Winter holiday known as Wangzaah, celebrated by followers of Wangism.
Date observed & holiday substituted for
The birth of Wang Sorenson is shrouded in a little bit of mystery. His mother, a Swedish princess by the name Ingemodh Sorenson, was rendered infertile by the Great European Earwig Infestation of 693. That she was able to conceive at all was hailed as a great miracle and people from all over Polynesia regarded Wang as a Savior.
Wang was born sometime between 699 and 670, depending on which sea shanty is describing his deeds. While his birth was most likely in the late summer, an official decree from the Holy Ingemodh Mother of Wang Cathedral moved the date to December 23 in order to more easily blend in with other regional holidays. Later events attributed to Wang have stretched this holiday to a week-long celebration.
In his 33 1/3 years on earth, Wang performed a great many deeds and miracles. These miracles have only strengthened his legacy as a messiah to the believers of Wang. While adherents will stridently claim he is the prophesied messiah, no one knows which prophecy foretold Wang's coming or what Wang's role is as messiah. "That is for Wang to know and us to ponder," is one of the core beliefs of Wangism.
Traditions & rituals
Traditions and rituals for celebrating the birth of Wang are widely varied depending on individual preference, family tradition, and cultural background. In past centuries, his birth was celebrated simply with the re-telling of his exploits and miracles, along with singing sea shanties in the town square, followed by a feast. After the Miracle of Agnes VonStrupp in 1142, week-long gift giving was added by Reform Wangism in celebration of Wang's generosity.
Family togetherness is an important part of celebrating the birth of Wang. People who have no family or nowhere to go get ritually adopted by other families during the holiday. They are treated just like regular members of the family and expected to pitch in with chores, cooking the feast, and singing sea shanties. In return, they get all the love, support, and gifts they would expect if they were able to be home with their own families. This tradition of adoption has made Wangism one of the fastest-growing religions in the world among college students.
Followers wish each other a "Wonderful Wangzaah."
There is no set "rule" about what to eat during the Wangzaah feast, as cuisine is largely determined by cultural and local preferences.
North American celebrants generally mimic the Thanksgiving feast, though it varies by country. Canadian Wangites include lots of poutine, as Wang was known to laugh upon hearing the word (Laughter is considered one of the most important aspects of Wangism). Wangites in Mexico serve traditional local and regional fare, but always with tamales in adherence with the Miracle of Tamaulipas.
In Western Europe where Wangism is more common, celebrants lean towards strudel and wurst. This is largely due to one of the legends of Wang depicting his declaration that these food items were:
"Fun to say and damn delicious."
All Wangites, regardless of denomination or place of origin, agree that tacos, some type of pie, and copious amounts of fizzy drinks are essential to the Wangzaah feast, as long as everyone celebrates safely and with designated drivers.
The Holy Ingemodh Mother of Wang Cathedral previously required that the traditional Wangzaah Night ceremony be conducted with waffle fries and kompot. However, this requirement was removed in 1853 when Bishop Snedlditetikasi wrote a lovely letter to the editor recommending against it. The Wangzaah Night ceremony is now conducted with a variety of hors d'oeuvres to accommodate individual preferences and dietary requirements.
Most Wangites and Wangians put up some sort of decoration starting the first week of December. It is generally frowned upon to put up decorations earlier than December 1st and any follower who does so will receive the traditional rebuke from other followers. The rebuke starts with a "tsk tsk" noise, is followed by a shaking of the head, a deep sigh, and the traditional chant:
"Next year, you'll start putting up Wang decorations in July!"
Similarly, decorations must be taken down by January 2 or else the follower will receive another traditional rebuke. It is similar to the above rebuke, but with a different traditional chant and spoken in a thick Minnesota accent:
"You aren't going to leave those decorations up until July, now are ya?"
