The Growing Cloak

When a child is born in Vanelle, one of their parents or grandparents will start crafting them a so-called Growing Cloak. This is a garment which they will then wear every year on the anniversary of their birth to celebrate it and to honour the significance of growing older until they reach maturity.   There is no specific pattern or formula that is followed in the making of the cloak, making each cloak a unique heirloom. Each year, the cloak is altered and lengthened to fit the birthday boy or girl, adding both material, embroidery and decoration using a variety of techniques. Growing cloaks are usually colourful pieces, each alteration reflecting the interests and disposition of its owner as they grow. Some would say this makes for an exceptionally garish artefact, but they are cherished possessions that are often kept throughout the life of their owner.   It is customary for a child to wear their cloak for the entire day on the anniversary of their birth so that friends and relatives can admire their cloak, but also so that that the people they meet throughout the day will know that it is their anniversary and give them the proper attention. This tradition is usually something which is enjoyed greatly by younger children. However, children closer to their day of maturity, their 16th anniversary, are less enthused by the prospect of wearing their cloak all day.   At the end of the day of their anniversary, the celebrant will return the cloak to the person responsible for crafting it for another year, at which point it will have been altered once more and can be donned again.   When a child reaches the age of 16, their family and friends arrange a celebration which incorporates their coming of age ceremony; a large part of which is the handing over of the cloak to signify that they are done growing - the cloak doesn't need any more alterations and so can be handed over for good.


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