Celebrations in the Queendom

The Queendom of Evlantis is made up of six clique-like sectors, each has its own government and customs. What each woman celebrates depends on both which sector she was raised in and the sector she is assigned to live in. 

The Harvest Festival is the one celebration that is a city-wide event. Originally it was a religious event to thank the goddesses for the fall harvest. Over the centuries it evolved into a celebration where each sector tries to outdo the next with displays and amusements.

Harvest Festival takes place in the fall, and each sector hosts at least one day of the event. Officially the celebration lasts eight days and culminates in the first Quickening assignments of the season. Unofficially it is nine days with a celebration in the Arts sector before the official celebration begins. Women gather to party and sate their baser appetites before the more wholesome, family-oriented fun of the rest of the week begins. The first unofficial day in the Arts Sector culminates late in the evening in an almost taboo tradition…the Fanny Dance, where women who are so inclined gather in the Amphitheater of the Arts to watch men strip for entertainment.

While there are other celebrations that all women agree are important, such as Birthdays, the sectors disagree about the best way to celebrate them. Since the primary relationship in Evlantis is the one between mother’s and their daughters, Mother’s Day and Daughter’s Day are two celebrations that are held on the same day in the Queendom, but celebrated in different ways in each sector. It is up to each sector whether true outsiders (those who were neither born there or current citizens) may attend. For example, only Soldiers may attend and compete for the coveted Best Athlete award, but all citizens are invited to the Agriculture’s Summer Solstice Revelry.

Then there are dozens of celebrations that are unique to each sector. A few examples are listed below:

Government sector: Constitution Day, Queen for a Day, Mother of the Year.

Agriculture sector: Spring First Planting Celebration, Summer Solstice Revelry, Spa Day.

Religion sector: Mother Eve’s Day, Goddess of Life Feast Day, and the Land of the Dead Celebration Day. 

Arts sector: Day of Wine and Song, Day of Song and Dance, Celebration of the Goddess of the Muse.

Livestock sector: Best of Show Livestock competition, Symposium for Fashion Invention, Spring Celebration of Life.

Soldier sector: Day to Honor Soldiers of Herstory, Best Athlete competition, Goddess Marsa Celebration.

Medicine in Evlantis

In the women’s world medical treatment is based on the naturopathic model. Women that become physicians must be citizens of the Agriculture sector and have years of training before they can begin treating patients.

There are centuries worth of documentation for the physicians of Evlantis to use to treat and cure all types of ailments. Physical symptoms of illnesses are treated with herbal remedies or food known to contain health benefits. Physicians prescriptions for treatment may also include massage therapy, hot springs treatments, music for either relaxation or stimulation, counseling, and various forms of exercise including dance, yoga, and strength training. Women who become physicians must be compassionate and wise, and able to motivate their patients to engage in the treatments they prescribe.

When illness strikes the Queendom, quarantine is used to minimize exposure to the disease. Physicians work round the clock to find remedies to minimize symptoms and maximize the body’s ability to fight the disease. Every experimental treatment and its results are added to the volumes of documentation for future generations of physicians.

Surgery is not used often due to high mortality rates. Instead of surgery, women who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses receive pain management care so they may enter the land of the dead as comfortably and huwomanly cared for as possible.

The only exception to the no-surgery rule is The Taking, which involves surgically removing an infant from a mother’s womb to save its life. Any mother whose pregnancy goes awry has the right to choose The Taking so that her child may live. Most mothers in that life and death situation choose to give their child a chance at life. Until very late in the Herstory of Evlantis, The Taking always resulted in death for the mother.

The Fringe

Photo by Zun Zun from Pexels

The High Queen of Evlantis, who presides over the city’s highest court, must assign punishments to those found guilty of crimes. Punishments range from fines to a death sentence, depending on the crime and the temperament of the High Queen.

One punishment that is considered very serious is re-assignment from a city sector to a place called the Fringe. The Fringe is a residential area that borders the outskirts of the Agriculture sector’s farmlands. The criminals sentenced in the Fringe serve two purposes. They provide free labor in the fields and they guard the perimeter to keep field hand slaves from escaping.

