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Jupiter Circle

A Jupiter Cycle is a very old and ancient coming-of-age ceremony celebrated by certain clans, families and villages located in the state of Land's End. It is a year-long ritual that begins when the child is eleven and ends when they reach 13 years of age. Throughout these three years, the children are given opportunities and challenges to test their thinking and leadership skills. This practice persists even in the current modern era, except instead of previous trips leading caravans and trade missions, these children are now groomed to take over the family business, pursue academic excellence, and again, demonstrate leadership skills in schools and other events.  

Why it's held

It takes slightly more than 11 years for Jupiter to orbit the sun, which is what gave the ceremony its name. 12 years old and beyond are considered markers among the community in Land's End, an especial ceremony given that many children used to die due to childhood diseases before even reaching 12 years of age. Furthermore, whether by accident or purpose, students in the Glowing Lands begin their secondary schooling years the year they turn 13, with some exceptions. To celebrate this, the clans and villages use Jupiter Cycle to mark the child coming of age.  

Trials faced

The trials put to the children vary according to age, but the goal at the end of the trial is to display various physical "trophies" that indicate successful completion of the task. In the olden days this could vary from ribbons and rare spices brought from afar, to a dress skillfully ordered and made based on the design of the candidate, to administrative records showing a successful venture or management of a home or business. Other previously accepted trophies also included locks of hair collected from followers, to the enemy's head or belonging if the family had a feud with another.   In the current modern age, most middle- and lower-income families settle for good report card grades, which will often include information on the child's after-class activities, where the child is expected to attempt and take a leadership role. Arts and crafts are also accepted, with a number of children also offering direct cash hidden in envelopes - to show their willingness to work hard and take responsibility, which has turned out to be a bit of a warp of the original idea.   For richer and beyond families, the entire three year ritual and ceremony takes on a grotesque display of wealth. Many simply give the child a budget and allow them to plan their presentation and assets with the final ceremony often being accompanied by ostentatious shows and parties. Others give their children an assignment related to the family business - usually to grow a specific or troubled section of the business. Some simply put their child (by way of proxy) in charge of a subsidiary that's already failing or they intend to shut down, using the final results as an offering.  

Actual ceremony

To complete Jupiter Cycle, the child must offer the "fruits of their labour" on an altar in front of either the ancestral tablet, holy books, or their family's chosen God, depending on their religion. The ceremony usually begins at 6am or after, where the child wakes up to take a cold bath, washing themselves from head to toe. Then they must come out and dress their best (new clothes optional but clean clothes are a must). Afterwards, they will approach the altar and recite a few words, usually a version of "Ancestors/God/Benevolent Ones, I offer to you the results of my transition to adulthood." At this point, a candle or joss stick is lit. Then they must begin arranging their offerings onto the table themselves. The offering smay be placed in the room beforehand by others, but the child must pick up the items themselves and arrange it on the offering table.   Once it is completed, the child takes a few steps back and bows respectfully before the altar. Depending on the family/child, this bow can be as simple as bowing from the waist, to a full prostration on the floor. The child keeps this for several heartbeats but can look up to see if the candle/joss stick is still burning. If it is, then it means that the ancestors/god are still perusing the results of the child's attempt. If however, the candle goes out or the joss stick's ash falls off, leaving nothing behind, then it signifies the completion of the ceremony. When the child stands, that's when they are considered an adult, and what follows is a feast by the family.

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