The Life-Stages and their Baptisms

There are numerous Peonian saints associated with all aspects of human life. Especially important are the baptisms and ceremonies which mark the boundaries of the stages in every person's life. There are, naturally, four such stages: infant, youth, adult, and elder.

The saint of the actual birth is St. Melise; in her name the baby is annointed with pure water; one drop is placed above the infant's genitals (to protect it from sinful and base appetites), one upon its belly (to bless and provide for its physical needs), one above its ear (to enliven the strength of its character), and one upon its brow (to grant it enlightenment and peace). This first baptism is called Melisaech.

The second baptism is called Neleaech, in honour of St. Nele, who is patron saint of infants. This ritual takes place on the fifth day of the baby's life, and includes the naming ceremony.

The third baptism is known as Frinaech, after the saint Frin, the patron saint of childhood. It occurs when the child is roughly six or seven years old - when it has become able to properly help adults with their work.

The fourth baptism marks the change from youth to full adult, when the person has reached full physical maturity. The ceremony, called the Oedolynaech, varies for men and women, and a different saint is associated with each. For men, it is St. Ranal; for women, St. Elsbit.

The change to the final life-stage, elder, is not marked by a baptism, but by a different ceremony. It falls under the auspices of Tera the Crone, who is said to accompany the old through their last years, until at last they depart for Valon.

Burial Customs

Burial is the most common form of body disposal. The graveyard at Tonot is situated some way to the south, near the river. It is customary for commoners to receive their "last rites" from a Peonian priest, who often also physically buries the body (though the graves are generally dug by someone more used to physical labour). These rites include cleaning and preparing the corpse for burial. There is no concept of preserving corpses among Peonians. Coffins are not generally used, although the body is typically wrapped in cloth, and grave markers are simple affairs, more often an unmarked stone than anything else.

Those who live in a community are buried in that community's graveyard; those passing through who die there are also buried there. Outsiders who do not die on village lands, but within the lord's demesne, are generally buried near where they died, if that is possible. They are not buried with the village dead.

HRT : Peoni
Last updated: 27 February 2001 by Jamie 'Trotsky' Revell