Forsilvra :: Winds of Change
Old 05-24-2013, 02:58 PM
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Default [01.1] Quintism: Ceremonies

General Ceremonies

Blessing of Purity
A woman, on the eve of her wedding, is to step out into full moonlight and pray to the god Enkil. It is said that then, if she has remained pure and chaste her whole life, she shall receive Enkil’s blessing, which will help ensure a happy marriage. The ceremony has several variations. In some places, a specific sentence is recited (“Oh great Enkil, I honor you with my purity, and I go to my marriage bed with your blessing.”). In other places, the bride is free to say whatever prayer she feels appropriate, and it is said that if it is proper, Enkil will hear and honor her. The other variation involves the state of dress of the bride: it has become traditional for the woman to wear pure white, usually in the form of a shift, chemise, or night gown, which she is then expected to wear to her marriage bed. In the past, however, it was customary for the bride to stand in the moonlight completely naked, so that the moon god may look upon her and know if she speaks the truth.

Enkil's Blessing

Ceremony of Joining
A wedding in the Quintist church is a sacred ceremony; not only does it serve to bind two families together, but through faith and honoring the gods, the very souls of those being married are joined together in the strongest of bonds. It is the privledge of a Chosen to preside over the ceremony, and while each wedding is different, there is a general outline of events that usually take place.

For the bride, the wedding events technically can begin on the night before the ceremony, provided she chooses to undergo the Blessing of Purity ritual. A feast is sometimes had the night before as something of a last hurrah, while other families prefer to spend the night praying for the success of the impending union. Still other families decide to do nothing at all; there is no "right" way to spend the night before the wedding. That is, except for the bride and groom. It is absolute tradition that the bride and groom spend the night apart from one another. The official reason is so that they can pray and reflect, but there are many whispered stories of curses and misfortunes bestowed on a couple that couldn't wait to have a tryst.

On the morning of the ceremony, the families of the bride and groom escort them to the temple, making every effort to keep them from seeing one another. For the bride, this is the last she will see of her father and any male siblings until after she is a married woman; the groom, as well, will see nothing of his mother and female family until he has taken his bride. Bride and groom are each taken to rooms within the temple, which are generally located to the rear of the building, behind the altar. There they undergo a traditional ritual of cleansing for both body and mind: they are bathed in water that has been blessed, with a priest or priestess praying over them the whole time. Then bride and groom are dressed for the ceremony, usually by the women and men of their families, respectively. After they are dressed, all but the priests and priestesses adjourn to the temple. The couple then joins in a prayer to open their souls to receive the blessings of marriage, and finally, they enter the temple. They enter one on each side of the altar, meeting in the center in front of the Chosen, their families behind them.

The ceremony itself varies greatly depending on the families involved. The wedding can be dedicated to one god or all of them, and each family draws on their culture to plan how best to honor them. However, the basic run of events usually follows a similar order of events. The officiating Chosen first leads the assembly in prayer, asking the blessings from the gods; it is not unusual for there to be some sort of offering. Following that, the bride and groom are bound together before the eyes of the gods; this can be done with nothing but words, but often it is done physically in some fashion as well, and more elaborate ceremonies expand this section of events. A closing prayer is said, and the couple stands and turns away from the altar to be announced to their families as a married couple for the first time.

What happens after the ceremony is up to the families, but usually a prayer and offering to Sylvanus for a successful wedding night isn't left out of the festivities.

Conversion Ceremony
This ceremony is held for adults who wish to convert from their previous religion to Quintism. For whatever reason, they married into a family and would like to change or they have had a change in beliefs, they must go to a priest or priestess and discuss their choice to change religions.

Once accepted, and their reasons are deemed worthy and realistic, they begin to plan their transition into the church. This ceremony is performed by a priest or priestess at any temple. It begins with the individual, wearing a grey robe, being bathed in purified and blessed water.

The convert then recites the traditional prayer as they burn a bundle of herbs and flowers.

“I pray to The Five to guide me through life. I pray to Mihra to shine on me, to Enkil for his divine favor, to Veles to allow me prosperity, for Fujin to allow my family to grow strong and pure, and to Amelie for her mercy.”

Once the bundle burns halfway or more the convert is to dowse it in blessed water. The individuals patients and grace during the ceremony proves to the conductor and the Gods that they are dedicated.

After the ceremony is successfully completed they are allowed to join the church.

Birth Rites
During Birth Rites or also known as a baptism the only adults that play a part are the mother and the Keeper. The father is allowed to stand next to his wife but cannot touch the baby in any way during the ceremony. If the mother has died during childbirth then that is the only time it is acceptable for the father to take part and that is only if there is no living female relative to take over in the mother’s absence.

Birth Rites symbolize the child’s birth and entrance into the world of the living as well as said to bring the attention of the Five to the child in question and bless his or her future. These ceremonies are usually only held for the upper class children of Lords and Ladies. They can be held for higher ranking commoners but usually a priest attends them in the place of the Keeper.

The child is wrapped in a silken white cloth and generally wears nothing underneath to symbolize the trust in the Five to keep him or her safe in their coming years. Upon a stone altar is a small basin of blessed water and two large candles that are also blessed by the Keeper. As the parents face the altar, the father places the candle to the left after carving the child’s first name on it and then does the same with the right after carving into their family’s name. The mother stands before the basin, with the Keeper positioned at the opposite side, while the father lights the candles that bear the child’s mortal name.

After the father is finished lighting the candles they take a moment of silence to allow the gods and goddesses to notice their presence and the Keeper decides when to continue. When the Gods are ready, the mother holds the child over the basin and the keeper anoints the child, then the mother must speak. She promises to teach her child the values of family and tradition and the importance of the Five. She swears to the gods and goddesses that she will abide by their practices and teach her child to do the same.

