Bekiskmas | E. Christopher Clark

Bekiskmas (bay-KISK-muss)

Bekiskmas is the traditional Bekiskapan celebration of new life. It lasts three days and is comprised of three distinct rituals, one for each day:

  1. The Rite of Purification, in which the newborn is bathed in the waters of the nearest river;
  2. The Rite of Protection, in which the newborn is painted with its first three smears of the Bekiskapan’s traditional war paint; and,
  3. The Rite of Gratitude, in which the newborn’s siblings (if any) or mother (if the child is first-born) present the child with gifts.

A newborn’s Bekiskmas celebration begins on the morning of their fourth day of life, after three days of recovery and peaceful contemplation for mother and child.


The Rite of Purification

Similar to the baptism rituals which Earthlings in other iterations of reality would create and observe, the Bekiskapan Rite of Purification initiated a newborn child into the culture at large and adopted them into the faith of Hornaism (the worship of the triceratops goddess).


On the first day of their Bekiskmas, a child was partially immersed in the nearest river. This was typically a waterway rich in temporal magic (which the Bekiskapan of Earth-665 preferred settling near, because of the fact that the magic kept the apex predators of their world away). The belief was that the waters of the river would wash clean the hurts of a child’s past lives, all whilst leaving the knowledge and positive energies of those experiences.


The Rite of Protection

The Bekiskapan were perhaps best known for the clay-based paint they wore into battle, an invention which rendered them invulnerable to most physical attacks. It is no surprise then that the second day of a child’s Bekiskmas should consist of a ritual meant to protect them from harm until they were fully grown.


During this ritual, three dabs of paint were smeared across three carefully chosen parts of the infant’s body. The first was rubbed in a horizontal line across the child’s forehead. The second was rubbed in a vertical line from just under the child’s lower lip to just under their chin. And the third was rubbed in a horizontal line along the length of their sternum.


The Rite of Gratitude

The second of the “Three Truths” which governed Bekiskapan society was “The shield and the spear must be borne by all.” Each generation in a family was expected to give nine years of service to the Bekiskapan military, those years to be divided evenly amongst the children once they came of age.


And so, to thank a newborn sibling for “lightening the load,” so to speak, each child in a Bekiskapan household came to the infant on the third day of their Bekiskmas to give up a possession of their own.


Firstborn children were doted upon by their mothers instead and given three gifts from Mom, instead of the one per sibling they would have received if they’d been born second or so on.

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