The women who live in the Fringe have no rights. They are banned from voting and bearing children. Their quality of life is dependent on the generosity of the High Queen. Under High Queen Rachel’s rule life in the Fringe was as pleasant as it could be under the circumstances. When her lack of oversight of the Fringe was questioned by her opponents in government, Rachel would insist that being banished from the city limits to do forced labor was punishment enough, she would not see the women deprived of basic comforts.

Music of Evlantis

All the sectors of the Queendom have musicians. Musicians are held in high esteem and concerts are held regularly in all kinds of venues: theaters, Gossip Parlors, and private homes of those with high status are a few of the most common. During the summer there are musical performances outdoors in each sector’s market place. Evlantians have all types of stringed instruments, wind instruments, drums, gongs and other percussion instruments.

Not only is music entertainment, but it is also an important and necessary part of the birthing process. It would be unthinkable to give birth without at least one musician or singer present to perform birthing songs during the delivery.

Each sector tends to specialize in a style of music, though every musician dabbles in all musical styles. The musical speciality of the Government sector is similar to our classical music. Their most popular songs are ballads celebrating the lives of women who have bettered Evlantis over its Herstory set to orchestral arrangements. Some have even been turned into popular musicals performed at theaters.

The Agriculture sector’s music is similar to our “new age” style music. It’s most popular song’s lyrics celebrate growth. It is neither easy to perform, nor to sing, but it captures the mystery and imagination in a way that no other sector’s music does. It frequently incorporates sounds of nature into its songs like bird calls, the sound of the ocean waves, or wind rushing through leaves.

The Religion sector’s style of music is soulful. It expresses the struggles that women face, and lyrics tend to be supplications to the goddesses to grant mothers and their daughters long and happy lives.

The Arts sector’s music is akin to our rock and roll. The Arts sector residents are the rebels of the Queendom and express it through music that awakens the senses, makes toes tap and bodies sway with abandonment. Its lyrics are sometimes bawdy, sometimes deep, and sometimes playful.

The music of the Livestock sector is extremely popular. It mixes upbeat music with lyrics that have repeating choruses that are catchy. Their lyrics typically celebrate life and the love between mothers and daughters.

The Soldier sector specializes in acapella sing-song chants. The origin of their music was based in marching trail chants from their nomadic period. Soldier sector music is derived from the one of the earliest forms of music in the woman’s world.

Photo by Evelyn from Pexels

Scholars teach that the earliest form of music was the lullaby. The number of lullabies in the woman’s world has never been catalogued, though some have tried. Singing a child to sleep is regarded as an art form and a sacred duty. Even women who  do not have children must be ready, at a moment’s notice, to help a mother with a sleepy child send their baby to dreamland with a song.

Letters to Harmonia, “response to Looking Out for Two”

Dear Harmonia,

photo from pixabay

I was blessed by the Goddess  Ephrea, the life giver, with twin daughters who are still very young. Well, everyone knows how rare it is to have twin daughters, and that two daughters are double the work of one! It’s a great responsibility to bring up girls that are a credit to our glorious Queendom. I am honored that the goddesses entrusted me with twins.

However, due to the findings of the last census, I’ve received a letter saying that my mother, who lives in a different sector than I do, must move into my household!

Harmonia, this is not fair! I know plenty of mothers who only have one daughter. Why can’t they be chosen to host their mother so that the correct amount of citizens can be housed in her sector? I understand the importance of the census, but why me? My hands are full and my mother is aged and needs almost as much care as my daughters do! Her neighbors are more than happy to look after her. Think of my poor mother! She will certainly be homesick if there is no way to forestall this reassignment!

And, most of all, think of my two daughters! How disrupted their lives will be! It isn’t fair to them, not at all. Tell me there is a way to stop this from happening, please, O wise Harmonia!

Looking Out for Two

Dear Looking Out,

Instead of Looking Out you should first Look Back, and then Look Forward.

You must look back to see that Evlantis was founded by Great Mother Eve and every law that has been passed, or stricken, from the record since then has been lovingly guided by the goddesses and the wisest of women. The committee that evalutates census results takes all factors into consideration before making its decisions on how to disperse our population so as best to serve the State. These are not haphazard or random assignmnents, but based on law, wisdom, and learning. Since Ephrea chose to bless you with two daughters, I must conclude she has blessed you with the wisdom to discern this truth, now that I have plainly laid it out for you! You must be a good daughter of the city and embrace your life-giving mother’s inclusion into your household with joy!

