Counterculture/The Lone Star Republic
The Lone Star Republic, also referred to as the Lone Star, LSR, LS, or Texas, is a federal republic in south-western central North America, stretching from the Sabine River in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. It shares large land borders with the Free American Republic in the north, Mexico in the south and the Confederate States of America in the east. It also shares a small land border with the United States of America in the northeast. The nation is formed from four previously separate regions: Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, which are now all incorporated into the Lone Star Republic. The Lone Star also has a group of 37 territories collectively referred to as the Lone Star Indian Territories. A Lone Star citizen is usually identified as a Texian, although those from California are sometimes refered to as Californians. A citizen from one of the territories is usually identified as an Indian.
The Lone Star Republic traces its national origin to the declaration by Texas in 1866 that it was a free and independent nation from the Confederate States of America.
The Lone Star Republic was founded under a tradition of having the rule come from the people under the representative democracy model.
Following the end of the Confederate Revolution Texas, which did not have the number of slave owners that the rest of the Confederate States did, balked at the quantity and degree of abuses the black slaves faced between 1864 and 1866.
Sam Houston, a venerable Texas politican, began the work of secession from the the Confederate States by forging an alliance with the United States president George McClellan who assured political and economic support for the would be nation in return for the guarantee that it would be a slave-free nation. Sam Houston also forged an alliance with many of the Indian nations throughout the region, assuring the defense of the northern borders in return for semi-autonomous territories where the Indians could govern themselves.
Sam Houston became the first President of the Lone Star Republic when it declared itself a sovereign nation in February of 1866. The Western American War began with the Northwest Confederacy invasion of the Lone Star Republic in April of 1866 and ended the following year in May of 1867, during which the alliances Sam Houston had formed kept the Lone Star intact.
The Constitution of the Lone Star Republic, a mixture of the Constitutions of the Republic of Texas and the Constitution of the the United States of America was ratified in June of 1867 by the citizens of Texas and the Council of Chiefs of the Lone Star Indian Territories in 1887.
There were a number of border skirmishes with Mexico during the later half of the 1860's which lead to the former US state of California joining with the Lone Star Republic in February of 1870. In March of 1870 the US territories of both Arizona and New Mexico were also incorporated into the Republic. California alone retains a broad regional government between the local and federal levels.
The Lone Star Republic consists of four main regions (Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona) and a set of 37 territories, collectively known as the Lone Star Indian Territories. California alone amongst the regions retains a regional government. The Lone Star Indian Territories have very extensive but limited autonomy. What federal law there is takes precedence over laws within California. To a lesser degree this is also true with the territories. In general, matters that lie entirely within local or territory borders are the exclusive concern of local or territory governments. Local laws include internal communications; regulations relating to property, industry, business, and public utilities; the local or territory criminal code.
The federal government itself consists of three branches: the executive branch (headed by the President), the legislative branch (the Congress), and the judicial branch (headed by the High Court). The President is elected by the process of a nation-wide popular vote. The various legislators are chosen by popular vote of all citizens of the LSR and the territories. All members of the executive and legislative branches are elected for terms of five years and can not succeed themselves. Congress meets for only about four months out of the year, a much shorter term than in most industrial nations. Justices of the High Court are appointed by the President and, if ratified by the Congress, serve for life. This tripartite model of government is sometimes duplicated for the local governments, but there is a great deal of variance. The California region also has such a model. Models of government are much more varied in the territories.
The federal, regional and local governments are dominated by two political parties, the Free Soil Party and Labor Party. Given their complex support bases it is difficult to specifically categorize the two major parties' appeal. Within the Lone Star's political culture, the Free Soil Party is described as socially moderate-permissive and economically permissive whereas the Labor Party is described as socially moderate and economically restrictive. Minor party and independent candidates are occasionally elected, usually to local office, but the Lone Star's political system has historically supported "catch-all parties" rather than coalition governments. The ideology and policies of the sitting President of the Lone Star do not tend to play as large a role in determining the direction of his political party as in the United States or Confederate States.
Political parties in the Lone Star do not have formal "leaders," although there are complex hierarchies within the political parties that form various executive committees. Party ideology remains very individually-driven, with a diverse spectrum of moderates, centrists, and radicals within each party.
