In Lath, most people worship multiple gods. It is believed that there are many different gods, and most would not think twice about the mention of a god they have not heard of. People just assume there are so many gods that there is no way for them to have heard of them all. Temples/churches are built in just about every town. Though they are built to specific gods, it is not uncommon for people to pray to different gods within a temple. It would not be considered offensive to pray to Athena in a temple to Ral, for example.
The concept of Heaven and Hell is very different from what most of us would think. Heaven is not above them nor is hell below them. For them, it is common knowledge that both the Heavens and the Hells are all around them, just not in a physical sense. More, they believe that it exists just outside of their senses but is everywhere. It is sort of like they are in a parallel universe that can view theirs but they can not view it. They are not in the same parallel universe, though. The Hells can also see the living/mortal world, but can not see Heaven, and vice versa.
The Heavens are also not where you go when you die. The Heavens are where only the gods live. The Hells are a different story. The Hells are where a soul goes when it dies. There are ten levels in the Hells, but they having nothing to do with how good or bad of a person you were. The levels have to do with how prepared the soul is to be reborn. Souls that are angry, still have unfinished business, or are just plain not ready to die usually stay in the first layer. Some can see these souls (usually referred to as spirits or ghosts) freely and help them pass on. On the "Night of the Dead", it is believed that these wondering souls can cross back into the living world. As they fulfill their last desires and/or accept their fate, these spirits go to the next level in the Hells, become no longer visible, and eventually are reborn.
Over the years, temples have become places to seek free healing, shelter, settle legal disputes, and learn. Temples have always offered help to those that need it, including taking in orphans and caring for hurt animals. Travelers often use them for their cheep or free healing services and beds. Temples are also where many nobles send their children to be educated. Though temples will give anyone a basic education if requested, paid classes offer a much broader education and are largely reserved for the rich. Since basic reading, writing, and math skill are taught to everyone, Lath has a very high literacy rate. Almost 50% of the population can read at a second or third grade level.
Most temples function separately from the main governments, though almost all governments give money to the places of worship. This is because temples have been known to rally people and topple governments without hurting themselves at all. They have a great amount of influence in the community and function entirely on their own from the surrounding world. Those in power know not to cross them unless absolutely sure the people will not rebel.
The gods are not viewed as perfect, just really, really powerful. The gods have personalities and make mistakes (similar to the gods in Greek mythology). There are many stories of both good and bad things the gods have done and had happen to them. Many also tell of times when the gods have appeared as mortals and spoken with special or "chosen" people who are to preform a great task.Ral: God of the sun. He is the "king" of the gods, so to speak. Basically, he is in charge and the father of most of the other gods. Ral is married to Lunenn. His priests are one of the very few who are required to be celibate.
The beginning of the Alyidean new year starts in the middle of spring. Why? Because there is one big world wide event that can be seen by anyone in the upperlands: the three moons. All three moons can only be visible for only 15 days out of the whole year. Since everyone can see it, most people mark it as the beginning of the new year. Thus, their calender begins in the middle of spring on the first night all these moons are visible.
It is also important to note that there are 13 months in the Aliydean year. Each has 28 days and the world does not have any leap years (or at least any marked by the people).
There are many small holidays celebrated by different groups of people and are unique to certian people and areas. These are the larger holidays celebrated by most of the people of Lath.Three Moon festival