Stella Fortuna is a Human cultural celebration associated with good fortune and success in new ventures. It was first established as a commemoration of the successful colonization of Mars (Sol IV). Feasting, fireworks, festivals, and other forms of mass celebration are hallmarks of the holiday, along with the colors gold and green. It is celebrated each year on March 15th throughout the United Empire of Earth (UEE).Origin
In the mid-22nd century, the United Nations of Earth (UNE) established Humanity’s first successful extraplanetary colony on Mars. This was the second attempt at colonization; the first Human colony on Mars failed late in the terraforming process when an error in the atmosphere processors led to sudden mass atmospheric collapse. 4,876 Humans died. The second attempt at a colony was largely regarded as doomed to failure. In a widely-circulated article on the potential dangers a Mars immigrant might face, Kelsey Forset of Sentinel NewsOrg simply wrote, “Don’t tempt fate.” This message was ultimately co-opted: “Tempt Fate” with “Don’t” crossed out became an unofficial slogan of the early Mars colonists.
In 2200, the UNE announced plans for an interplanetary holiday to celebrate 45 successful years of Human habitation on Mars. It would be held during the following Earth-Mars conjunction (18th March 2202) to emphasize the connection between the planets. Martian schoolchildren were invited to submit possible names for the new holiday. “Stella Fortuna” was selected from an entry provided by Estelle Priya, age 11, of Port Renatus Public School 17.
Large public carnivals sponsored by space travel and terraforming companies were held on Mars and Earth. They featured rides, food, games, and half-price tickets to attractions throughout the Sol System, from space stations on the asteroid belt to the volcanoes of Io. New parcels of land on Mars were raffled off to festival attendees, along with a ship outfitted with a quantum engine provided by Roberts Space Industries. Local businesses sold souvenirs stamped with the slogan “We Tempted Fate: Stella Fortuna 2202.” The day ended with a green and gold firework display.
Stella Fortuna was held at varying times of the year during Earth-Mars conjunctions for over a half century. In 2257, the UNE declared March 15th the official holiday. While March 18th was initially proposed, it was not selected due to conflict with another holiday - the anniversary of the first Human born on a planet other than Earth.Celebration and Traditions
Stella Fortuna has evolved from a holiday commemorating the early Mars colony to one that celebrates good fortune, boldness, tempting fate, and embarking on new business ventures. This was caused by a number of factors, but the against-all-odds success of the Mars colony combined with the long-term success of early settlers were two major influences. In particular, the families who won land during the first Stella Fortuna did a great deal to promote the idea that the holiday was associated with good luck. By the time the holiday’s final date was selected, people preparing for interplanetary trips were already asking the stars for their blessing. It became a tradition in the late 2200s for explorers to toast the stars before embarking on searches for jump points, or for people launching new business ventures to begin them on March 15th.
The largest celebrations still occur on Mars. Most businesses close for the holiday and the day after. The festival officially kicks off with a parade featuring elaborately decorated floats in the form of spaceships or stars. Celebrants clad in colorful, light-up costumes throw candy, raffle tickets, or other small prizes from atop the floats into the crowd. Carnivals filled with rides and games run throughout the day and night. Intoxicated crowds will spontaneously burst into traditional songs such as “Aim for the Stars but Strike from Mars” and “Illuminate the Way.” Marriage proposals are as common as new business ventures; the green and gold firework display that concludes the festival is a favorite time to seal the deal on business and romantic partnerships alike.