The two parties exist on the federal and local levels, although the parties' organization, platform, and ideologies are not necessarily uniform across all levels of government.
Both major parties draw some support from across the diverse socio-economic classes which compose the multi-ethnic capitalist society which makes up the Lone Star Republic. Business interests provide the bulk of financial support to both parties, favoring the Free Soil Party heavily. The Labor Party receives more support from labor unions and minority ethnic groups. Because federal elections in the Lone Star are not nearly as expensive as they are in the United States, access to funds is not as vital in the political system. Thus corporations, unions, and other organized groups that provide funds and political support to parties and politicians play a smaller role in determining political agendas and government decision-making.
At the time of the birth of the Lone Star Republic, Texas became the body of the state, initially connected in a loose confederation with the Indian Territories. In 1870, the body of Texas grew with the incorporation of the former regions of California, New Mexico and Arizona. Since New Mexico and Arizona were added, they have mostly lost regional identity. California, however, has retained a regional cohesion and is sometimes refered to as the Californian state. The Lone Star is also divided into smaller administrative regions: counties, cities and townships.
The Lone Star Indian Territories are a collection of 37 seperate territories, which are united under a Council of Chiefs. The Indian Territories take up most of the northern border of the Lone Star Republic with some pockets inside of each of the four primary regions. The largest of the Lone Star Indian Territories is the North Indian Territory, often referred to as Indian Territory or IT. The second largest of the territories is the West Texas Indian Territory, often referred to as West Texas, the West Territory, or WT. Both the North Indian Territory and West Texas Indian Territory were official at the beginning of the Lone Star Republic. The remaining 35 territories are much smaller and officially joined the Lone Star Republic between 1872 and 1964.
Central Texas is an area in Texas, also referred to as the Texas Hill Country. The area is roughly bordered by a line running from Austin to San Antonio to Uvalde to Junction to Lampasas and back to Austin.
Central Texas, along with many other parts of Texas, busts the western movie stereotype of Texas being all plains and prairie. The rolling hills of Central Texas are full of huge Bur oak trees along with plenty of Ashe Juniper and Mesquite. The clear, cool spring fed rivers and creeks are lined with towering Baldcypress trees and are a welcome relief in the hot Texas summer as are the many lakes.
In the summer, one of the favorite activities is floating down a creek or river in an inner tube. In spring, it's time to drive the winding backroads and take in the rainbow of colors produced by the blooming wildflowers including Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. In fall and winter, the hunters visit in hopes of taking home a white-tail deer.
A couple of the favorite local cuisines are barbecue and a cheesier, greasier version of traditional Mexican food lovingly referred to as Tex-Mex.
According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone County and then southeastward to Galveston Bay", though some separate the Gulf Coast area into a separate region. This area includes all or parts of 49 counties, totalling almost 40,000 square miles and a population of almost 6 million.
The geography is composed mainly of the Piney Woods, a mixed forest of deciduous and conifer flora. The Piney woods cover 23,500 square miles of gently rolling or hilly forested land. These woods are part of a much larger region of pine-hardwood forest that extends into the Confederate States of America. The Piney Woods thin out as it nears the Gulf of Mexico. East Texas lies within the Gulf Coastal Plain and receives more rainfall, 35 to 50 inches, than the rest of Texas. The climate is mild and ranges from temperate to sub-tropical. In Houston the average January temperature is 50.4ºF (10.2ºC) and the average July temperature is 82.6ºF (28.1ºC), however Houston has slightly warmer winters than most of East Texas.
The Sabine River and Trinity River are the major rivers in East Texas, but the Brazos River and Red River also flow through the region. The Brazos cuts through the southwest portion of the region while the Red River forms its northern border with the heart of the Indian Territories. In East Texas and the rest of the South, small rivers and creeks collect into swamps called "Bayous" and merge with the surrounding forest. Bald cypress and Spanish moss are the dominate plants in Bayous. The most famous of these bayous are Cypress Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. Cypress Bayou surrounds the Big, Little, and Black Cypress rivers around Jefferson. They flow east into Caddo Lake and the adjoing wetlands cover the rim and islands of the lake. Most of Buffalo Bayou was cleared to create the Houston Ship Channel, the remaining portions of Buffalo Bayou are in Downtown Houston.
