Also Known As:
Yule, Terran New Years
Recognized across Sol. and the only holidays held on the old Terran calendar. Unification Day is held on January 1, Christmas on December 25. Unification Day is celebrated in more formal spaces, educational campuses, MarsCo offices, and other institutions, otherwise it gets a distant nod.
Symbolically, Unification Day marks the passing of the torch of civilization from human to vector. It is recognized (for some, celebrated) on the anniversary of the beginning of nuclear war on Terra, AE-6. For those vectors that still feel a connection to ancient Terra, this memorial is a moment of reflection on the vector’s ancestors, of the cultural legacy lost in Terra’s final days. For forward-looking vectors, Unification Day marks how far their society has come, technologically and culturally, since vectors were cut free from their parents’ home planet.
Either way, Unification Day marks a tick on the great clock of Sol. With four competing calendars, the Terran annum is still regarded as the clock to measure the history of vectorkind by, and the history of the solar system itself.
Christmas was one of the few holidays to make the transition from Earth to Mars. The original Mars research colonies celebrated the holiday to stay connected to their homeworld and their culture, and in some cases faiths. They passed on the less spiritual aspects of the holiday to the young first generation vectors, leaving out the whole “Birth of Jesus” narrative and the centuries of cultural baggage. Christmas, they said, was a time of togetherness, fellowship, and exchanging presents.
Some years later, a wave of refugees came in with the hemivector resettlement program, and not all of those settlers were as keen on sanitizing Terra’s celebrations. But by that time the new story had stuck, and the Vectors weren’t keen on letting go of their friendly celebration of community and consumption. Still, it’s possible to find the occasional pockets of vectors that celebrate the old, old religion…funny little traditions have a way of settling around this holiday like cobwebs turned into tinsel.
As a pair, these two holidays have come to represent a nostalgic nod to a happy past, and the reality of the current “now,” a passing of the guard. It’s common to raise a toast to ancestors long gone at Christmas, and occasional notes of myth drift in from the old Terran celebrations of light and winter…freely interpreted over 700 years, of course. A common one is a model Terran home with toy humans and animals living together, sometimes made from cookies, with little gifts and tokens and treats left for the people that came before. Certain festival foods and goods (spiced wines, gingerbreads, exotic fruits…) tend to be sold by the local shops only around the week of Christmas, a reminder of a season on another planet. Christmas itself staggers around the Martian calendar almost at random, an observation once every 365 days on a 688-day cycle.
Christmas often is associated with humanity at its best, the nurturing figures that selflessly created the Vector race. Unification Day is a bit darker, more about passing the torch, a recognition that good or bad, the human race has faded another year into the darkness.
Unification Day was suggested by Sev in 2017, and he outlined Christmas in Sol in a developer’s chat roughly 12/20/19. The sections “Unification Day” and “Christmas” are mostly paraphrased from his comments. “Together” section is some free interpretation. Semi-canon information.