You must also Look Forward and see the profound message you are passing on to your double blessings. In the caring for your mother you are teaching them, by your own example, one of our most sacred precepts; that each woman’s life is holy. The burdens that come with a mother’s aging fall upon the daughter to bear. It is an honor that your mother has lived long enough to need your care.  Not to mention that your daughters will have the privilege of living with their Grandmother! Not many girls have that honor! Your worries about your mother being homesick are unfounded. You forget the old adage, “Home is where your family is.”

Beware, Looking Out, that the person you are really looking out for is yourself. Self-sacrifice is the highest calling of mothers. There is a special place in the afterlife that is only spoken of in shadows and whispers for the Daughter of Eve that abandons her duty to her mother.

Heed my words, young mother. There is still time for you to accept the wise assignment of the census committee with the proper attitude of  joy. There is no question that the decision can not, and should not, be changed.

Looking out for both your daughters and your mother,


P.S. Just in case my argument was not strong enough, having your mother join your household will increase your status. You may be eligible for better housing and more privileges. Please look into those possibilities. It may make your “burdens” easier to bear.

Theater in Evlantis

The Queendom of Evlantis has a thriving theater scene. The women’s world has volumes of plays and musicals which were handed down throughout Herstory. New material is always being written. Talented writers and actresses are held in high esteem. Every sector except the Soldier sector has its own community theater groups which put on productions in small venues. They also run soap-opera type shows during the day. Auditions attract women from all the sectors, but if a leading role goes to an actress from the Arts sector, then the success of the production is guaranteed.

The biggest and best of all the theaters in Evlantis is the Amphitheater of the Arts. The brightest stars perform there. The costumes are lavish, and a full time staff is employed to create them, and to keep them clean and well maintained. A variety of entertainment takes place at this venue: classic plays, new works, concerts and even titillating Fanny Dances, where men entertained crowds of women by dancing and removing most of their clothing. 

The glory days of the theater were, without a doubt, the years that a slave, Octovin, was allowed to oversee the productions. When he was a young man he was assigned to do heavy work in the theater. He was respectful and charming and soon became a favorite among the crew and actresses. Few women liked to work with the Fanny Dancers, and Herstory records that Octovin offered to take over the task and turned a barely attended pre-festival event into one of the most looked-forward to shows all year. While it wouldn’t be at all acceptable to admit it, many law-abiding citizens not eligible for quickening duty left the Fanny Dances Octovin produced wishing for one last tumble in a chamber. 

While Octovin would always be known as the Fanny Dance Master, behind the scenes he became consulted more and more. He had a flair for the dramatic. Productions in which he was heavily involved did well. Though a slave, he managed to create a comfortable life for himself. On his word, actresses rose and fell in fame. By the time he was in his forties he was, in all but name, running the Amphitheater of the Arts.

One of the Queendom’s most beloved stars, Sepheera of the Arts, was one of Octovin’s protégés. The bond between them was so close that Sepheera allowed Octovin to tend to her daughter, Sephora, who in turn, allowed Octovin to tend to her children. There is speculation among citizens about whether Sephora rose to the station of Low Queen of the Arts Sector with Octovin’s counsel, or whether he maintained his standing at the Amphitheater of the Arts because of Sephora.

Gossip Parlors

Instead of pubs, bars, or restaurants, the Queendom is rife with Gossip Parlors. Gossip Parlors keep women informed of events of the day as well as build a close knit community among its patrons. There are several key features every Gossip Parlor has in common. The walls inside the entrance to each parlor has boards for patronesses to post notices. There is always a large, round table in the center of the parlor for gossip circles. The round table seats twelve women at a time. Scattered around the parlor will be smaller tables that seat two to four people for more intimate gossip. There is reading material in the form of Gossip papers. A Gossip Parlor may publish its own Gossip paper, and/or may subscribe to papers that appeal to their patrons. Lastly, each parlor has a counter where patrons can order teas or fermented spirits, or, if the parlor offers it, snacks or meals.

The decor varies from sector to sector, and all parlors are tastefully decorated. Some are themed parlors. The most popular of the themed parlors in High Queen Rachel’s day celebrates the life of High Queen Cleopas the Wise. On display are many relics of her life and times. Patronesses of the parlor can rent clothing of that time period to wear, as well as have their hair styled. The regulars of this parlor tend to be academics. The discussions usually are spirited debates about philosophy and politics. It is part of the school curriculum to take field trips to themed Gossip Parlors in all the sectors, in part to learn about Herstory, and in part to be exposed to a variety of Gossip Parlors. It is common knowledge that when citizens are guests in other sector’s parlors it helps keep peace in the Queendom.

