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Da Ifsin

Da Ifsin, or the Naming Day, is a coming of age ritual performed once a year by Thin  to bring their children into adulthood.

History

Da Ifsin is said to be a centuries-old ceremony dating back to when the Thin were a singular culture hidden in Norway. At the time, the ritual was created as an offering, to bind the new adults to a God in the hopes they would survive the harsh winters and scarce resources. The elves believed that with enough dedication and sacrifice for their Gods they would be protected and more of their children would survive to adulthood.   When the Thin were driven from their home and separated into the settlements they know today, their population began to blossom. Seeing this as a sign their devotion was pleasing the Gods, the ritual became a long-standing tradition and staple of modern Dark Elf culture. These days it is equal parts and offering and a celebration, recognising the comparatively high number of children born to this day.

Execution

Though the ritual varies slightly from place to place, the basic tradition remains the same: two nights of the year, the warmest and the coldest, every child who comes of age that season will be gathered in the temple for their ceremony. The Priestess and her Bearer will greet the children with their families, and the children will offer handmade gifts to their Gods, which will be gathered into a ceremonial bowl by the Bearer.   Offerings given, these children will then be anointed with water, usually from the largest underground stream within their city. One by one, the children will stand before the Bearer and focus on their God of choice, and any other changes they wish to partake in as they reach adulthood (such as change of gender). Then the Bearer will mark with water three areas of their body:
  • their main point of communication (for most, their throats), to carry their voices
  • the most primarily used natural tools to carry their skills (most often their hands)
  • and their foreheads to carry their intelligence
The final step of the ritual is perhaps the most important. A third bowl will be held by the Bearer, containing magically-imbibed paint and a brush. The Priestess will speak from instinct, channeling whatever message she recieves from the Gods, to address each child in turn. As she speaks, the Bearer will touch the brush to the child's face, allowing it to sink into their skin where it will form patterns of bioluminescent tattoos symbolising their newfound maturity and bond with the Gods.

Components and tools

The items required for the ritual are as follows:  
  • A stone altar, where all other tools will be rested
  • Three bowls made of the city's most abundant metal
  • Water from the city's most abundant water source
  • Ahsif
  • One handmade offering from each participant, the exact nature of which is decided by the child themself

Participants

Da Ifsin is an intimite, private ritual, to be held for a small, select audience. The usual participants include:  
  • The current Priestess of that city, to oversee and speak the ritual words
  • The Bearer, a representative hand-picked by the Priestess to perform the physical tasks of the ritual
  • Every child who has or will come of age in that half of the year
  • The children's families -- usually their parent/s or guardian -- to witness the occasion and support their children

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Cover image: by JamesDeMers

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