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Shifting

"Shifting", in Stenza culture, refers to the physical process pups undergo approximately two years after birth. Given the propensity of pups to attempt to eat anything and everything they encounter, it is common to celebrate the fact that an individual pup has survived long enough to undergo the shifting process. Because pups are born in litters during a single season of the year, these celebrations often occur concurrently for groups of individuals.

History

Historically keeping pups alive long enough to shift and begin proper schooling was a challenge in and of itself, to the point where that is still the primary role of adults in their vicinity. Thus, survivors were celebrated with a feast of whatever they had yet to steal by the time of their shift, both as something of a victory dance for the adults, and a recovery measure after the children endured a metabolic and immunosuppressing process. While the advent of modern medicine reduced many of the risks associated with puphood, it is widely accepted many pups took that as a challenge (to the chagrin of adults), and the celebration remains, part custom and part practical manifestation of relief.

Execution

The newly-shifted children are 'formally' invited into the clan's food stores for the first time, for what is called a "Last Raid", before children learn the ways of preparing meat (traditionally one of the earliest classes in a Stenza's education, as well as one most frequently returned to). In some clans, the two run concurrently, even, with the feast preparations counting as a first lesson (and children are still allowed to steal from the cooking counter). The feast is shared primarily among the children in order to help them recover from their ordeal.   Also by this point, a child's personality is well known by all and can be named by the clan, as per the clan's semantic standards and the pronouns the child answers to. A name is considered to be a reflection of the self, and an individual can change it upon undergoing some significant event, such as gaining citizenship or suffering a great loss.

Observance

Stenza children generally turn two around Last Sunset, and so this is one of the celebrations which occupies that season.
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