In every sector except the celibate sectors you can find Gossip Parlors that cater to mothers of children of certain ages. These tend to be small, homey places. Children are always welcome at these parlors, and there are strict are rules about language and topics of conversation so mothers can indulge in gossip without worrying about what their children will hear. For Gossip Parlors for mothers of younger children there are play nooks. For Gossip Parlors for mothers of older children there are study nooks, as well as child sized Gossip Circle tables for those girls interested in participating in the ritual of gossip early on in their lives. Often mothers will share wisdom about how to get through the trials of parenting, as well as share their triumphs, and brag about their daughters. 

During the day while children are in school, most Gossip Parlors offer classes to learn or master a hobby. Artisans from the Arts Sector may contract with a Parlor owner to teach drawing or painting to non-Arts Sector residents. Residents of the Government Sector may teach courses in the Law or in home organization. Doctors from the Agriculture sector sometimes teach first aid, or courses in holistic health. Farmers from the Agriculture offer classes in gardening. Women in the clothing industry from the Livestock sector teach weaving, sewing, knitting, crocheting and fine needle work. Soldiers run exercise and meditation classes. Priestesses offer classes in rituals to make supplications to the goddesses. 

At other times during the day there will be Gossip Circles: These may be scheduled, or, if there is big news, impromptu. Women with the highest status (or those who have paid dearly) get a place at a seat at the table, while others may stand around the table behind them to get a chance to hear the topic and participate in the discussion. 

The Notice Boards:

The boards located inside any Gossip Parlor doors may be used by any citizen. Common posts are about items for barter or sale, need for childcare, ads for upcoming items in the marketplace. It will have notices of upcoming dates and times for Theater shows. Schedules of pending government meetings open to the public. Notices for  classes being offered. There are personal ads as well, posted by women looking for romance in their life.

There are also Gossip Parlors with more adult themes where girls under the age of fifteen are banned. There is no restriction on language or topic of conversations in these parlors. They are often rowdy places. If a patroness is known and trusted, she can get into a back room where less-than-legal activities occur. Gambling is one of the most common vices frowned upon by the governments of Evlantis. Drug use and interactions (but censored to prevent pregnancies) with slaves are highly illegal, and Parlor owners who offer these “back room” services have a full-time job keeping these services secret from law abiding citizens and the Queendom’s soldiers. Less illegal, but frowned upon, some Gossip Parlors provide back room spaces for married women having affairs with other women. Basically, if it is banned in the Queendom, some Gossip Parlor will have back rooms geared toward women’s desire to rebel. 

Conflict in the Queendom

     Not everyone gets along in the world where women rule. While there is no such thing as racism, ageism, body shaming, or war, each sector is a clique. There are conflicts between women whenever the interests of one sector clashes with another. One example: there is often a palpable enmity between the women of the Arts sector and the women of the Soldier sector. Women of the Arts sector see laws as not pertaining to them, while the soldiers view their enforcement of the laws as the glue that holds the Queendom together. 

Conflict between women can be expressed in different ways. Sometimes women who are at odds with each other pointedly ignore each other if their paths cross. Other times there are heated shouting matches. Occasionally quarrels escalate to fist fights.

Then there are blood feuds. A blood feud occurs when one family’s slight of another leads to a grudge that can be passed down for centuries. Whenever there is a murder in Evlantis the first step of the investigating soldier is to determine if the victim was a member of any clan with a blood feud. If she was, then ninety percent of the time, the murderess turns out to be a member of the opposing clan. 

While on the surface most women get along, simmering below the veneer of politeness is the subtle expectation that each woman know her proper place in society. Women of daughters are always held in higher esteem than barren women, or women who only bear boys. Popularity, always fickle, can increase status. Serving the Queendom as an elected official increases status. Knowledge can increase amount of respect a woman is shown. Teachers are held in very high esteem. In spite of the conflicts which do occur, life in the Queendom is idyllic for most. Some women even claim that conflict adds some spice to life!

