The Gift of Life Tradition / Ritual in Evenacht | World Anvil

The Gift of Life


all images by Shanda Nelson using Night Cafe
  The Keel Pantheon syimlin are a varied bunch, but they have one thing in common; the Gift of Life.  


  Past years beyond knowing, a Death whose true name is lost to the ages, chose to grant other syimlin the Gift of Life. Syimlin, up to that point, were powerful mortal magic users who passed on their power at their death, and depending on the violent tendencies of each one, sometimes sooner rather than later.   Having deities with the same lifespan as those they religiously led caused chaos and war; other powerful mortals would vie for the few mantles that would grant them supremacy over their peoples. Often, the separate ethnicities would have their own Deaths and Lights and Darknesses, and to prove their superiority, battles commenced.   Millions died in the conflicts. Ga Son, who stood apart and above the rest of the pantheon as Sun, grew tired of the needless death and destruction. He met with one of the Death deities concerning the problem. What was said is unknown; what happened next is a religious legend.   Ga Son invited the deities to a celebration of the passing of the warmest seasons into the cooler ones that came before the snows. Most wore resplendent attire, brought weapons, and clashed. The celebration, one meant to be joyous, turned into a bloody mess. Ga Son and Death watched as, one by one, the guests passed on under the blades of others, or succumbed to their wounds.   Not all participated; some felt the duels gravely insulted Ga Son and refused to wield a weapon in his temple. Some believed peace preferable and attempted to talk their more violent brothers and sisters out of their destruction. In the end, only ten of those with the greatest power remained, standing in pools of blood. Two handfuls of lesser powers also remained, having survived the battles of the greater.   Not a one left had taken up arms.   Death looked at Ga Son, and their combined power washed through the room. Each of the remaining deities was Gifted Life; their aging halted, and they became immortal.   Ga Son met the eyes of each one, his presence terrifying yet reassuring. "You shall take up the mantle of your Gift," he told them. "Your lives will be long and prosperous, without the hindrance of age to prompt constant conflict. But be warned; if violence infuses you, Death will come for you."   To this day, the Keel pantheon meets on the same day, and they hold a momentous celebration with much food and drink. They invite those dearest to them, be they family, friends, or acolytes, and at the time that Death first granted the Gift of Life, they give the Gift of Promise to Ga Son and Death, then hand out heartfelt gifts to other syimlin and their guests.  
The greater syimlin who survived the celebration:  
  • Sun
  • Death
  • Light
  • Darkness
  • Healer
  • Earth
  • Water
  • Weather
  • Moon
  • Nature
  Two greater syimlin mantles came after: the Protector (Uka), and Passion (Verryn). They are held to the same standards as their peers.
The minor syimlin who survived the celebration:
  • Luck/Fate
  • Deathflower
  • Art
  • Scholar
  • Stonework
  • Sleep
  • Guidance
  • The Piper
  • Annoyance
  • The Lord of Pineapple
  • Summer Breezes
  • Wine
  Peace was one of the first to fall. Many believe War killed her, though Ga Son claims the minor syimlin Indifference did so.

Modern Celebration

  Ga Son invites all syimlin, greater or lesser, and even those who have given up or lost their mantle, to a banquet in honor of that day. Syimlin send return correspondence concerning how many friends, family, and acolytes they will bring, and they are sat with those they care for. All regard it as a sacred duty, and unless there is a pressing need to be elsewhere, all attend, whether they wish to or not.   The place settings are extravagant, with gold embroidered cloths, napkins, gold-ringed wine glasses and tableware, luscious flowers and candles decorating baskets. The food is humble; simple breads and cheeses, raw fruits and vegetables but no rich sauces, unseasoned meats, a chocolate or two, perhaps puffy, filled pastries. Many have read deep symbolism in the spread, though Ga Son waves his hand in dismissal at their ponderings and points out he splurges on the wine (which he does, and which attracts even the most reluctant to his tables because his wine choices are divine).   Through a random tale told at the end of the meal, Ga Son promotes the idea of peaceful talk to work out issues between deities, and, by displaying Death's banner, reminds the attendees that their Gift of Life remains due to her pleasure.   During after-dinner wine, syimlin give gifts to their most cherished. Gifts should be small, heartfelt and thoughtful; extravagant items earn rebukes rather than thanks, so few transgress this unspoken tenet. The deities give knickknacks, sweets, books and the like. In more modern times, tickets to the theater, glassware, and mugs/cups with a meme have become popular.
Ga Son Outdoor Table
Rachel Claire from Pexels
Ga Son holds the banquet at his largest temple complex. Tables are erected inside and out, with sitting preference left to the guests. While only twelve possess greater syimlin power, hundreds of lesser deities exist, so the event is always crowded.

