Solstice Report: A Busy Spring Culminates in Tin Jubilee

It seems that every season that passes has its own character, its own flair. If one word, or maybe two, could best characterise this past season, filled as it was with so much excitement and joy both for the ability to be with friends and loved ones again and also for the momentous occasion of the Tin Jubilee, then that word would be “regal” or “noble.” Of course, they were literally those things: this season saw so much preparation and excitement for the jubilee of the monarch and our monarchy. But the words truly must refer to the spirit of the occasion and the feeling of nobility.

So much work this season has emphasised what our nobility and what our monarchy mean to Sandus on more than a honorary level. In April, after thinking longer on what defines and gives purpose to the Sandum nobility more than just honour is the duty of that the honour bestows. From the newest decree that governs our homegrown system of nobility, nobles are defined by and serve hospitality for all citizens. This new law of hospitality, so simple yet profound, in a sense does not obligate us anymore than what we already do: it is a law, a convention, precisely because it is our longest habit and tradition, to offer hospitality wherever and whenever possible.

The best example of this can be found in this Spring’s Tin Jubilee that marked the Sôgmô’s ten years on the throne of the State of Sandus. Many friends and guests from across the micronational sphere and across Ann Arbour, our capital, were invited to celebrate in the occasion that was an expensive yet worthwhile undertaking. And what for?, other than to have culture and a celebration befitting not just of our micronation but also of our present circumstances in life. Who can say, after more than a year in quarantine and isolation, that hospitality and friendship are not needed? They are what make us human.

As we turn now to the Summer and to other affairs, we see much of the same but also now a commitment to finish long awaited projects. We know that we will finish them because we must finish them: they require the planning, labour, and effort of all Sandum citizens.

From jubilee to jubilation: Sandus now prepares to celebrate its annual LGBTQ+ Pride Week.

Charity Taxes: Up from Winter, Fewer Respondents

Only four citizens have declared charity taxes, which are an obligation for Sandum citizens, though frequently citizens respond following the publication of the Solstice report—which is always permitted and always encouraged! Though respondents for the Spring (6) are fewer than in Winter (4), charity taxes are in fact slightly up at $3,214.66 USD compared to $2,749.46 in the Winter and significantly higher than last year’s Spring at $2,167.82. Volunteer hours are also up slightly from the Winter at 261 hours compared to 222 hours, while last year volunteer hours skyrocketed after the onset of the pandemic to 442 hours.

The objectives of Sandum charity included religious organisations, relief aid programs, political causes, hospitals, homelessness outreach, environmentalism, and relief to North American indigenous peoples. In addition to money and time, several Sandum citizens donated clothing to charity as well as furniture, household items, and other handmade items.

Charity taxes remain one of the hallmarks of Sandum activity and are a cornerstone of our country’s humanism. Numbers are still going strong but we hope to have reach greater completion of charity taxes both now and in the future. If you have not yet responded, you can declare your charity taxes here.

Sandus Celebrates Þess Tin Jubilee

Sandus celebrated the Sôgmô’s Tin Jubilee on 13 June 2021, commemorating the monarch’s tenth anniversary of their reign under the present constitution of the State of Sandus. Events took part over two days, 12 and 13 June, with the latter date being the official “Jubilee Day” falling two months after the actual date, the Day of Creation (13 April).

One of two diplomatic receptions to celebrate the Sôgmô’s jubilee.

Two diplomatic receptions were had on 12 June that were focused on Sandus’s relationship with French- and English-speaking micronations. Invitation lists were kept small and few micronations responded, but the Sôgmô was joined by monarchs from across Sandus’s wide diplomatic arena, such as our social partner Überstadt, our OMF partner Hélianthis, and our regional Great Lakes partners Slabovia and Pibocip. Many who could not attend expressed their regrets but also their best wishes for the Sôgmô’s anniversary.

On 13 June, Jubilee Day, citizens and friends of the Sôgmô arrived at the Appartement du Sôgmô in the early afternoon for a calm and relaxing Royal Tea that had a small guest list because of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tea was a largely informal affair with guests wearing their “Sunday best” and featured a wide array of dishes from bruschetta au chèvre to jambon-beurre and salade aux œufs tea sandwiches, together with a Victoria Sandwich cake and a wide array of fruits and teas.