The ceremony is generally short and usually followed by a feast to celebrate the child’s successful birth into the mortal world. It is usually attended by the family to witness the mother’s promise to the Five but it is generally accepted that the father is to hold the mother to her promises.

Death Rites
What is done with a loved one after Amelie has released their soul is a matter which is deeply personal. As such, the Church does not condemn any deviation from their traditional ceremony, but rather lets each family do as is custom in their area, or whatever brings them the most comfort.

Since it is believed that the soul is separate from the body from the moment of death, the traditional ceremony is quite simple. The funeral ideally takes place not more than a few days after the person’s death. While prayers to each god, beginning with Amelie, are spoken over the deceased, family members or members of the church prepare the body. The deceased’s body is stripped bare of all clothing and jewelry, so that it may go back to the earth in the same way it came in. It is entirely wrapped in clean fabric, and once preparations are finished, it is carried by way of a funerary procession to the location of the pyre.

From the moment the body is laid upon the pyre and the fire struck, it is absolutely imperative that at least one living soul stands watch. None quite remember when or why this rule first began, but it is one that is never broken without significant fear of consequence.

Once the pyre is nothing but ashes, the ceremony is technically finished. Many, however, choose to go one step further and dedicate the ashes to each of the gods. This is often done by casting the ashes into each of the four cardinal directions, or by placing them in the element of the gods they choose to honor.

Fealty Ceremony
More often than not, a Keeper is invited to attend Fealty ceremony for a newly appointed Province Lord. He wears the normal, required attire, of a robe and a sash that is dyed one of the house colors of the family he is blessing. These ceremonies are usually set up by the house in question so the Keeper does very little. He shows up, speaks, and then takes his designated seat to watch the proceedings. He doesn't get involved in the planning and organizing and there have been times, very few, when the Province family has written his speech for him. Normally the Keeper writes his own speech, he blesses the family and speaks about the nation's past, and then opens the floor for the new Lord to speak his piece.

Example speech comes from this thread.

Last edited by Kiera; 08-23-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:58 PM
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Default Ceremonies

Clergy-specific Ceremonies

Handmaiden Initiation
When the time comes to choose a new Handmaiden, the process is a fairly simple one, but it is steeped in significance. The woman is chosen from a pool of candidates, interviewed and screened for the vital traits a Handmaiden needs. In the end, the choice is up to the Keeper, although he is expected to go through an extensive period of prayer for the gods to guide his choice.

The day the Handmaiden is to be initiated, she is taken to the main temple, although is hidden from the Keeper for now. She’s immediately taken to a wing of the temple that is secluded from both the public and the Keeper, escorted by the Chosen from that temple. There, the Chosen begin the cleansing ceremony. The Handmaiden spends time in prayer, while cleansing incense is burned around her. When the incense is done, she is taken, still expected to be in prayer, behind a screen where the female Chosen remove her clothes, which are handed out to the male Chosen and burned over a ritual fire. This symbolizes the beginning of the transition; the smoke from the fire serves as the Handmaiden offering her years of service, her past life as a Chosen, to the gods, reaffirming her devotion to them. When that is done, the Handmaiden is bathed by the female Chosen, and when finished the water is cast away, in so doing casting away all of the sin and impurities that life, even as a priestess, always comes with.

She is then dressed in new robes, befitting her elevated position. Her hair is styled simply, usually a simple plait, and flowers representing each of the five gods are woven into a wreath that is placed on her head. Then, and only then, is she ready.

While all of this is going on, the Keeper is in prayer. He spends time at each altar, asking the gods for guidance and for a sign if the woman who is about to become Handmaiden is wrong for the position. When he has finished his rounds, and if no god has given any indication of unhappiness, he kneels at the main altar to pray.

Often the King is also present for the prayer at the main altar, and it is customary that he pray for the good health of his people, for the prosperity of his kingdom, and for peace to reign over all.

When the Handmaiden is prepared, the Keeper and the King rise, and the King stands aside. The Keeper addresses the gathered priests and priestesses, as well as any of the King’s entourage that is present. His speech usually follows something as such, with each Keeper putting his own spin on it:

“Today we gather to honour the wishes of the gods. They have guided my hand each step of the way, and with these words, we honour them. No Keeper can act alone; the voices of the gods are too great, their demands too numerous, their love too much to be channeled through one man. And so it is that today, we bequeath to the gods a Handmaiden: a woman who has served them with all her life, and who they themselves have deemed is worthy of serving them in yet another way.” He then turns to where the Handmaiden is waiting, veiled off from view. “Come, and devote yourself wholly to the gods.”

She emerges from behind the curtain and joins the Keeper, standing beside him before the main altar. They turn toward the altar and he takes her hand right hand, placing it palm down on the surface of the altar, in the middle of the representations of the gods. She then says something along the lines of this:

“You honour me, and thus I shall return to you. Everything that I am is for the gods, and everything I shall grow to become is in honour of them. May I always serve the Five, and live in their glory.”

The Keeper then takes her hand, and together they turn, and she is presented to the assembly. If the King is present, it is traditional that he step forward at this point, as the first to welcome the new Handmaiden, and also so that she may pledge to serve him in the way of the gods.

It often happens that there’s a tournament or festival coinciding with the initiation of the new Handmaiden; if this is so, there is almost always an announcement of the new Handmaiden, and she is rarely seen away from the Keeper’s side during the entirety of the proceedings.

Last edited by Kiera; 08-18-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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