North Texas is a distinct cultural and geographic area. North Texas is generally considered to include the area south of the Indian Territories, east of Abilene, Texas, and north of Waco, Texas. North Texas does not include the Panhandle of Texas, despite the fact that it extends farther north.
North Texas is centered upon the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the largest metropolitan area in Texas. People in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas sometimes use the terms "Metroplex" and "North Texas" interchangeably. However, North Texas actually refers to a much larger area that includes many rural counties.
The New Mexico region has a southern border with Mexico, an eastern border with Texas (103°), and a western border with the Arizona region (109°). The landscape ranges from rose-colored deserts to mountains that are snow-capped most of the year. Despite New Mexico's arid image, forests cover a significant portion of the region.
Llano Estacado is a region in the northern LSR that encompasses parts of northeastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. It is a large mesa, or tableland, and relatively flat over most of its terrain. It is bounded on the north by the Canadian River and on the east by the Caprock Escarpment and on the west by the Mescalero Escarpment.
Llano Estacado is Spanish for "staked plains." It is the southern end of the Great Plains and is part of what was once called the Great American Desert. The term staked plain arose after Spanish conquistador Francisco Coronado and his troops encountered this "sea of grass". Most authorities believe that the term originates from the stockade-like appearance of the geologic formations which form its boundaries, while some believe that Coronado and his men drove wooden stakes into the ground so that they could find their way out of the tall prairie grass. However, later explorers found markers of stones, buffalo bones, and dung, not wooden stakes.
It should be noted that the horses of the conquistadors were the first to return to the Great Plains since their extinction in North America eons earlier, and that some horses would escape, thus giving horses to some of the Indian tribes in the succeeding centuries. Before this, the dog was their largest domesticated animal.
Llano Estacado is also the name of an award-winning winery in Lubbock, Texas.
North Indian Territory
The North Indian Territory is a land of flat, fertile plains and low hills. Oil and natural gas wells can be seen thoughout much of the territory. It is the largest of the Lone Star Indian Territories and is often referred to simply as Indian Territory. The Indian Territory plains also host large herds of cattle and vast wheat fields. The geographical landscape is comprised of 10 separate land regions.
The Ozark Plateau, in the northeastern part of the territory, is an extension of the Confederate states of South Missiouri and Arkansas landscape. It's marked by rivers with steep valley walls separated by broad flat areas.
West and south of the Ozark Plateau lies the region known as the Prairie Plains. This area produces most of the territory's coal and a great deal of oil. Cattle graze on the Prairie Plains and farms in the Arkansas River Valley, east of Muskogee, produce spinach, beans, and carrots.
On the border of Arkansas, in the southeastern part of Indian Territory, are the Ouachita Mountains. These sandstone ridges, running east to west, form the roughest land in the territory. Spring-fed streams run through narrow valleys between the ridges.
In the north central part of the North Indian Territory, extending south from the Kansas border to the Red River, is the Sandstone Hills Region. The Sandstone Hills are from 250 to 400 feet high. Some are covered with Blackjack and Post Oak forests. It was in this region that early oil development commenced.
The Arbuckle Mountains comprise an area of about 1,000 square miles in south-central North Indian Territory. The low mountains rise about 600 to 700 feet above the plains. Unusual rock formations have been created by erosion in the mountains. The area is used for cattle grazing.
The Wichita Mountains are found in the southwestern part of the territory.
The Red River Valley Region, along the Texas border, is characterized by rolling prairie. Some forested hills can also be found in the area. The soil is sandy and fertile. Cotton, peanuts, and vegetables are grown in this region.
To the west of the Sand Hills, are the Red Beds Plains. The largest land region in the North Indian Territory, the Red Beds Plains stretch from the Kansas border in the north, south through the center of the territory. The Red Beds Plains slope upward from east to west. In the east are some forested areas. In the west the region is covered with grass.
