, as the water dries and they blow away after a while.
In the month of Celebrating, there is an annual Sandman competition, where Sandmen pop up like a plague across the entire desert. Teams spend weeks preparing the design of their sandman only to construct it and watch it fall apart in the span of a few hours. The judges, based in Sakhmet City, are hard-pressed to arrive in time to all of the designs before they disintegrate. For that reason, Eyries and other flying Neopets have become a holiday symbol as well, zooming the judges through the sky so they can see all the sandman entries.
Holidays in Mystery and Krawk Islands
These island nations have very few temperature and weather changes throughout the year. So their traditions do not depend on snow and snuggles. It’s true that the islanders have adapted some of the commercially popular traditions: instead of holly wreaths and decorated pine trees, they use palm fronds and festively paint coconuts.
However, they have put their own spin on the holiday celebrations as well. In Mystery Island, as family spirit and gift-giving are a year-round traditions, the holidays are seen as a time for travel. They’ll decorate a bit, as a homage to the generally accepted holiday spirit, but overall, the population of the island ditches their isolated home en masse in order to see the world and expand their horizons. Basically, their whole year is “celebrating.” So in the actual month of Celebrating, they try to get out of their comfort zone.
In Krawk Island, on the other hand, gifts and generosity are not known qualities of pirates. But even they can’t resist the idea of doing something “good” during the month of Celebrating. Their idea of “good” is relative: harmless practical jokes, as opposed to real pillaging. If you go to Krawk Island during Celebrating, be on your toes. You don’t know who’s going to set you a trip wire or serve you dung brownies.
Holidays in The Haunted Woods
Most people doesn’t realize that climatically, the Haunted Woods - while suffering from an unpalatable spookiness and an overabundance of cobwebs - enjoys a thoroughly tropical climate thanks to its equatorial location. Perhaps for the lack of snow and chilly breezes, perhaps for the fact that the land is still reeling from the massive celebrations of the 31st of Collecting (colloquially known as Halloween), the Haunted Woods passes over the winter holiday season as if it didn’t exist.
The personal opinion of this author is that they skip the winter holidays due to pure exhaustion. They pour all their energy into tricks and pranks and scaring passerby during the buildup to Halloween that they need quite a few months to recover.
Holidays in Faerieland
Until recently, Faerieland remained weather-free, protected by faerie magic and the thinner atmosphere of its cloud-based home. However, now that Faerieland has been grounded, they have had to adapt to fierce seasonal changes in temperature and precipitation that they have never experienced before.
They have done so with aplomb. In fact, I would argue that nowadays, Faerieland might just be the best place to visit to truly experience holiday cheer, decorations, and spirit. Never before have they had so many solid structures (rocks, trees, etc.) upon which to hang garlands and mistletoe and ornaments and holly. You basically can’t even see the structures of the buildings and the cliffs thanks to the piles and piles of holiday-ness. The faeries themselves will often shed their classic, elegant garb and adopt the fluffy coats typical of Terror Mountaineers (both to celebrate, and because their bodies are so small and unaccustomed to such frigid winter temperatures).
The takeaway here: if Terror Mountain is the birthplace of the holiday spirit, today’s Faerieland is holiday spirit in the prime of its life. Give it a try for your next holiday vacations: you’ll be pleasantly surprised (if you like excessive faerie lights and caroling, of course!)
Other regions of Neopia have their own traditions for the holiday season - this is by no means a comprehensive list. But at least now you have a bit more of an idea of how life might be this time of the year in various regions around the world. This year, as you idolize the snow and the gifts and the cheer, keep in mind that in some places, holidays will mean exactly the opposite!