As with the traditions and rituals, decoration varies wildly depending on individual preference, family tradition, and cultural background. The majority of Wangites install a large plant as the basis of their decoration. Most often, this plant is a tree, with pine and ficus being the most popular. Bamboo and bonsai plants are becoming more popular, especially with apartment dwellers. Artificial and potted plants are encouraged as they are reusable and help to prevent the dilemma of what to do with the dead plant once December is over. Those who choose potted plants often will use the same plant until it gets too big for the house. After one last Wangzaah celebration, the family will ritually retire the plant to the back yard, forest, or golf course brush where it will live out the remainder of its life in the wild. Followers believe this is "keeping in the true spirit of Wang."
Trees and plants are most often decorated with shiny baubles, cheerful toys, and other such ornaments that please the follower and are keeping in the true spirit of Wang. Glass balls decorated with sea shanties, dirty jokes, and jaunty pirate hats are popular decorations. Some superstitions say that the more arbitrary the decorations on a tree or plant, the more Wang's lucky countenance will shine down. One of the most popular decoration are wishing balls. The wishing balls are a pair of hollow glass balls, similar to glass balls found on Christmas trees. Wishes or prayers to Wang are placed into the first ball and dirty jokes or naughty limericks are placed in the second ball to "balance it out."
In lieu of, or often with, trees and potted plants, many followers install a series of decorated candles, often hand-painted with scenes from Wang's miracles. Starting on the evening of December 24, a new Wang candle will be lit on the fireplace mantle. This practice is most popular with Reform Wangism, as it coincides with their beliefs in the Miracle of Agnes VonStrupp.
With the advent of electricity, colored lighting has become another popular decoration in Wangite households, especially lighted decorations in unusual shapes. Most Wangites can be recognized by their lighted window decorations, usually in the shape of a circle, star, trapezoid, or Wang.
In accordance with the Miracle of Agnes VonStrupp, starting on the evening of December 24, followers place a feathered stick on their fireplace hearth. Followers without fireplaces may place the stick on the coffee table or entertainment center. The next morning, a gift will be found next to the stick. Followers do this until the morning of December 31st. Depending on family size, financial status, and individual Wangite preference, anywhere from a single gift for one person or a gift for each family member will be found the next morning. This gift-giving tradition is to symbolize Wang's spirit returning to earth in Agnes VonStrupp's time of need.
Orthodox Wangites do not follow this tradition as they claim Agnes VonStrupp was making it all up. They follow the traditional gift-giving day of December 23.
Traditional sea shanties
(Temporarily removed until the matter of lewd lyrics in an all-ages wiki can be resolved.)
The Rather Irritating Wangzaa vs. Wangzaah Name Debate
In recent times, new evidence has been uncovered that points to Wangzaa having been misspelled all these centuries. Scholars from the Wangite School of Pharmacy in Turkey reported that there was a minor mis-translation in one of Wang's original letters to his parents. Wang's pidgin has been a topic of mostly idle curiosity, as most Wangites are fine with reading the translations provided by the Wangite School of Pharmacy. In the letter, Wang discusses his new bride and uses an ogonek while referencing persimmons. As persimmon is one of the roots of Wangzaah, the holiday's name must be updated for accurate spelling.
The report has resulted in some division. Most Wangites are okay with the name change, but strident opponents, almost entirely comprised of holiday goods suppliers and monogram services, have been vocal about not adopting the change. In their words:
"What are we going to do with all this leftover stock?"
Opponents of the name change are pushing to forget the whole matter, while the Holy Ingemodh Mother of Wang Cathedral has already declared "Wangzaah" as the proper canonical spelling unless new documents surface that retcons the whole deal.
Unsurprisingly, Wangites are more interested in the Wangzaah Name Debate than they are the revelation that Wang was married. When asked, most Wangites say:
"What's the big deal? A lot of people get married."
Most Wangites usually state that they hope the scholars at the Wangite School of Pharmacy discover her name because it's awkward to keep referring to her as "Wang's unknown, but probably quite lovely, wife."