Esereti Coming of age
We welcome the day with new clothes, putting away the child's gown or short pants. We recognize our debts to family and tradition and take on our Ryuujin. Then there is the meal and treats and gifts. Finally we are equipped, don the headband and set out to take up adulthood as we embark on the tradtional Esereti Walkabout.Coming of Age is celebrated first as a birthday with treats, new clothes and a special meal of favorite foods of the celebrant. Then there are gifts. Typically at Coming of Age that involves items related to ending apprenticeships and starting on careers or taking on family and title duties. Then the next day there are gifts for the walkabout - a good weapon or walking stick or staff.
In the elder days (and in some more traditional families) the night of the birthday a dose of mushroom tea was given to allow the young person to see the Celestial and Terrestrial Dragons and their Ryuujin. Walkabout arose from the old religion of Dragon worship- the Dragons required reverence, observation, and offerings. Offerings were food, drink (small cups of alcohol), animal sacrifice (which the Empire talked up as human blood sacrifice in Golam and Olia) and most importantly - offerings of deed and story. The Ryuujin is a family or group dragon spirit that bestows favor, benevolence and insight in exchange for experience, adventure and stories. Esereti believe that the immortal Celestial and Terrestrial Dragons most enjoy a new story. Walkabout typically occurred at coming of age (16-18), around age 30 and about age 50. Some might engage in them more or less frequently. Normal work and duties are set aside for walkabout and covered by friends, family and coworkers who are not going.
The individual on Walkabout wears the Dragon pattern headband. They set off with friends or individual locals, or companions met on the road. The general goal is to see sights, see the world, and provide assistance as one travels. These things are the material for the stories that please the Dragons. The walkabout lasts a few weeks, sometimes months. Social status rules and differences are reduced when one wears the headband. Likewise everyone knows they may ask aid from those who wear the headband - and the wearer knows they will be asked to perform daring and potentially hazardous tasks. At Coming of Age everyone sets out seeking adventure.
Priests of the Dragon Cults used to oversee and bless participants. The empire outlawed the Cults as pagan practices and imposed the official state church, The Order of Heaven. Because the Dragon is so deeply imbedded in Esereti society the family practice was allowed to continue so long as the Order of Heaven is recognized as first and true, while the family Dragon and Ryuujin are lesser spirits.