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The Lavender Festival of Giovanniland

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The Lavender Festival of Giovanniland

The Lavender Festival (Lavandulan: Qwar-dyn Gyen-aind) is one of the Giovannilandian holidays, along with New Year (January 1st), Empire Day (January 16th), Kingdom Revolution Day (June 15th), Harvonian Day (August 29th), and Constitution Day (October 30th). It happens during the week before New Year, i.e. starting from December 25th, reason it's also often considered together with New Year composing its final day.

The festival dates back to the age of the Lavandulan Empire, Official records state that it was created by Lavro V (Lavandulan: Rin-shyw-fhan Lla-hwe-ru), who reigned from 1819 to 1800 BF, thus making this celebration over three millennia old. Lavro V was notably an emperor focused on education and culture, for example by ordering the creation of modern Giovanniland's first library. The capital Urythburg, then known as Lavenderburg, was chosen as the celebration's location due to the prominent lavender fields around it (and the city's modern flag still represents said fields). Therefore, the festival continued to be celebrated in the Duchy of Quoriv, and briefly in the Second Vrosan Empire, during the medieval age.

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The flag of Urythburg, with the green as the soil, the lavender of course as the plant's fields, and the blue as the sky.

The lavender is commonly seen in Giovanniland as a symbol as prosperity and renewal, hence the festival's date just before the New Year. However, since the modern calendar was only introduced in Giovanniland through the Harvonians, the celebration has not always happened during the same time of the year. Only when Emperor Giovanni the Great unified the entire island under the Giovannilandian Empire did he adapt the celebration from the Quorivians, establish its modern date, and turn it into a national celebration instead of it only happening in Urythburg. The festival passed on to the modern Kingdom of Giovanniland, and its holiday status was enshrined into law after the passage of the Holidays Act of 1123. 

Giovanniland celebrates the holiday with various activities. Lavenders are planted into home gardens some months in advance of the event in order to have them fully grown, and lavender bunches are used to decorate the insides of houses. Lavender aroma compounds and perfumes from lavender oil are also used to give a pleasant odor, and various food recipes also use parts of the lavender and are commonly baked during the festival. Last but not least, it is a common tradition to leave some lavender bunches at the doorstep, so that the Goddess Violet herself can collect them and leave some gifts for children and teenagers in return.

Therefore, one can see how important this festival is for Giovannilandians from all the nation, but especially the northern part where it originated from. The recently elected mayoress of Urythburg, Arabella Anairyth-Dervalian from the Democratic Coalition, has also capitalized on this opportunity to improve the city and the nation's economy through the creation of the upcoming Lavender Fair, with several markets across the city taking part. Each day, a different lavender product will be featured in those markets and have a discount on its price, while other lavender products will be sold normally, although the specific items won't be revealed until their own day. Furthermore, Amore Gil Albrecht is expected to visit the fair and deliver a speech about this important celebration, helping on visibility. 

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Lavender products on sale at an Urythburgian market.

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First Four Days of the Lavender Festival! 

On the 25th of December, the nation of Giovanniland started its celebration of the Lavender Festival. Throughout the country, one can spot many gardens and fields made purple by the color of the lavender plant, as well as wonderful decorations and perfumes inside houses. Children and teenagers prepare their bunches of lavender to leave at the doorstep, awaiting gifts on the last day of the festival, and beautiful purple fireworks once the year of 1422 arrives in Esferos.

On the first day of the celebration, an opening speech was given by the Mayor of Urythburg, Arabella Anairyth-Dervalian, mentioning the longevity of the Lavender Festival and officially declaring the Lavender Fair open. The first two days were interesting for culinary connoisseurs, as lavender cupcakes were highlighted for the first day, and lavender tea for the second. The Prime Minister of the nation, Amore Gil Albrecht, notably visited the second day of the fair, and told reporters that she was pleased with Anairyth-Dervalian's innovative idea, and hoped for further cultural collaboration between national, provincial, and city governments.

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The lavender cupcakes and tea for the 1st and 2nd days respectively.

Later, the 3rd and 4th days had lavender healthcare products featured, such as lotion bars and face cream. Furthermore, on the 28th of December, many people went into the Lavandulan Mausoleum of Urythburg to mourn the death of Lavandulan emperor Lavro IV (reigned 1870-1819 BF), with lavenders placed near his tomb. Besides being the father of the emperor Lavro V that created this very celebration, he commanded the Lavandulan Empire's southern expansion and also founded Fort Lavro near the southern border, nowadays known as Lavropolis. For those reasons, both him and his son are regarded as some of the most important Lavandulan emperors.

Anyways, that is all that has happened during the first four days of the Lavender Festival! Tune in again later for a retrospective of the next three days and the New Year, in a festival full of culture and history that is worth celebrating. This is correspondent Amalia Elyse-Montagne of the Giovannilandian Gazette's northern branch, signing off.

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Lavender Festival Finishes while Esferos welcomes 1422

After a coverage of the first four days of Giovanniland's Lavender Festival, the correspondent Amalia Elyse-Montagne (a.k.a. myself) of the Giovannilandian Gazette's northern branch is back to report on more news! The fifth day featured interesting purple-colored soap made of lavender, which was sold with a discount on its price at various markets of the Lavender Fair, while for the sixth day it was lavender bath salt. Lavender is used to relieve anxiety and boost mood in aromatherapy, thus the bath salt can also help one to relax after a tiring day. During both days, notable visits were from the Governors of the neighboring provinces of Edristania, Girveana and Athurelia; their names are Theodoro Anairyth-Lavro, Osvaldo Quardinbert and Amanda Afraberg-Moreira. 

Furthermore, the sixth and seventh days also saw the notable Lavender Arts Exhibition happen. Due to its prominence in Giovannilandian culture, the lavender has of course been represented in many paintings, poems, music pieces, and more. The Urythburg Museum organized a special part of its art gallery for artworks related to the theme, and is also hosting a popular art contest about the best lavender-themed modern artwork, with entries open for another day as I write. Good luck to the contestants! Meanwhile, poems such as Lavender Island by Giovannilandian poet Roberto Hatyan-Silva could be heard being recited by people, just like songs about the special plant.

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Lavender bath salt and lemonade, for the 6th and 7th days respectively.

About the seventh day, the featured lavender product was the famous Giovannilandian lavender lemonade, which could be seen in restaurants and bars in the city of Urythburg during that day. It is a popular drink for Giovannilandians to celebrate the New Year with, as they watch purple fireworks in the night sky during the hot summer. Giovanniland isn't the first country in Esferos to celebrate the New Year, as the Over Time (IAT+1) and Island Time (IAT+2) arrived into 1422 earlier, but celebrations are plenty as it has arrived to the International Atomic Time.

Last but not least, we can't forget the part of receiving gifts during the festival! During the night between the sixth and seventh days, lavender bunches on many doorsteps across Giovanniland were carefully collected by the goddess Violet, which in turn returned gifts to well-behaved children and teenagers. Anyways, as I write this newspaper article, I can still see many purple fireworks above Urythburg's buildings, although they will probably end soon as New Year celebrations come to a close and Giovannilandians go to sleep while thinking about this coming year of 1422. This means that the Lavender Festival also comes to an end, so thank you for reading this two-part report by the Giovannilandian Gazette's northern branch, and a happy New Year to you! 

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