In past generations, the Eothasian autumn festival of the Small Harvest was celebrated by most immigrants to the Eastern Reach. For the first wave of settlers, life in was difficult. Farming was hard work in a foreign land fraught with danger. Any successful harvest season was cause for joy. Farmers and the villages that relied on them came together to share food and drink from the season's earliest crops and give thanks to the gods for their good fortune. To ensure that everyone in the community was able to participate in the celebration, children would bring food to distant farms or to elders who were unable to travel on their own. Because the Small Harvest was held late in the year, priests of Eothas would line the roads with small candles. In exchange for the food that children brought, the farmers' families would craft small dolls from corn husks or carve a variety of exaggerated faces into small gourds, leaving them outside as gifts. Poor or elderly families would simply spend time with the children and thank them for their charity.
In the years following the Saint's War, the Small Harvest has taken a different tone in the Dyrwood and Readceras. Since the destruction of St. Waidwen, whom many believe was a manifestation of Eothas, most Dyrwoodans have no interest in celebrating the holiday. Those who continue to leave out dolls or carved gourds are generally viewed with suspicion and resentment, often finding their dolls burned and gourds smashed by angry neighbors. Secretive Eothasians still light candles on farm roads, but they risk violent attacks if they are discovered doing so. At least some Dyrwoodans restrain themselves from acting out violently due to fears that even though Eothas appears to be gone, they may still be punished by Gaun, patron of the harvest.
In Readceras, a nation never known for displays of merriment, the holiday has taken on an even more somber tone since the destruction of their divine king. Instead of being a joyful celebration, the Small Harvest is a time for publically giving thanks and distributing food to the unfortunate, many of them injured veterans of the Saint's War. The journey that children take at night has become a penitential activity for the community, with processions of young people singing religious songs and leaving their own corn husk dolls or carved gourds at roadside shrines. Families are expected to visit church on the day of the Small Harvest, both to give thanks and to pray for the return of Eothas in the coming year.
The Vailian Republics have seen a different type of transformation over time. As the republics' daily life has shifted from rural villages to craft-based towns and bustling maritime trade cities, Vailians have started to celebrate the Small Harvest less as an agrarian festival and more as the commemoration of a prosperous year of labor. With their more southerly location, the Vailians have a stronger sense of waning daylight. For them, the Small Harvest is a time to peruse autumn fairs as foreign merchants attempt to reduce their inventory before sailing home and local craftsmen close out the end of a busy season. In coastal cities, the return of Vailian merchant ships heralds an outpouring of wealth, gifts, and exotic items from beyond the Eastern Reach. The lavish parties that result become communal affairs extended over several days as rich families try to outdo each other with presentations of fantastic food, art, fashion, and music for their fellow citizens.
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