Shopping in Evlantis

The Queendom of Evlantis is a rough semi-circle set on the edge of an ocean, divided into six wedge shaped sectors: the Government sector, the Agriculture sector, the Religion sector, the Arts sector, the Livestock sector, and the Soldier sector. The People’s Palace and its grounds, including a flower garden and a petting zoo, is located where all the small ends of the wedges meet. It is in the rainbow-shaped band of land located between the grounds of the People’s Palace and the residential area of each sector that you find the Market Place of Evlantis. Everything for sale in Evlantis, to be bartered for or paid for with precious jewels, can be found in this bustling, colorful area of the city. 

The Government sector does not produce many goods, though they do produce most of the Queendom’s non-fiction books. The Government sector is one of two sectors that does not require all the market space it owns, so it rents out space to vendors who can’t get booths in their own sector’s market place. The Government market has a plethora of goods from all the sectors for sale.

The Agriculture sector is a bustling place full of stands with fruits and vegetables in season, spices, prepared foods, kiosks to snack in, and lotions and potions with medicinal value. Floral arrangements and seeds are also sold here.

The Religion sector sells incense, statues of the goddesses, and prayer books. It is in the market place of the Religion sector that pregnant women make arrangements for her birthing services: musicians, empathizers, incense, flowers, a birthing pool, and anything else a mother-to-be could desire for her special day.

The Arts sector is one of the most dense market place. Almost every woman in the sector has a slightly different talent and all types of art is available. Books of novels and poetry, paintings and sculptures, tapestries, and jewelry. Love potions and make up can be bought in this marketplace. Musical instruments are made and sold by Arts sector residents. Decorative pottery as well as dishes for food and drink are sold there also.

The Livestock sector is also a densely packed market place. The Livestock sector provides most of the Queendom’s clothing, so it has mostly shops with clothes, shoes, or hats for sale. There are also stands with animals for sale. It is here women buy their household pets, or goats or cows for milk. 

The Soldier sector’s market place is much like the Government sector, having a wide variety of goods for sale, because the space is rented out. The only time a soldier takes a booth in the market place is if she has a hobby that produces wares to sell. Even then, soldiers do not have time to sell their products. They contract with a low caste woman from another sector to do the selling for them.

Food in Evlantis

Not all, but the majority of the women in Evlantis are, for most of their lives, ovo-lacto vegetarians. They do not consume meat, but they do eat eggs and dairy byproducts. Normally food is plentiful in the Queendom, since their entire society evolved around matching city resources to the six thousand women who live within its walls.

Scholars credit the success of the city to the very roots their society came from…their early nomadic days. While no woman is comfortable thinking about living without a permanent home hearth, the benefit of their foremothers’ suffering is undeniable. In the centuries before they made Evlantis their permanent home, women collected plants and seeds for everything they came across that was edible or had medicinal value. The farmlands of Evlantis are vast and sophisticated due to the forethought to save every seed and every plant they could. Fields are irrigated, crops are rotated, composting is a routine practice to keep the earth rich with nutrients. There are orchards of fruit bearing trees, and fields of berry bushes. There is a wide variety of edible foods, lettuces, legumes, all manner of vegetables and grains as well as many herbs and spice plants.

Rich, vegetable stews, hearty and full of taste due to flavorful herbs, are a favorite and a staple. So are roasted vegetables, crispy on the outside and sweet on the inside. Thick brown breads, as well as savory garlic flat breads serve to make vegetable sandwiches. Vegetables and fruits are complemented with eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cheese, all foods that are byproducts from a living animal. 

While everyday cooking and baking is far beneath the station of genteel women, gourmet cooking and baking is very much encouraged among citizens. Cooking and baking basics are taught in school, just in case one of the children is a budding chef. Gossip parlors are always looking for new recipes to tempt their patrons with and will pay well for any new delicacy. 

Most women are vegetarians most of the time due to their great love for the animal queendom. The exception is that during pregnancy many women crave meat and eat meat. It is looked upon as a personal sacrifice to eat meat for the health of one’s child. 

The other exception is the Soldier Sector. Most soldiers do eat meat because it has long been established that strength increases when animal flesh is consumed. Soldiers do not value life less because of this, indeed, they seek to take on traits of the beasts they prefer to consume and always give thanks to the animals which are sacrificed so that they can be the best soldier they can be.