Mortal Celebration

  Mortals, whether alive on Talis or a ghost in the Evenacht, also celebrate the giving of gifts on this day. To keep the holiday timeless, no calendar has a date attached to the day. It is simply referred to as the Gift Day and falls between the Keel Moon and Darkfall months, right after the late year harvest Darkness Day.   Because the Death Day yilsemma-long celebration falls so closely to Gift Day, many Talis cultures combine the two observances. Due to this, a previously solemn religious holiday meant to honor the surviving syimlin, has become a secular one celebrated with cheer rather than somber reflection.  
  • Humans:
    promote family gatherings with lots of food and drink
  • Elfines:
    prefer communal celebrations in a central town square with much dancing and music
  • Nymphs:
    all who can, will attend the Lake Thesserayn religious celebration. Most other observances are done in the home among close family and friends
  • Dryans:
    communal celebrations, with gifts given to those older than oneself in appreciation for their help and advice through the year
  • Sprites:
    give gifts to natural wonders to clean and beautify them, with a focus on water

Evenacht Celebration

  Because ghosts hail from different time periods as well as different cultures, the celebrations vary greatly. The generations after the interstellar invasion celebrate Gift Day along with Death Day. The generations before hold larger festivities for Gift Day and nearly ignore the yilsemma of commemoration that is part of honoring Death.   In general, the ghostly holiday follows the living traditions familiar to the celebrators, but in the absence of the ability to eat, performances and gifts gain priority.   The largest Evenacht celebration of the holiday takes place in Evening, the largest city in the evening lands. Festive banners are hung, songs and dances are performed in the streets and in community squares, spirits get together in their favorite places and hang with friends and family.   Native Evenacht beings don't celebrate the holiday, and in the past, the clashes over this led to some nasty physcial battles with religious adherents. Erse Parr despised the needless death and destruction, and the second official act of her reign put a stop to it. No one knows what happens to the beings who disobey the edict--they simply disappear.


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Dec 28, 2022 21:50

Great attention to detail.

Dec 29, 2022 21:06 by Kwyn Marie

thank you :)

Dec 28, 2022 23:39 by Starfarer Theta

Well, it is fortunate that the minor syimlin Scholar survived the bloodbath. I might try invoking their(?) help before too long, though not sure how an outsider like me can do so. The people here were kind enough to invite me to this celebration both festive and yet humble. I am told that the syimlin also practice humility in this celebration eating simple foods and exchanging simple gifts. There's a lot to admire about that. There's an elegance to simplicity and grotesqueness to the needlessly extravagant. Reread that sentence again and compare the words to describe those concepts. Not sure if that was an intended function of this language, or if it is merely coincidental, but there seems to be something to notice anyway.   Anyway, it is always a pleasure to experience the celebratory customs of another place. It makes all this jumping around realms and whatnot almost worthwhile. I must admit to now having a certain curiosity for the celebration held by ghosts. Seems I am in for a few surprises still as to the customs of these people. Will try to enjoy it while I can before I am impelled to continue my attempts to find a way home.   Not sure if my memory serves on that point anymore. I fear I may not recognize my place of origin should I successfully return. - Nemo, World Traveler

Dec 29, 2022 21:13 by Kwyn Marie

<3 This is such a cool idea!

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