Born on Patchwork
It is commonly said that everyone on Patchwork is from somewhere else, but of course this isn't quite true. For many, arriving on Patchwork is a opportunity to forge new relationships. Others eventually accept that they'll likely never return home and seek solace in a new family, although never really forgetting what they left behind. Then there are those that don't really form attachments, yet still have relationships of a sort. All of these can, of course, lead to births.
With the plethora of cultures on Patchwork, it's difficult to find truly universal traditions, even among beings of theoretically similar backgrounds. The refugees that came together to make settlements had plenty of individual options to celebrate, but even these could lead to squabbling, such as two adherents of a given faith coming to blows over when a holy day should actually be held. This made finding something unique to Patchwork all the more important, thus the rise of entire communities celebrating a birth; the birth of an actual Patchwork native!
Although the specific details may vary between communities, the most important element of the tradition is the gift of a patchwork quilt, sometimes to the newborn itself, but most often to the family group as a whole.
Like so much of Patchwork's jumbled history and culture, it's difficult to determine definitely where the tradition started, although many settlements claim it was theirs. Most likely it was created and recreated by independent groups, then spread by travel from Patch to Patch. Whatever the case, it's now common through most Patches and settlements.
Community members do make an effort to respect the individual traditions of a family as much as possible. Where the traditions of the parents differ, the parents are approached together to ask the details of how they wish to celebrate. Although certainly not a law, the forming default is that those of the mother usually take precedence. This may eventually become a related tradition, of course! Some parents declare the celebration date to be that of the actual day of birth, while others may wait a period of time afterwards for cultural or sometimes purely practical reasons.
Based on this information, the celebration is conducted on the designated day. Family members and close friends gather first and welcome the community (or at least representatives of the community) to meet the new arrival to Patchwork. Like many gatherings, this may involve food and drink, speeches, and small gifts, but always concludes with the presentation of a patchwork quilt.
Components and tools
The quilt itself most likely sprang from someone's jest. Such quilts are common enough birth gifts in the worlds of origin, but with the common terminology used to describe Patchwork, it was almost inevitable that the practice would be adopted here, albeit with a twist. The patches used to form the quilt are created by individuals based on their cultural traditions from their old worlds. Thus, an elf might gift an embroidered silk square while her dwarven neighbor brings a practical square of heavy, but beautifully decorated, canvas. The quilts are often used as home decorations, proudly displayed as a celebration of childbirth, but also of bonding within the community.
When the newborn reaches adulthood, the quilts are often used to create Patchwork Born Cloaks. Beings wearing such cloaks often receive a more positive initial reaction from long-term, but non-native population. It's an unfortunate fact that some unscrupulous con artists take advantage of this fact.
Story seed:A mother-to-be from a species that lays eggs is rumored to lay a clutch soon. No one in the settlement really knows much about the mother's species and while everyone agrees the offspring will be "Born on Patchwork," no one quite agrees as to when it's appropriate to celebrate the event. Someone could ask them directly, but they seem disinclined to talk about such personal things, although they're known to have participated in other such celebrations. Someone should really work out the details to avoid a serious faux pas!
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