The Gypsum Hills lie west of the Red Beds Plains and extend north to the High Plains in the northwestern part of the North Indian Territory. The Gypsum Hills are low (150 to 200 feet) hills capped with 15 to 20 foot layers of gypsum. The Gypsum Hills sparkle in the sunlight because of their gypsum content and, because of this, are sometimes called the Glass Hills.
The High Plains, in northwestern North Indian Territory, are level grasslands. The High Plains rise from about 2,000 feet above sea level in the east to 4,973 feet above sea level at Black Mesa in the west. This region includes the North Indian Panhandle, the strip of land 166 miles long and only 34 miles wide between the Free American Republic and Kansas in the north and Texas in the south.
West Texas Indian Territory
The West Texas Indian Territory is a region in Texas which has more in common geographically with New Mexico than it does with East Texas and North Texas. It is the second largest of the Indian Territories.
This Indian Territory has a much lower population density than the rest of the region and is mostly inhabited by tribes such as the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa. Many of the people who currently populate West Texas are migrants from other parts of Texas.
West Texas receives much less rainfall than the rest of Texas and has an arid or semi-arid climate, requiring most of its agriculture to be dependent on irrigation. Much of West Texas has rugged terrain including several small mountain ranges while there are none in other parts of the region. West Texas contains part of the Chihuahuan desert and also the Southern Great Plains, known as the Llano Estacado. Due to their smaller numbers, many West Texans feel politically isolated from the rest of the region. Major industries include livestock production, petroleum and natural gas production, cotton and grain farming.
The Colorado Plateau: The Colorado Plateau covers the northern 2/5 of the Arizona region. This area is characterized by a broad, mostly flat, level land interrupted by occasional soaring mountains and deep canyons. The Colorado River runs through the Colorado Plateau carving the deepest canyon in the area, the Grand Canyon. Other notable canyons, cut by tributaries of the Colorado River, are the Canyon de Chelly and Oak Creek Canyon. The highest point in Colorado is also located in the Colorado Plateau area. Humphreys Peak climbs 12,633 feet above sea level near Flagstaff. Some of the mountains are forested but the area is also marked by dry desert areas.
Monument Valley lies in the northeast Colorado Plateau Region along the Utah border. Monument Valley is an area of steep buttes, mesas and pinnacles standing defiantly above a flat plain. 10,000,000 years of erosion have created a breathtaking landscape. Black Mesa, one of the largest geological formations in Arizona is found on the Colorado Plateau along with the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest.
The southern edge of the Colorado Plateau is bordered by the Mogollon Rim, a steep wall almost 2,000 feet high in some places, that runs from central Arizona to the Mogollon Mountains in New Mexico.
The Transition Zone: Just south of the Colorado Plateau and north of the Arizona Basin and Ridge Region lies the aptly named Transition Zone. This narrow strip of land is characterized by a rugged series of mountain ranges and valleys. The Mazatzal, Santa Maria, Sierra Ancha, and White mountain ranges are found in the Transition Zone along with the Salt River Canyon.
The Basin and Ridge Region: South of the Transition Zone, and occupying a small strip of land along the western border with California, the Basin and Ridge Region of Arizona is characterized by mountain ranges running from the northwest in a southeasterly direction. These mountain ranges, with names like Chiricahua, Gila, Huachuca, Hualapai, Pinaleno, Santa Catalina, Santa Rita, and Superstition are separated by low fertile valleys. When there is enough water, these valleys are capable of sustaining crops such as lettuce, cotton, citrus and melons.
California borders the Pacific Ocean, Arizona, the Free American Republic, the Canadian province of Oregon, and the Mexican State of Baja California. The state has striking natural features, including a huge fertile central valley, high mountains, and hot dry deserts. With an area of 370,000 km² it is the second largest region in the Lone Star Republic. Most major cities cling to the cool, pleasant seacoast along the Pacific, notably San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
California has many types of geography. Down the center of the region lies the Central Valley, a huge, fertile valley bounded by the coastal mountain ranges in the west, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. Mountain-fed rivers naturally irrigate the Central Valley. With dredging, several of these rivers have become sufficiently large and deep that several inland cities, notably Stockton, California, are seaports.
In the center and east of the region are the Sierra Nevada, containing the highest peak in North America, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4421 m). Also in the Sierra is the world famous Yosemite National Park and a deep freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe. To the east of the Sierra is the Owens Valley and Mono Lake, an essential seabird habitat.
