Clock Face of the Departed Tradition / Ritual in The Sea of Starlight | World Anvil

Clock Face of the Departed

The Clock Face of the Departed is a custom in which a clock is stopped and the hands are set at a horizontal position. Several cultures around the world use clocktowers with this custom to announce the death of an important person, usually a royal or noble of some kind.


Stopping the hands of the clock and setting them in a horizontal position symbolizes the person lying down and their time having expired. Although it is used in several ways around the world with different types of clocks big and small, it is thought to have originated in the capital city of Morhan in the Kingdom of Wolfsbrunn where the clock of the Old Isabella is used for this custom. There are two ways the clock can be stopped for this custom, each with their own meaning.
  Quarter past Nine. The short hand on the nine and the long hand on the three is known as the quarter past nine position. It is used to signify a person was either at the end of their life or died of natural causes. It symbolizes that they were present for a large part of the 'day', but the bereaved must carry on into the future without them.
  Quarter to Four. The short hand on the three and the long hand on the nine is commonly referred to as the quarter to four position. It symbolizes an untimely death as there is much more time left in the day. It means the deceased has not lived the time they were supposed to or were expected to.


Some people believe that if a clock that stops working, stops at either of these two times, or very close to them, it is a very bad omen. Especially the quarter to four position because of its symbolism of an untimely death, is an especially ominous sign in some cultures. Wherever this custom is used, meeting up or planning something specifically at this time is uncommon and is usually considered a threat. Some organizations also use a symbol or drawing of the clock face as a threat in a document or to mark targets for assassination.  
See you at a quarter to four!
— A thug in a tavern
Important Locations
Related Ethnicities
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Jan 30, 2023 15:24

This is a neat tradition. So shortly explained with such huge impact. Nicely done.

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