Celebrations of River Twine Holt   1.5*  
Posted: 10/23/06      [No comments yet]

Birth of a Cub
Unless the circumstances are unique, the tribe usually lets Recognition be a private affair of the two lucky elves. However, the birth of a child, a new holt member, is cause for celebration. The rest of the holt has the eight-of-days following the birth to make plans for the tribute, before the parents 'publicly' introduce the new cub and share with the tribe the child's name. Special foodstuffs of the season are made for the celebration such as honeycakes, nutbreads, meat pies, new juices concoctions, spiced porridge. In more recent births, the tribe has been flourishing and many elves have brought to the couple and new child handmade and individualized gifts, as well. The time is spent celebrating, communing, and learning what can be learned from the newborn cub, the renewal of life, and the enhancement of hope.

All Spirits' Night
This is a tradition which is not tied to the seasons, but to the actual measuring of time by moon-turns since the last time it was held (in other words, yearly). In a tradition that goes back countless hundreds of years, All Spirits' Night is a revel in honor of the tribemates who died whether recently or long ago. The elves howl for, perhaps even with, the spirits emphasizing for all, the good that happened to the holt since their passing.

New Moon New Name
Name changes usually come with great personality or life changes. Even if the name is Given by the chief at the moment of change (such as Redlance's change of name), it is traditional that the elf goes to the chief to ask, the chief holds a council and it is discussed to see if it will be accepted. Of course it usually is and is announced at the next Howl, or (depending on circumstances and timing) possibly a Howl of it's own is made for the night.

New Green Bliss {Joining Dances and Colorfuls}

It is the melting away of snow and the arrival of springtime and the forest comes alive around the elves. The elves gather in what passes for the center of the holt village where dyes, paints, feathers, and anything else that sparks an elf's fancy is placed. There they howl and shed themselves of their old winter clothes. Naked and free to decorate themselves (and others), they proceed to take the dyes and garnishes and 'dress each other up'. They paint each other in whatever way they like and cover up as much as possible.

After having joined in the painting fun, the children are ushered to the dens to leave the adults alone. They go to the rivers where all the elves choose who they would like as a 'mate' for the night and at a quiet stream clean each other off and let the celebration get more passionate.

The day after, it is time to start wearing new outfits for spring and summer (having been planned and made before). The celebration for the shedding of old skin and welcoming the new.

A Colorful is the name the elves have given to the general outfit overhaul of one or more members of the tribe. Not considered a tradition in itself, a Colorful is usually in conjunction with another celebration, most often the welcoming of Spring time.

Rites of Passage

The Very Long Walk
A solitary custom for cubs entering their adolescence. Usually, when the cub's parents, elder sibling or mentor decide the young one is old enough, they take him to her on a "very long walk" – cub and mentor or parent – passing through the entire holt territory. This is a sort of summary of the cub's learning years, as the guide names all the important places – trees, rivers, pools, and so on – every animal and useful plant they come across, every place where something significant happened to the tribe. This is a sort of prelude to the soul-search, as the cub is encouraged to see all these things and start thinking of how they fit into the "greater place" – metaphorically: the tribe. It's a significant bonding experience for the two elves on the Walk.

The Very Long Walk is usually held for a cub around age eleven or twelve. Usually a parent serves as guide, but an older sibling or valued teacher may do.

Soul-Name Searches
Few elves know their own soul-names before adolescence – most have to actively search for it. The soul-name search is such a personal thing that no ritual grew around it, rather the youth would simply know when their time has come, and leave the holt alone for a journey. The search can last hours, a day, a moon-turning, nothing is set, everything is acceptable. The one tradition, though, is that no one asks about the search, ever. Only the searcher may ever initiate such a conversation. There is nothing more private than the soul-search.

Cubs bond with their first wolves in a variety of ages and circumstances, keeping to little official order except the serious business of introducing the new puppy to the tribe, which cubs do with all the solemnity of parents introducing a new child, tribe name and all. Another thing a newly bonded cub is expected to do is make "rounds" between the adult wolves and make it public knowledge that the pup is now theirs. Lastly, elf cub and wolf cub will sleep curled up for at least the day following the bonding, marking each other deeply with their scent.

An adult elf bonding anew only follows the second custom of introductions around the pack. Many times, such an introduction would lead to a tribal howl, the elves howling the names of both elf and new wolf.

Spontaneous celebrations:

Storytelling Nights

A night of telling tales can happen around any comfortable fire, but "official" storytelling nights happen under specific circumstances. On a clear day, a group of elves sit together to stargaze. If the atmosphere is right, one of them would point out a constellation and tell a story or sing a song about it. This is the signal to start the storytelling circle – the tone of the first tale will set that of the others, as the elves tell stories through free association until they mine the subject out. Such a circle operates on the same system of pick-pass-play often used in bardic circles. On a starless or rainy day, the shape of a cloud or a puddle will be used as an inspiration instead of a constellation.

River Twine Holt is blessed with a multitude of rivers, but many of them freeze in deep winter. Following a particularly harsh winter, whether in survival, food, weather, or all, when the ice finally gives way, it may be cause for celebration among the tribe. They may gather at the edge of the river, laugh, sing, drink, eat, enjoy the impending ending of winter.

One Ice-Cracking tradition that no chief has managed to uproot despite its dangers is the trial of courage jokingly called "elf race for a blue face", in which rowdy elves race to the newly thawed water's edge – and leap right in. Often, they compete as for whom can stay submerged in icy water the longest.

Summertime Games
This celebration does not happen yearly, but only in summers that are very plentiful, enough to afford the elves to drop their work of hunting and foraging for a few days. The tribe may pack itself up and go spend two or three nights on the lakeshore. These nights they indulge in a variety of activities, mostly water-based games and contests, culminating in the Big Dunking Game – the last elf to keep their head dry wins!

Full Moons
It is a rare and exceptional thing to have both the Mother and Child moons full at the same time on River Twine's world. For any concerned with the passage of time, this once every 512 years, and will be either during the spring thaw and in the early winter time. This is thought to have a distinct effect on the world, the water, the animals, and most conspicuously our elves and their bond pack. It is cause for a special Howl to the Full Moons ... which shall be expounded upon later

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