In the evening for the Soirée, guests departed for a few hours to freshen up and change into evening wear. The Homard and the Homaressa both arrived in glamorous evening fashion featuring a tuxedo and a cocktail dress. Everyone gathered around and watched in shear amazement at the showing of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony no. 9 “From the New World.” The meal was light for the Soirée—rustic breads, crackers, meats, escalivada, cheeses, and butter—but heavy on the beverages. Several types of wine and mixed drinks—such royal favourites as the Old Fashioned and the Filibuster—were served with sparkling wines and limonello as a digestif. At the end of the evening, the royal household served a Blue Velvet cake specially decorated for the occasion with the Sôgmô’s blason.

Between the two events, guests travelled home to freshen up or stayed at the royal flat for a short siesta. Everyone

Preparations for the jubilee have been long underway since the Winter season, but have especially gained traction since April and May. All across Sandus citizens planned and participated in preparing for the jubilee. The Duchess of Bellevue, Baroness Rosewood Kara, both a Sandum citizen and Überstadti royal, arranged and gifted the Sôgmô a floral arrangement to celebrate þess jubilee. Other citizens shared similar gifts with the Sôgmô in the lead-up to jubilee day, and friends and allies from around the world also shared similar gifts and statements of solidarity and best wishes with the Sôgmô, the Sandum people, and the royal family.

The Tin Jubilee has become an historical event and historic milestone for the State of Sandus not only because of the significance of the day, but also because the event itself represented the quirky eclectic yet flexible side of our country. All the events featured the very best of the State of Sandus and its culture as well as its hospitality. The very fact that our country celebrated the Tin Jubilee, which is not an occasion celebrated in other macronational countries and was celebrated (by our reckoning, at the very least) as a jubilee, represents the very best of our creativity and of our country’s constructivist vision.

Preparations Underway for Royal Wedding

After the Tin Jubilee, attention in the Royal Family now turns to the wedding of the Sôgmô and Sanôba that will take place on 25 September, just after the end of the Summer on 22 September. The event itself is a private affair, decidedly not a state affair, though the wedding will be visited by King Adam I of Überstadt, the Homard and Homaressa, and other Sandum citizens as guests.

The ceremony itself will last less than an hour at a local Buddhist temple in Ann Arbour where the Sôgmô and the Sanôba will give offerings to the Three Jewels, prostrate, and will recite prayers and make their marriage vows. Readings will be made that reflect the royal couple’s religious and philosophical and cultural backgrounds, and both will sign their official macronational marriage certificate following the ceremony. Immediately after, all guests, the two houses of Soergel and Armstrong, and Sandum citizens will hold a private luncheon to celebrate their marriage, following by a more public and informal reception closer to their home.

It is unclear how the country will celebrate their wedding and what events, if any, will take place. The royal wedding also raises the question of how marriages are solemnised and what standing or rights and privileges, if any, a wedded couple has in Sandus. To date, the only guidance on the matter has been cultural with a Sagamorial Consideration on proposed alternatives for ceremonies that celebrate and solemnise major life events. Since marriages currently convey no rights or privileges in Sandus, it is unlikely that new laws will be created allowing for legal marriages in the State of Sandus, but culturally such events and ceremonies may be solemnised.

The royal wedding will, however, be only the second wedding to involve a Sandum citizen; the first was C. Flavius Ithacus’s wedding in June 2019 before he became the Homard in February 2020. His wife, the Homaressa Dame Natalie Ritsema, became a Sandum citizen later.

It will be unclear if or how a socialist commitment ceremony will be celebrated in Sandus.

Major Updates to Common Economy, Council Rules, & “Adjacency” Expected This Summer

The Central People’s Government is tackling three major projects this Summer that will affect the constitution of the State of Sandus in the first largest reforms since the establishment of the Council in 2015.

The first is the long awaited reforms to the Common Economy that will normalise the two economies of Sandus and Überstadt. Both countries’ economies were formally unified into a single economy on 10 January 2020 and a treaty normalising the framework and institutions of both economies was planned for early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Those plans stalled for more than a year until this Spring when negotiations started again to address and to discuss what a shared, or common, economy will look like between both Social System states.

In the past season, the Honourable Sôgmô and King Adam I of Überstadt outlined and began drafting the Second Common Economy Treaty, which will further codify the role of the Commission for the Common Economy (CCE) and create new law on economic organizations. The CCE, composed of the heads of government of Sandus and Überstadt and their economy ministers (the Party Secretary in the case of Sandus), will be tasked with creating binding standards for worker rights, providing strategic guidance to cooperatives and enterprises, and governing common enterprises (see below). The draft treaty provides for three types of economic organization in the Common Economy: coöperatives, which will be formed and governed by workers; state enterprises, which will be the property of their establishing government; and common enterprises, which will be joint ventures between the Common Economy states. The Sôgmô and King anticipate concluding the treaty in the following weeks, being ratified and entering effect before the end of the summer.

