Birthdays in the Spinelands Tradition / Ritual in Heydenhearth | World Anvil
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Birthdays in the Spinelands

lights in the North

  History
"I feel like a birthday is a testament in and of itself...the cold didn't take you, the mountains didn't take you...you're not dead yet! And that's more than many can say. The Lone God gave you to the Spinelands because he knew you could survive. Every year is an achievement and even the youngest among us are warriors. So may your birthday find you again next year, hearty and hale!" - birthday toast from a relative, circa 7500 AC
Life is short and fierce in the Spinelands. All Elders knows and appreciates the rarity of their existence. Valuing life in any shape or form is a hallmark of being a Northerner...to find sharp and piercing joy in both pain and plenty is a mindset others may view as strange, but the Spinelanders find absolutely necessary. While they have few large cities there are many villages nestled in the mountains, and they are a close-knit group of people that rely on each other to survive. When the anniversary of someone's birthday arrives, it is heavily celebrated by the entire community.   Execution   For adults, there is a warm greeting from family in the morning. For children, there is the Sweet Snow. A child is given a spoon and a cup of syrup, and sent outside to make shapes in the snow. They then pour the syrup into the mold and when it hardens in the cold, they gather the 'Sweet Snow candy' and bring it back into the house to eat and share. In the meantime, the family has made breakfast. Close friends will stop by the home, and sometimes humble gifts are exchanged, although this tradition is from the lowlands and is not always financially feasible. After the friends have left, the family finishes eating and set about to do their chores.   Not much else happens until the evening, at which time the family has its own small celebration. If the child is now sixteen and an adult in their own right, the father may give his son a bow and arrow, or the wife may give her daughter a Rose-Thorn. Sweethearts may propose marriage, or newly fledged adults may set out to join the various hunter bands that roam the wilderness in order to provide game for the villages.   Once a month in times of plenty, a Remembrance Feast is held. In Spinelander villages, all the birthdays in a month are celebrated publicly at this feast. Everyone brings their own stores of food. In times of plenty, there is enough for extra servings and for sharing with others. In times of famine, they make do with what they have. Ice Dragon Cider is served to even the smallest children, and there are friendly competitions in archery, log-lifting, and ice-swimming. This lasts late into the night until just before the twelfth hour, when everyone in the village, young and old, will come together to sing 'The Light Within'. This is a traditional song that claims that warmth lies not in fire, but in the heart, and that is the true flame that keeps a being alive in the frozen snow.   Sometimes, it so happens that on a birthday the Heavenly Fires may appear in the sky at evening. At that time it is considered a solemn duty to watch them for a while from the edge of the village, spending the time in remembrance of those who did not live to see their next birthday, and to ask their patronage in the hard times to come. It is a local Spinelander belief that the Heavenly Fires are placed in the sky by the Lone God in order to honor their deceased loved ones.

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