In the south lie the Transverse Ranges and a large salt lake, the Salton Sea. The south-central desert is called the Mojave. To the northeast of the Mojave lies Death Valley, which contains the lowest, hottest point in North America.
California is famous for its earthquakes due partly to the presence of the San Andreas Fault. While more powerful earthquakes in North America, California earthquakes are notable due to their frequency and location in highly populated areas. Popular legend has it that, eventually, an earthquake known as "The Big One" will result in the splitting of coastal California from the continent, either to sink into the ocean or form a new landmass. The fact that this scenario is completely implausible from a geologic standpoint does not lessen its acceptance in public conventional wisdom, or its exploitation by the producers of science fiction and fantasy media.
California is also home to several volcanoes, some active such as Mammoth Mountain. Other volcanoes include Lassen Peak, which erupted from 1914 and 1921.
The economy of the Lone Star Republic is organized primarily on a capitalist model, with minor government regulation in some industries. There are also some social welfare programs like Social Security and Medical Care, though nothing as large and comprehensive as in the United States. Such departures from a pure free-market economy have generally increased since the early 1920s, with the growth of the Labor Party, but are less pronounced in the Lone Star than in other industrialized countries.
At the beginning of 1995, all the member countries of the American Union coupled their currency. The AU dollar is now second only to the EU euro on the global market.
The country has rich mineral resources, with extensive gold, oil, coal, and uranium deposits. Successful farm industries rank the country high among the top producers of, among others, corn and wheat. The LS manufacturing sector produces, among other things, cars, airplanes, and electronics. The biggest industry is now service; about two-thirds of LS residents are employed in that sector.
The largest trading partner of the Lone Star Republic is its northern neighbor, the Free American Republic. Other major partners are the other countries of the American Union, the European Union and the industrialized nations in Asia, such as Japan, India, and South Korea. Trade with China is also significant.
In 2002, the Lone Star Republic was ranked as the 10th most visited tourist destination in the world. Its 13.9 million visits trailed only Canada and the Free American Republic amongst the nations of the North America.
To link its territories, the Lone Star Republic has built a vast network of roads, of which the most important aspect is the Lone Star highway system. Texans are renowned for their "car-crazy" lifestyle and the sprawling car-oriented design of their cities. Texas has the largest reserves of oil in North America, which has fueled this pattern.
Air travel is preferred for destinations outside of the Lone Star Republic.
Ethnicity and race
Texans, in part due to categories decided by the LSR government, generally describe themselves as being either multi-ethnic or one of five ethnic groups: White, sometimes called Caucasian; Black, often called Negros; Hispanic; Asian, frequently specified as Chinese, Korean, etc.; and Indian, frequently specified as Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, etc.
These groups leave a great deal of room for ambiguity, as, for example, Middle Easterners could choose between Europe and Asia, neither of which they belong to; the category Asian is popularly identified with East Asia, rather than Southwest Asia. It also fails to fully seperate Hispanic into either native Indians or people of colonial descent. Furthermore, for the census, citizens are allowed to choose multiple categories, which reveals the multi-ethnic heritage of most Texans and puts the total percent well over 100.
About 56.3 percent percent of the 90 million people currently living in the Lone Star Republic descend from European immigrants. Major components of the European segment of the Lone Star's population are descended from immigrants from Spain (12 percent), Germany (9 percent), Italy (8 percent), Ireland (7 percent), England (7 percent), with many immigrants also coming from Slavic countries (8 percent), or other European countries (5 percent).
Hispanics from Mexico and South and Central America are considered the largest minority group in the country, comprising 30.8 percent of the population in 2002.
The aboriginal population of Indians such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, make up 19.7 percent of the population as of 2002.
About 11.6 percent of the Lone Star's people are Blacks, many of whom are descendants of the enslaved Africans brought to North America between the 1620s and 1800s. There has been in recent years a large influx of African immigrants to the Lone Star due to the instability in political and economic opportunities in various nations in Africa.
About 6.4 percent of the population is comprised of Asians, most of whom are concentrated in California.
