The rite of passage for young elves is called the Eldar Ceremony. As a long-lived race, elves mature much more slowly than humans, and are considered children until they are fifty years old.
On the first of Morza each year, any elves who reached fifty the previous year begin their eldar journey. The journey must be completed by the twenty-eighth of Orien, when the annual Festival of Florian's Grace
takes place and the new adults of society are announced.
The Eldar Journey
Year of Reflection
During an elf's forty-ninth year, they spend a significant amount of time in quiet, solitary meditation of their childhood years. This meditation is interspersed with visits to places they've never been, extended family they have seen only sparingly, or childhood friends and teachers. This year of reflection is meant to help a young elf determine their path in life. Most have a good idea of that path by this time, but some remain struck by a wanderlust that the elves call iiglandariin
, meaning to walk without purpose. While elves struggling with iiglandariin
are not considered bad, they often suffer dismissal from their kin for not actively contributing to elven society. The year of reflection helps many young elves overcome this condition and any doubts they have about the path they've chosen.
Month of Prayer
Once satisfied with their year of reflection, a young elf dedicates themselves to a month of prayer. Most of their prayer is to Florian
, the elves primary divinities, but elf children will pray to any gods they deem important to their chosen life path. This time is spent either in one of the godchambers of the World Trees
or in a location considered sacred to one of the gods. During this month, their goal is to re-affirm their connection to Florian and Drakala, as well as pray for guidance and wisdom in their chosen path.
The final step all elves take before the festival is the name taking. While most elves continue being identified by the names they are given by their parents, all elves are given a second name by the naga
. This name, called the anaviistrai
, or 'soul name', is gained during the Eldar journey by seeking out one of the elusive naga and asking the question "What is my truth?" Because of their gift of foresight, nagas are considered the wisest of all the Wood's
creatures. When approached by an elf on their eldar journey and asked this question, a naga will turn their inner sight to the Tapestry of Fate
to glean the elf's true self. They then bestow upon the elf a name which encompasses that self. Upon receiving their anaviistrai
, many young elves suffer temporary lapses in faith, particularly if their soul name is vastly different than they expected. But, save for a few rare cases, all elves eventually accept the truth given to them and proceed to the final ceremony.
When royal elves (those who are direct descendants of Lordaerel
) are ready for their name taking, they approach the Nagaryn
directly. Their anaviistrai
takes on an even more personal note, for the Nagaryn tells them not just the essence of themselves, but the essence of what kind of king they will be. This anaviistrael
, or 'king soul name', is always kept private, told only to the elf's father (usually the King and the Woodspeaker
. The young elf may also confide the meaning to trusted friends, but that's rare.
The Eldar Ceremony is completed toward the end of the Festival of Florian's Grace
. The festival is celebrated in all elven settlements, and in each one the local siinavana
("speaker of names") lists the young elves who have completed their eldar journey and what path they have chosen to pursue. In C'Oros Baal
, the speaking is done by the King or the Woodspeaker
. In C'Oros Diin
, the Prince of the Wood
is often the one to speak the names. Once their name is spoken, the young elves are welcomes fully into society as adults.