I just got out of work and got to watch some fireworks on TV in celebration of the 4th of July, our Independence Day here in the US. Unfortunately, I could not even catch any live fireworks since the local showings ended before I was out. Although I missed out on a lot of celebrating with my family, they told me all about our annual extended family get-together they went to. From playing in the bounce house and talking with family to all of the delicious grilled food and homemade dishes, everyone seemed to have a great time.
I figured that since I missed the 4th of July celebration, I would relive some of the pony holidays and traditions that the show has featured. I am not so great with organization, so the list below is going to be fairly chaotic. Discord gives his approval!
1. Hearth’s Warming/Hearth’s Warming Eve
This is the closest thing that Equestria has to Christmas. This is a winter holiday created after the unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies all managed to get along and found Equestria despite previous disputes over the land.
Modern day celebrations include singing carols, decorating pine trees, and exchanging gifts. We have seen several variations on how the holiday is celebrated. Pinkie Pie and her family hide presents (and usually nobody finds or gets one). Spike and Twilight exchange gifts on Hearth’s Warming Eve, rather than the actual day of Hearth’s Warming. Candy canes, lights, and retelling of classic holiday stories are all associated with Hearth’s Warming.
2. Hearts and Hooves Day
An Equestrian take on Valentine’s Day, Hearts and Hooves Day is all about love and caring. Cards are given to show love, whether it be platonic or something more than that. The school ponies celebrated by giving cards to classmates and their teacher; grown up ponies celebrate Hearts and Hooves Day with their special somepony. I am assuming that since friendship = magic, single ponies celebrate with friends instead of despising the holiday like many single humans do for Valentine’s Day.
3. Winter Wrap Up
This tradition is very different from place to place. In Canterlot, magic is used to change the seasons. In Ponyville though, the changing of winter to spring is done in the same way it would have been done before any unicorns lived there. Everypony is part of a team: plant, animal, or weather. They all have special tasks which allow for winter to end and spring to begin. Seeds are planted, animals are woken from hibernation, and skies are cleared of clouds.
This ritual is essential for spring to begin. If the seasons are not changed by the ponies, it will stay winter. Before Twilight became an organizer, Winter Wrap Up did not wrap up winter in time. The longer winter/early spring is a bit similar to Groundhog Day, a holiday on February 2nd where a groundhog “predicts” whether or not there will be 6 more weeks of winter.
4. Nightmare Night
Halloween! Everypony dresses up in fun costumes and the children go door-to-door collecting candy (which is for an offering to Nightmare Moon, so she does not eat them). Ponies bob for apples and go through corn mazes. There is lots of scary fun to be had on Nightmare Night, and though it is all in the spirit of fun, the scaring isn’t for the faint of heart. Some choose to celebrate Nightmare Night inside rather than going out in costumes and partaking in festivities.
5. Summer Sun Celebration
The Summer Sun Celebration takes place on the longest day of the year. It is in celebration of Celestia banishing Nightmare Moon to the moon after she refused to lower the moon out of jealousy. Ponies celebrate by staying up all night and watching Celestia raise the sun in the morning. The location of the celebration varies, but being able to have Celestia come give a speech and raise the sun is a huge honor for any town, and everypony wants to witness the event.
Although it is possible that the celebration continues, I think it probably changed a bit. Rather than continuing to shame Luna for her past as Nightmare Moon and reminding Celestia of the pain of banishing her sister, it is likely just to celebrate the sun and the longest day instead.
In terms of Independence Day, I think Hearth’s Warming is the closest that Equestria has to such a thing. It is about Equestria being founded, and although the celebration is nothing like a 4th of July celebration here, the histories are similar.