With the beginning of the Rio Olympics dominating the news around the world, the sports themselves can often take a back seat to the pomp and circumstance. Each host nation uses the beginning of the Olympics to proudly display something about themselves to the world, in a celebration of culture and history, full of symbolism which can sometimes be arcane and opaque to outsiders (who can forget US viewers utter confusion at the NHS tribute and mistaking Isambard Kingdom Brunel for Abraham Lincoln back in 2012?). The traditions of the Olympics themselves are just as prominent, from the Parade of Nations and the Olympic Flame to the Olympic Torch relay (which we’ll all conveniently forget was devised by the Nazis for the 1936 Berlin games).

These kinds of ceremonies and traditions can add colour and culture to your fictional setting, imbuing a civilisation with a sense of history, belief and custom, and avoiding a dry, functional portrayal. What do your people celebrate, and what do their traditions say about them? Continue reading