As of 2004, the distribution for major religions in the Lone Star Republic was as follows: Protestant (41 percent), Roman Catholic (36 percent), Indian religions (9 percent), "none" (5 percent), Mormon (5 percent), Muslim (1 percent), Buddhist (1 percent), Jewish (1 percent) and Hindu (.8 percent). An additional 0.3 to 0.5 percent, each, are professed agnostics and atheists. The largest single religious denomination in the Lone Star Republic is the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Mormons.
The Lone Star Republic, as a developed nation, is noteworthy for its high level of Christian religious devotion. However, the percentage of Texans calling themselves Christian has declined somewhat in recent years from 80.2 percent in 1990 to 72.5 percent in 2001.
In terms of relative wealth, most LS residents enjoy a standard of personal economic wealth that is greater than that known in most of the world. For example 67.9 percent of LS households owned their dwellings in 2002. However, there is also a considerable amount of poverty in the Lone Star with 16.1% of the population living below the poverty level.
The social structure of the Lone Star is somewhat stratified, with a significant class of very wealthy individuals, which are often alleged to hold disproportionate cultural and political influence. However, social mobility is a well-known concept in Texas, considered part of the "American dream", in that even someone born into a poor family can rise to join the upper classes. How often this actually occurs is a matter of debate. The nation's Gini coefficient of 41.8 percent (measuring income inequalities) is the third highest of North America (after the Confederate States and Mexico).
Lone Star Republic culture has had a smaller influence on the rest of the world than most of the countries of North America. That said, San Francisco and Houston are leaders within the LS play host to the gamut of human intellectual and artistic endeavor, offering classical and popular music; historical, scientific and art research centers and museums; dance performances, musicals and plays; outdoor art projects and internationally significant architecture. This development is a result of both contributions by private philanthropists and government funding.
The Constitution of the Lone Star Republic makes provision for the rights of freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of religion, trial by jury, and protection from "cruel and unusual punishment." The Lone Star accepts many immigrants and has laws against racial and other forms of discrimination and other protections for minority groups.
Nevertheless, the Lone Star has at times been criticized for violations of human rights, including racial discrimination in trials and sentences, police abuses, excessive and unwarranted incarceration, and the imposition of the death penalty. In 2001, Human Rights Watch issued a report stating that Lone Star Republic had "made little progress in embracing international human rights standards at home."
The citizens of the Lone Star Republic have a prediliction for handling private disputes without resorting to courts. Duels are legal and an accepted form of handling quarrels. One notable and memorable example is when Vice President Timothy Sparrow challenged President Andrew Smith in 1922, claiming that Andrew Smith had misled both him and the people of the Lone Star concerning his intentions on the Labor Wars. Timothy Sparrow shot and killed Andrew Smith in a duel and took the position of President of the Lone Star Republic.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the proclivity to vigilantism, the Lone Stars' homicide rate is lower than most other industrialized nations, especially the Confederate States.
Routine infant male circumcision is legal and widely practiced, which has attracted some controversy over recent years.
A number of Texas-based corporations, have spread to many other countries, some of which have displayed resentment at the spread of Texan culture. McDonald's particularly has been the subject of protest and even acts of vandalism.
Despite being only 1.5% of the world's population, the Lone Star Republic consumes 9% of the world's power. In terms of per capita usage, the LS ranks sixth.
|January 1||New Year's Day||Beginning of year, marks traditional end of "holiday season."|
|February 2||Independence Day||Celebrates Lone Star Republic's Declaration of Independence, usually called the Second of February.|
|May 1||Labor Day||Celebrates achievements of workers, marks traditional end of summer.|
|May, last Monday||Memorial Day||Honors servicemen and women who died in service, marks traditional beginning of summer.|
|October, second Monday||Indian Day||Honors the Indians and their contributions to the Lone Star Republic. Held in place of Columbus Day, which most of the rest of North America celebrates.|
|November 11||Veterans' Day||Traditional observation of a moment of silence at 11 a.m. remembering those who fought for peace.|
|November, fourth Thursday||Thanksgiving||Day of thanks which marks the traditional beginning of the "holiday season."|
|December 25||Christmas||Celebrates the nativity of Jesus.|
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