Just as pressing are the rules and procedures that govern the Council that were first made necessary in the Winter. These rules will standardise the Council’s administration and provide a clearer and more accesible avenue for Sandum citizens to advocate for policy and law in the State of Sandus. This document will also dictate how the new Speaker of the Council is elected, reëlected, and recalled, and foresees the possible creation of other officials in the Council who will oversee other duties such as archival work. For years, the Council has worked with various ad hoc rules that have been changed from time to time but now a movement has grown in Sandus to regularise how the Council works to ease the burden on citizens who are hoping to be involved.

Finally, the Sôgmô is preparing a decree promised at the Blue Lecture last year to create a status of “adjacency,” akin to residency in many other countries, that will be a flexible status to recognise when a person has taken part in Sandum events and culture for some time. The status will also allow for an easier time to becoming a Sandum citizen, and will redefine the status of a peregrine citizen that has been relatively unchanged since March 2012.

A Quirky Sandum Summer After a Quirky Year

The last year has certainly been a wild, unexpected, and nervous experience for everyone. Sandus has no immunity from the things that affect our immediate friends, family, community—or even our macronations. But our micronation exists as a locus of resistance where the world we envision can take form and the agency we so need can flourish. This summer previews many changes since last year’s upheaval but great Sandum response to the challenge of the pandemic. Now that things are returning to a new “normal,” however, we know that things will take a new form.

The Klatsches that flourished under the isolation imposed by the pandemic will likely change. While no firm changes have yet been made, there is a community ground swell to reduce the number of Klatsches from biweekly to monthly and in response to ongoing events in the State of Sandus and/or to holidays. In addition, the Sôgmô has expressed their hope and intention to have more impromptu chats on weekends and weekday nights for the summer to continue to sustain both the State’s work and also the social fabric that many citizens have come to rely on and enjoy since the advent of the pandemic.

This season will likely see some themed parties that the Sôgmô will put on. For the third year in a row, the Royal Family will join with the Homard’s family in celebrating a “Christmas in July” party. In the past, they have enjoyed beef Wellington, goose, and Mary Washington’s gingerbread cake, but this year the theme has turned retro—to the 50s and 60s and may overlap as a birthday party for the Sanôba whose birthday is in late July. For Pride, plans stand to have a slightly informal potluck party with fellow LGBTQ+ people in Ann Arbour with a fruit-themed party. The tongue-in-cheek party will be the country’s first opportunity to celebrate Pride in person together for the first time since the pandemic. Finally, for Lammas, the Sôgmô is planning a similarly themed bread party, also a potluck, where guests can bring a bread of their choosing and a topping for it.

Fun and games aside, on 14 July the Fraternal Annonary Order of the Wooden Bowl will hold its first events on Chökhor Düchen. The meeting, which will be online, will include a Quaker style discussion about charity, philanthropy, and compassion and will include needed conversations about the role of humanity in micronationalism. Chökhor Düchen, which is the order’s only administrative holiday, is the Tibetan Buddhist holiday (düchen) that commemorates the Buddha turning the wheel of the Dharma (chökhor) by giving his first sermon at Sarnath. This year Chökhor Düchen coincides with the Feast Day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Sandus’s patron saint.

Other important holidays that will be celebrated this season include:

  • 7 July: Nonae Caprotinae — a Sancta holiday dedicated to women resistance fighters and martyrs
  • 14 July: Feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha — the feast day of our patron saint
  • 19-21 July: Lucaria — a Sancta holiday celebrating the outdoors
  • 23-24 July: Neptunalia — a Sancta holiday celebrating the sea and water
  • 26 July: National Lobster Day — a day dedicated to our national animal
  • 19 August: Vinalia Rustica — a Sancta holiday celebrating the god and production of wine
  • 21 August: Day of Mourning for Hawai’ian Annexation
  • 24 August: Religious Tolerance Day
  • 9 September: Philia Day
  • 11 September: Day against Imperialism & Terrorism
  • 22 September: Vernal Equinox

Finally, plans that were finalised in the Spring regarding the creation of a new sodality in the Collegium Sacerdotum will be unveiled, leading to the creation of a Sancta cult dedicated to our matron goddess, Athena. The new Cult of Athena will have its own officials, its own traditions and norms, its own important holidays, and—this is all that can be said about it—even a mystery rite.

All these events, cultural and social, will culminate in the Royal Wedding and in the creation of an evermore unique, creative, and cultural Sandus.