Neopia's Fill-in-the-blank News Source Circulation: 196,905,205 Issue: 951 | 24th day of Celebrating, Y23
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The Unique Month of Celebrating


by akezis

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There are few things quite as pleasant as the smell of freshly baked cookies that just came out of the oven. The only other aroma that can compete with it, is that of pastries being prepared during the best time of the year: the Month of Celebrating. Despite the cold weather and the snow that indicates that winter is here and in full force, there's a special warmth added to the atmosphere, because of all the good feelings that accompany the making of these snacks. The process of putting together in a bowl eggs, sugar, butter and other ingredients, mixing them and scooping the batter into a baking sheet to be taken to the oven becomes a mandatory task at this time of the year. Though that word might not be the best to reflect the joy that this produces in those who partake of it. Some Neopians use the same recipes that their parents or even the parents of them had been using for years as a tradition, while others decide to experiment and let their imagination choose the proportions of each ingredient, or the adding or removing of certain elements to create combinations that bring brand new flavours to the mouths of those who try those cookies, with the simple goal of offering their friends and family a special snack. Even those who may not enjoy cooking or baking that much might find themselves wanting to give it a try because everyone else is doing it. Puddings, cakes and pies of all kinds, shapes and sizes are prepared as well during the cold season, and it's the best time of the year for bakeries all over Neopia.

     Around a million different ways to decorate a tree at home exist, you could probably write a whole book about it alone, but a few details are common to most of them: strings of lights, shiny, round ornaments, mostly red, green and white-coloured, tiny plastic snowmen and equally small glitter-showered figurines, all hanging around the branches of a big green tree with a huge star at the top, like the single cherry on top of a bowl full of ice cream. Less conventional options might include themed decorations in a steampunk, gothic or halloween-esque style on a pure white or black plastic tree. Of course, Neopians from Moltara, Darigan Citadel and Haunted Woods are most prone to choosing these, but you could also find examples of these kinds of trees in some of the homes in Faerieland, Krawk Island and Altador. Just like the making of cookies and other desserts, adorning a tree for the Day of Giving is a very important tradition to most Neopians. It's a good excuse to redecorate one's home too, since it's such a special occasion to celebrate when the end of yet another year is nigh. Some may even go the extra mile and decorate the outside of their houses and their gardens with the brightest and most ostentatious ornaments and sculptures that will leave their neighbours stunned at such a sight.

     Just like its name implies, the 25th day of this month is ideal for giving gifts to those you care about. Whether it's expensive or not, store-bought or handcrafted, big or small, gifts aplenty are exchanged between friends and relatives every year. The most important aspect of it, no matter the price or the size of the object, is always the thought involved, the desire to brighten someone’s day with it. Some gifts aren't even physical but more abstract, like a poem or a song, but they can be equally wonderful. Something that everyone can agree on, regardless of which part of this planet (or its surroundings, like Kreludor) they're from, is that giving is the best. Receiving a gift from someone you're fond of is always nice, there's no denying it, but it can't be compared to the sheer joy of being the one who hands out the gift to the other person. This is so much of an universal truth that even Dr. Sloth, a creature who definitely is not famous for being generous or caring towards others, gives a huge gift to all of Neopia at this time of the year: no invasions, no attacks, no secret plans to conquer the world, etc. And he always keeps his promise! Jhudora, the meanest of faeries under Queen Fyora's reign, is seen being kind to others during this month! Well, to be honest, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but she does seem to behave better and restrain herself from turning innocent Neopians into mortogs with her magic. The festive spirits are strong in all the inhabitants of this world, regardless of their personality and peace all over the land (and below) is an absolute reality at this time of the year.

