The Flower's Bloom Tradition / Ritual in Creus | World Anvil
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The Flower's Bloom

The cafe wasn't crowded, and Alistair spotted Phanae at her usual table, pensively jotting down notes. She glanced up and waved him over, then turned the piece of paper she was working on. "How does this stuff sound?"   "Stuff for what....this is for a Flower's Bloom ceremony?" The wizard glanced up at Phanae, who was looking at him expectantly. He put a finger to his face. "Do I look like the kind of person who's been to a Bloom?"   "No, of course not. I just want your opinion on whether this kind of stuff is reasonable to say to a nineteen year old. It's been such a long time since my own Bloom, I'm hoping I can cover the bases." The guardswoman fidgeted; Alistair had never seen her so nervous.   "Phanae, you're twenty and three. It was four years ago, how is that possibly a long time?" The wizard waved down the waitress, then pushed the parfait he ordered across the table. "Here, it seems like you need this more than I do."   The guardswoman began to eat the parfait absentmindedly, her coffee forgotten to the side. "It's just hard to tell what kind of advice to give girls these days. They all seem more forward and daring than I was at their age. It's strange."   "Well, do you know the girl? We came from Low Timbers, so it's natural for these city girls to grow up differently." Alistair leaned back in his chair. "I can't imagine that the advice changes that dramatically. I assume the physical rules don't."   Phanae gave him a small scowl. "I would say that that's why you don't know anything, but I was the one that invited you here for advice, so I'll hold off on that comment." She reached for her coffee and downed the remainder in one gulp. "What to wear in the Capital is vastly different than what to wear back at Low Timbers. How to behave in front of figures of authority - Cord had no issues with my brashness, but I can't imagine a girl here mouthing off the same way to the Princeps if he happened to be in front of here. There's all sorts of layers and systems and rules here that I can barely keep it all straight in my own head, let alone give advice about it." The guardswoman was chewing on the end of her quill.   "Well, do you have to do it, if you don't feel prepared?" Alistair folded his arms. "You might be stressing yourself out over nothing."   "I do." Phanae glanced up from the paper, a glint in her eyes. "This girl is a ward of the Principality, Alistair, she has nobody else. As an adult woman of the Capital City, it is a sacred duty that we light the path of Progress forward for her and all other growing women."   Alistair had little to say to that. "Well, I have time to kill, so once you're ready, I can look over your duty. But don't expect miracles from me."


The women's fertility rite is a common coming of age ritual across the historical civilizations of Saibh, as it is bounded by a simple physical reality, that a woman is capable of bearing children. The War of Unification was not only a political unification of the various petty kingdoms into a new Principality of Etoile, but a cultural unification as well, a top-down synthesis of a wide variety of disparate cultures, beliefs, and traditions, into a new universal tradition, that of the Etoilean citizen of the new Principality.    The synthesis of the women's fertility rite was the subject of a great deal of discussion, led by Nairie Solitus, paramour of the First Princeps. At the women's conference that Solitus assembled, it was universally agreed upon that the rite was held far too early in the majority of cultures, and treated the subject at hand like little more than a brood mare, to be bred at the first opportunity. After thorough analysis of the rite across the thirty or so major cultures brought under Etoilean rule, a new syncretic rite was proposed, voted on, and agreed to at this conference, to be spread across Etoile as a direct replacement for all prior similar rites.    While the Flower's Bloom has come under criticism for its slightly artificial nature, not to mention the somewhat crass commercialization that has surrounded a woman's nineteenth birthday, most agree that it is a fine substitute for what it replaced, and it's found nearly universal acceptance across the Principality.


Unlike the prior fertility rites that the Bloom replaced, there is no direct linkage to menarche (the academician's term for a woman's first periodic bleeding). That occurrence no longer has any significance other than the medical; there is no legal or cultural baggage associated with the event. Instead, the woman celebrates an entrance into cultural adulthood upon their 19th birthday, the age at which it is considered 'acceptable' for a woman to commit to such acts as marriage and childbearing (or at least, not unacceptable - the modern Etoilean woman tends to marry and have children far later than 19).    The affair is relatively intimate. A woman on her 19th birthday will gather all of her older female relatives and throw a daylong birthday party, planned on her own initiative, without her mother participating in the event planning. The older women are expected to bring clothing for the new nineteen year old of an adult nature, to signify that she is no longer a child - the type of clothing a respectable young adult would wear in public, as a 'jump start' on the new wardrobe. Over the course of the day, the women will converse and provide advice to the new woman about virtually all matters of life, now that she is an adult and can leave her parent's nest. The day concludes with that most ordinary of birthday traditions, a simple cake, but traditionally flavored with strawberry for the Bloom.   After a woman has her Flower's Bloom party, she becomes eligible to participate in that party for any of her female relatives and friends who invite her, as she becomes one of the women tapped to give advice to the next generations of nineteen year olds.

Components and tools

The transition from the clothing of a girl to the clothing of a woman is an important component of the Bloom. While obviously a matter of taste by all parties involved, many women consider the clothing they present to the new nineteen year old as a manifestation of their hopes for the woman's direction in life, typically to be proper and upstanding.    A countercultural version of this line of thought has recently taken hold in the Etoile Capital City, arguing that the idea of a woman that must be 'proper and upstanding' is in fact a severe restriction on a woman's freedom, unjustifiable in the era of progress, especially when men face no similar bindings on their code of conduct. Should a girl agree with this line of thought, the women in her Bloom ceremony will likely present clothing that is daring in its portrayal and presentation of the female body, a celebration of womanhood in a more raw and uninhibited form.


As a coming of age rite, the most important participant is the nineteen year old woman in question. While most women find the ritual fun, or at least entertaining, it is not uncommon for some girls of a rebellious bent to find the whole thing ridiculous and refuse to participate at all. The ceremony is, of course, optional; the only legality associated with the act is the mailing of identification papers to the young woman marking them as an adult by the Principality.   Equally important is the group of women intended to guide the nineteen year old towards her future. This is considered a serious responsibility by most women, and for those orphan girls with no family to invite for their own Bloom, older women volunteer by the hundreds to participate in the Bloom ceremony; it is a cultural idea that 'no girl will ever Bloom alone'. These volunteers handle this duty in cities; for more tightly knit and smaller countryside communities, the women of the community will all pitch in to celebrate a girl's adulthood.   Men are, by design, excluded from any of this process. This has led to lighthearted jokes about how the Bloom ceremony is where women trade secrets about world domination or similar miscellany.


With rare exception, Flower's Bloom ceremonies are held on a woman's nineteenth birthday. Delays due to sickness or similar unavailability are infrequent. The one major exception is if a girl becomes pregnant before her nineteenth birthday; an abridged Bloom ceremony is held as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed, with the advice given to the girl being a mix of regular Bloom advice and that about motherhood and childrearing. For those ceremonies, the women invited to confide in the girl must all be mothers, themselves.

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Aug 1, 2023 07:07 by Patricia

The idea that "no girl will ever Bloom alone" is a beautiful one. There are some elements of this that I can imagine being incredibly fraught, in a very interesting way-- everyone has to know the girl's measurements for clothing, for instance! That's a vulnerable thing to share if your culture has any beauty ideals regarding body size!

Aug 14, 2023 00:31

Definitely something I can do some more research on! Thanks for reading my article.