Clearing, also known as Winter Clearing or Springtide, is an traditional Castellite holiday celebrated on the first Launderday of Medusi. The holiday centers on clearing out the winter and welcoming the spring. The Clearing is also a celebration of children. Following the Castellite belief that the soul has four seasons, children are believed to have spring souls. This makes them uniquely capable of ushering in the new season.
TraditionsClearing is first and foremost a duty, and there is work to be done before the festivities can take place. The adults take it upon themselves to do most of the work clearing out the winter. This usually includes shovelling leftover snow out where the sun can melt it, and in some cases burning it. Children are tasked with ushering in spring, and each child has their role to play in the festitivites. Newborns are blessed to bring good luck, and the older kids set out to hunt or plant the first flowers.
Dot BlessingsThe youngest, usually those less than a year old, are brought out by their mothers to bless and be blessed. A special colourful powder is prepared for these blessings. Those who wish to participate dip their thumb into the power and press their thumb against the child. The dot left behind contains the blessing. These powders are also worn by some of the older kids. Red-rubbed cheeks are a common sight during the Clearing festivities.
Weather OracleThe youngest child of them all is selected for an even more special purpose. A special wicker basket is placed in the fields, and the baby, dubbed the spring child, is laid down in the crib. The spring child is believed to be able to influence the future harvest. If they reach towards their mother, the harvest will be normal. If the spring child reaches towards their father, the harvest will be plentiful. If they do not reach towards either, the crops are likely to spoil in the fields. Each village has their own superstitions on how to best encourage the Spring Child to give them the desired result, some bring noisemakers or holler from behind the father or mother to either get the childs attention or to scare them off. Others watch in complete, reverent silence.
Hunt for the First BloomThe older children are encouraged to participate in the hunt for the first blooms. The goal is to find the first flowers. When they find a flower, the children sing to them and dance around them. Folklore states this is to please minor fey spirits. In some villages, the older children also create spring hearts. Spring hearts are small mounds of dirt and local seeds that the children bring with them on the hunt and work into the soil.
Village FeastClearing usually ends with a village feast. The feast is held outside, and everyone brings their best dishes. This is the last feast created from the winter stores, so the tables are dominated by preserves and long-lasting foods. A special fresh bake, the sunbun, is heavily associated with the holiday.
Sunbuns are a delightful airy pastry baked for Clearing. The buns are topped with icing, and have a sweet custard center. The sunbuns are often decorated with berries around the custard sun to represent rays or the petals of a flower. Sunbuns are usually given as prizes when childen find their first flowers. The history of the sunbun is not very well known. Some claim the pastry originated as a way to use up the leftover yolks after re-starching the family linens.
|Also called||Winter Clearing, Springtide|
|Observed by||Castellan Kingdoms|
|Significance||Welcoming the Spring|
|Celebrations||Dancing, Flower hunts, Feasts|
|Date||First Launderday of Medusi|
Oh, my dearest, don't wilt for me
Oh, my fear is that you shan't be
Winter's been fun,
but it ought to run,
Oh, my dearest, don't wilt for me
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