What an interesting question, my little guar.
You know, it seems hard to think of summer while in the end of autumn. The heat seems an almost distant memory now that it has gone to the comfortable cool of autumn.
There are many pastimes that are popular in the summer months. Racing is a popular sport, whether mer, or guar, or kwarma. Of course, one cannot participate themselves, but sponsoring the athlete or sending your prized animal is considered appropriate.
There is also games of skill, such as dueling, archery, song competitions, debate, and incense games. I have partaken in all of these, though my favorite is incense games.
The most popular is a game where you must match the scent to on of the 36 lessons from Vivec’s Book of Hours. It is played in rounds, with each participant taking a turn at selecting a sermon and placing the appropriate mix of scents into the brazier, hidden by a small screen so none can see what is being placed. Then everyone waits, taking in the scent and selecting one of the 36 cards which contain a line from that chapter and place it face down in front of them. Once each mer has placed their cards, everyone turns over each card and then the leader announces which is correct.
It is a difficult game for non-house mer to learn, for you must be intimately acquainted with the entire Book of Hours and know what scents correspond. That said, those master listeners are held in high regard by all and after a third tournament win, are given a special audience with Vivec himself. Such a prize is highly sought after by my people.
In some versions a set of three are placed sequentially so that you have to get three correct. In many Indoril festivals, the members of the house not participating in the competition select instead. Each round the participants must guess the set of three in the correct order. If they have any incorrect within a round, they are disqualified from continuing. If you succeed in nine consecutive rounds, you are granted an audience with Almalexia. I prefer not participating, but rather mixing the blends. It is so fun to pick the chapters that are hardest to distinguish from one another and place them next to each other. I have watched as many a confident councilmer has gone from boasting of his perception to flabbergasted to find out that not two, but all three scents have already finished.
The head priest refuses to let me select in the early rounds any longer. It is not my fault if I can end the contest a mere two or three rounds in. He should thank me for making all their jobs easier. Then again, he doesn’t particularly care for me regardless.
Poetry and calligraphy contests are also highly prestigious past times in summer. I have been encouraged not to participating in the poetry contests, however, because I apparently have too many implied sexual messages. Sometimes a poem about a butterfly and a flower is simply that. If my tone affected the hearts, minds, or desires of the judges and audience, I do not see how that is the fault of the poem. I suppose if Aunt Vivyne’s maid hadn’t lost consciousness from getting too excited while wearing such tightened undergarments I may have been simply scolded. Alas, the Temple has never let me enjoy myself.
A rather new past time that is getting popular, at least according to Avon, is Cyrodillic oil wrestling. Now, I have yet to see how the sport is played in my home, but I will tell you from what I saw in Cyrodill, is it exactly the type of sport I am looking forward to trying myself. Oil slick muscles pressing against you as you and your opponent struggle to pin the other upon the ground. How could one not be excited to try it?
There are also a lot of games of magical skill. Some deal with the concentration of the mage, the accuracy they cast with, how complicated a spell they can weave. I have witnessed a few of the games, they can be rather impressive, though most I find tedious to watch. Staring at a group of 30 mer all trying to keep a tea cup and its saucer suspended in the air without dropping it, without having it make any noise, and without any liquid spilling, is only exciting towards the end when things start to break. I don’t understand why they do not have to hold it above their own head, so that there is the pressure of having your clothing stained with tea. It would at least add an element of excitement.
Do not misunderstand, the mage games are incredibly difficult and intense competitions. They are just so much more boring to watch.
Flower arranging is an art, like shisha blending or tea ceremony, that are popular with the elder generation, but less so with those of my age. The principles that are taught often have a very traditional bent to them and many more liberal-minded Dunmer have boycotted the old schools because they want to promote a change in thinking. I have seen little success in social progress from this avenue, but it would be nice to see a shisha mistress who did not spend half the time reminding you of how much the Almsivi have done for us and need to be repaid.
There are so many pastimes these days. I shall simply have to stop there.