Celebration of Children
In Old Kirinal, the Celebration of Children Ceremony is traditionally observed after the harvest, in the last week of Autumn, and on the third day of the week. After the twin Kirinal Catastrophes the soil in the Kirinal Concordance Zone became famously infertile. Despite the lack of local agriculture, Kirinalos eagerly celebrate every holiday possible in their own inimitable style.
Every child born during the year since the last Celebration is brought to the Temple or Church of each of the Gods. Each baby receives a blessing and a small gift appropriate to that deity.
The combination of ceremonies throughout this special day provides enough divine protection to ward the children until their Coming of Age ceremony when they enter adolescence.
Throngs of parents dressed in their finest clothing bring their babies to every church and shrine in the Temple District. The children, dressed in white gowns, receive blessings from every god. Gongs and bells sound, the air smells of incense, and the alms boxes fill up.
The Importance of Blessings
The blessings of the gods serve an important functional purpose, protection from spirits that inhabit the Zone along with the mortal races. Producing enough charms to protect all the children born in a year is a massive undertaking. The annual Celebration gives each clergy enough time to make everything they need for that year.
Some examples of the blessings and gifts include:
The Church of Sun & Moon charges them with holy light and gives them a mooncake and a solar charm.
The Church of Anam administers the five-fold blessing and presents a scapular of protection.
The Temple of Balatha, bestows the saltwater baptism and a bracelet of braided stingray leather.
After the Procession, children and parents return home to a great feast prepared for them by their families. Named for a Molndalian tradition that the Kirinalos have adopted, food and drink flow freely into the night as they celebrate and sigh in relief.
Children in Peril
New parents in the Zone face an unpleasant fact of life head-on when their children are born. The Zone is rife with spirits and supernatural beings, both light and dark. The most unpleasant; hags, aswang, and vampire spawn; see mortal children as particular delicacies. Every home and building in the Zone is warded against minor spirits, but newborn children smell especially delicious, attracting the worst kind of extra attention.
New parents who can't afford the extra wards either move onto holy grounds (a house of worship), move in with friends or family, or leave the Zone entirely until their children can receive the Celebration Ceremonies.
The Neighborhood Abjurer
Abjurers live in each neighborhood, paid by the residents to put up small wards and protections on every home. They have to charge extra for Natal Wards to prevent incursions by hungry, powerful spirits. Children who have not been through the Celebration cannot leave their homes at night.
During the Celebration, they visit each Kinderfest celebration in their territory to check each child and home for the last time. They join the feast and accept their final payment from the grateful families.
They visit new residents to explain the importance of protecting their homes with wards and the vital importance of having extra wards on the homes of infants.
The Dark Celebration
"We love your children. The sweetness of them. The innocence. The rarest of vintages. The fresher the better. The mewling of a suckling babe as I drink it up... There is nothing quite like it. The Kirinalos are adept at keeping their brats out of our reach, but every now and then some foolish newcomer fails to properly consecrate their young. We dark ones draw lots for the pleasure of plucking it from the embrace of it's parents." --Yugangi, Rani of the Mananaggal
Some parents in the Zone don't believe in the protective measures undertaken by everyone else. Some refuse to believe in the power of the Withdrawn Gods or think that dark spirits don't really exist. Others believe that they are strong enough to protect their children themselves. They are wrong.
When night falls, their unwarded homes often avoid misfortune for many months. Unfortunately for them, they eventually awaken to an empty crib. In the worst cases, the entire family disappears in the night, only blood-spattered walls and floors left behind where a happy family once dwelled.
A 30-mile hole in reality ringed by fortresses and cities. Both the greatest threat and resource in the world.