     Terror Mountain always takes the first place to the most thrilled about the arrival of the month of Celebrating, and for good reason. They keep a festive lifestyle all year long, which is fitting for the kind of place they live in, but during these specific 31 days, it is extra jolly. The snow and chilly atmosphere are nothing in comparison to the warmth in all their hearts combined: that's what helps them live so comfortably while in a land where most bodies of water are completely frozen. Neopians who live far away, where the weather isn't so extreme, find it hard to stay there for long periods of time without lots of layers of clothing, mittens, hats, scarves and wool socks, but when the month of Celebrating starts, many are inspired to get all those clothes out of their closets and visit Terror Mountain, if only for a few days or a week. Nothing brings more joy to those who already live there than receiving so many adventurous tourists and sharing those things that they're used to, with them. It is then that their economy thrives, because the stores get full of new customers who buy lots of souvenirs, both for themselves and for their loved ones. Some even have to buy more clothes to shield their bodies from the cold wind because they underestimated how low the temperature could get there! Happy Valley is the first place that newcomers visit, and the warm welcome they receive there is a big reason why they decide to stay.

     It feels like just yesterday we were marvelled about how Halloween helped Neopians of all ages from all over the world to get together and have fun, forget their problems and their differences. But the celebration spirit is maybe ten times stronger when the Day of Giving approaches, so much so that even those who hosted the events and activities for October partake in the fun that Terror Mountain can offer. Last year, after the success that was Halloween, the same Haunted Woods team that showed their more charitable side when funding most of the prizes given out to winners of the contests held in their homeland, decided to travel to the north pole of Neopia to meet the land where not only this festivity was originated, but also where Boris were first seen. It was hard to believe that the very same players that look so menacing and intimidating in the field when facing their opponents during yooyuball matches could be just regular tourists in a snowy mountain. Believe it or not, all five of them, Krell Vitor, Zo Junior, "Brains" Mortigan, Crade Talvos and Fanetti set foot on Happy Valley and strolled through it, sightseeing and doing just like every other tourist. The goalie underestimated how cold -40°C really was, so he had to hurriedly visit a store that could offer him more suitable clothes. On the other hand, Mortigan couldn't tell the difference between the weather here and back at home, so he was just fine the way he was. The perks of being a zombie were finally revealing themselves and his teammates couldn't help but chuckle at this situation.

     The players ran into some fans that day, because even when wearing two sweaters, snow boots, long scarves, earmuffs and fuzzy hats, they were easy to recognize, especially for those who follow their yearly Altador Cup participation. Namely, a royal girl Zafara that has been a huge fan of their captain's leadership for many years, immediately noticed their presence and rushed clumsily to where they were admiring the many mouth-watering cookies and cakes behind the window of a bakery, and asked the whole team for their signatures and a photo with Krell. They didn't say no to any admirers that day and still had plenty of time to give each attraction of this place a shot. Zo Junior even dared to enter the Snowager's lair and snatched a small piece of his treasure: a fluffy plushie that he'll surely cherish forever. The rest of them decided to test their luck some other day and chose to buy souvenirs from the Ice Crystal Shop instead. Everyone knows that the Snowager hibernates during this month, but still, most tourists are super cautious out of fear of that imposing ice-shooting beast. The team's top scorer proved his courage that day not only when he entered that cave, but also when he proposed visiting Terror Mountain's Peak: a region that not many dare to go to due to its much harsher conditions that include constant snowstorms and lower oxygen in the air (not to mention, a rather copious amount of snowbeasts wandering around). After much deliberation, he convinced them to venture there and they did, getting to know things that would have remained a mystery to them, such as Tarla's Mystery Shop and the Igloo Garage Sale. Four wonderful days they spent in this land, just as they had planned, completely engulfed in jolly spirit, but leaving became a mentally laborious task.

     When the time to go home comes, most tourists try to find excuses to stay for a bit longer. This was precisely the case for these Neopets from the Haunted Woods. Terror Mountain’s inhabitants don’t mind them and are always happy to help others find a place to stay for the night, sometimes offering their own homes as shelter for these strangers until they can travel back to their own homes. It is at times like these that we can witness kindness and generosity at their best, when Neopians are so willing to lend a hand to others who they hadn’t seen before, without expecting anything in exchange. Indeed, this is the best time of the year and the most beautiful of holidays, worthy of remembering it all year long.

     The End.

 
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