Birth, Death, and Funerals in Bastia
Birth Among Galdori
Among the wealthiest Bastian galdori, it is most typical to have only one child (and there are increasingly cases of couples choosing to remain childless). More than two children is rare among all galdori, and a galdori woman pregnant for the third time might find female friends (or acquaintances) gently pulling her aside to explain how to properly use contraception spells.
When a child is roughly two seasons old, his or her parents undertake a ritual called the Makarios di Hurte, or Blessings of Hurte, in which the child (dressed in a suitably expensive and uncomfortable infant gown, generally with excessive amounts of lace and ribbons) is taken to a Temple of Hurte, and prayed over loudly, in the hopes that Hurte will bless them with beauty (and various other positive attributes). It is considered the height of rudeness to remark on the child’s appearance prior to this ceremony. The child is then shuffled back to its nursemaids or whomever actually has the task of caring for it, and the parents throw an elaborate party.
Galdori tend to be fairly uninterested parents in Bastia, although children tend to reflect strongly upon one socially, particularly once they are older. The strictness of Bastian inheritance laws means that most wealthy parents do take an interest in their children’s marriages.
Birth Among the Lower Races
Humans and wicks both tend to have many children (although they also have much higher rates of infant mortality than galdori do). Humans have not adopted a full Makarios di Hurte ceremony, but it is common for the parents to have what is referred to as an unveiling around the child’s first birthday. This is a celebration with family and friends, usually in the form of a potluck. An unveiling is often held even if the child has died before their first birthday, although it is then a much more somber occasion.
Galdori Death and Funerals
Deaths and funerals are enormous, public affairs among the galdori. Funerals are never held in the temples; instead, they are held in funeral halls designed and maintained expressly to be rented for such purposes. The Cadus Barr, or Gravekeepers, prepare the bodies for burial. The funeral includes an afternoon wake, including a viewing of the body whenever it is fit for such things (or a symbolic viewing of a shroud if it is not), followed by a procession to the gravesite, and lastly an enormous funerary reception which often goes until late in the evening and usually includes both dinner and considerable amounts of alcohol. Across Bastia, bodies are interred in phasmonias, located outside of the main walls of the city, and it is typical for the procession to stop at the city walls or outside of the phasmonia at the least. In Florne, there are several islands only just visible from the city which are used as burial sites, and so funeral processions generally end at one of the city’s harbors. There are many stories concerning these phasmonia islands, and they are considered strange and dangerous places; few would willingly set foot on one.
Bastian galdori believe that the larger and more elaborate the funeral and its associated displays of grief, the better. As such, the custom of hiring professional mourners, who weep and wail over the body at the viewing and throughout the procession, has grown in popularity over the last centuries, and is well-entrenched in Bastia today. A typical funeral could involve as many as a dozen hired mourners; those for the very wealthy, very important, or both, have sometimes had as many as a hundred. Actors, actresses and other performers will often work as hired mourners to support themselves (as their work ends before sunset, they can easily go off to perform in the evening afterward). Wearing black is customary for the immediate family of the deceased, but most Bastians do not continue to do so after the funeral. Note that these black outfits are usually not simple - lace, ribbons, elaborate embroidery, and complex silhouettes for both men and women are all popular.
Human Death and Funerals
Funerals among humans tend to be smaller, more sedate affairs, although they still involve a wake and a separate reception. Most humans do not hire professional mourners, but weeping and wailing as loudly as possible at the wake is considered not only acceptable but desirable, as it is believed to purge the body of the sadness caused by the death. The internment usually takes place during the reception; sometimes humans will accompany the body to the phasmonia in a procession, but not always. The reception is generally a quiet and more somber affair, and traditionally held as a potluck at a family member’s home; the bereaved are not expected to contribute anything but their presence, and it is considered neighborly to make too much food and leave the leftovers with the family of the deceased.
Wick Death and Funerals
There are a variety of funeral traditions among Bastian wicks, although city-living wicks tend to follow human customs. Nomadic wicks generally have their own, tribe-specific traditions, but cremation in a ritual bonfire is common. Most nomadic wicks do not engage in loud displays of weeping and wailing, but rather focus on celebrating the deceased’s life in their rituals.