Originally a day to celebrate the settlement of Etoile by early colonists, National Day has since been styled by Recluse as a military holiday, to praise the glory of his might and the might of the Rogue Isles.
National Day is always celebrated on the last Saturday in June. Officially this date was chosen because it is during the season of Etoile’s nicest weather. Conspiracy theories abound, however, that the Saturday date was chosen in order to ensure most businesses wouldn’t be required to give their workers a holiday, and business would be minimally impacted. Incidentally, in the last 60 years, no one remembers it ever being rainy - or even cloudy - on National Day.
In practice, National Day becomes a week-long festival, as the governors and other elite citizens of the Isles host their own, often competing, lavish parties in the days leading up to the official celebration on Saturday.
Festivities throughout the week include:
- Block Parties - Most common in the slums and lower-class neighborhoods, residents gather in the streets to share their resources and throw parties for their friends and family. These are mostly a-political events, with people simply happy to have an excuse to relax for a few hours. It’s not unheard of, however, for insurgents to attempt to use these grassroots events to stir up resentment towards Recluse, and if Arachnos agents believe that is happening (or just don’t like the look of a party), they will often shut it down.
- Black tie dinner parties - Hosted by the Etoillian elite, these invitation-only events attempt to out-do each other in lavishness, attempting to prove their patriotism and allegiance to Recluse through having the biggest and the best party on their given Island.
- Speeches - Government officials of each Island will hold large gatherings in public squares early in the evening throughout the week, extolling how their agendas have best supported Recluse.
- Public executions - Enemies of the State are made an example of Recluse’s might. While some prisoners certainly “disappear” before the holiday, never to be heard from again, most big-name prisoners sentenced to death have their sentences carried out on the eve of National Day. There is often a party-like atmosphere surrounding these events, with food vendors hawking their goods and bookies from the casinos placing odds on who will cry, who will beg, and who might be the lucky recipient of one of Recluse’s rare reprieves.
- Volunteering - Originally, National Day was often considered a day of service, where Etoile citizens would help the less-fortunate. Under Recluse’s policy of “survival of the fittest,” there is no longer an official call to service, but older citizens, and those who were raised by such traditionalists, may increase their charitable giving or volunteer in a private soup kitchen in the days leading up to National Day.
- Parades - At least one parade is held on a given Island every day leading up to the “Great Military Parade of Etoile” on National Day itself. These smaller parades allow generals to ensure their troops are in top shape and won’t embarrass the generals on the day they present themselves to Recluse himself. As even these small parades are often broadcast on official state television as part of the lead up to National Day, the generals and governors ensure there is an audience for these practice parades by rounding up anyone in the nearby streets to stand by and cheer on the military forces.
- The Great Military Parade of Etoile - Held in Grandville every year, this is the greatest show of Recluse’s might. The parade lasts most of the day, and features the vast majority of Arachnos military units marching in unison. It is a truly awesome sight to behold. The parade is led by those who have received military commendations in the previous year, often those who survived against insurmountable odds. After them, the parade is led in descending rank order, from those units who have served Recluse longest and concluding with representatives of the Arachnos Youth organization, representing the future of Etoile.
Etoile National Day and Father Henri’s
Port Oakes is in a unique situation, as its government is currently being contested by the Mooks and the Family. This means there are twice as many speeches, twice as many parties, and twice as much danger for the average citizen, as the dueling forces step up their feud in an attempt to prove who the true ruling faction should be.
Attendance of at least some speeches, parades and, of course, the public executions, is considered compulsory. Some individuals might get away with staying home undetected, but Arachnos, Mook and Family forces encourage neighbors to rat out each other on accusations of disloyalty to Recluse and Etoile.
Officially, Father Henri’s is in the territory of the Mooks - a fact the faculty begrudgingly accept, seeing expressing loyalty to the Mooks as just barely a step above expressing such loyalty to the Family. Father O’Connely, recognizing the importance of the Home to continue to operate under the radar, will ensure that various wards are seen at official events throughout the week. If enough people aren’t volunteering to show up, he will start assigning attendance as part of the chores for the wards, members of the Order and regular kids alike. The youngest wards view this as a welcome holiday and are eager to watch the soldiers march past in their dress uniforms and sneak samples of all the delicious fried food being hawked on the streets, but amongst the older children opinions are decidedly mixed.