Triellian Naming Customs

In Triel, from time to time (usually every few months) some of the priests of the Lord of Laughter declare it to be a Naming Day. At that time, those who have not yet been Named (largely, children who have been born since the last Naming day) are brought to the priests who declared the Naming Day to be formally Named and Claimed as children of their parents.

A Naming starts with the parent presenting the child to the priest, and asking whether the child's name is the name the parent has choosen to call the child, or occasionally, what the child's name is. The priest then asks the child what his or her name is. The child isn't obliged to do anything in particular, but smiling or grabbing for the priest's hair are considered good signs (it has from time to time been asked whether "Ouch" was actually supposed to be the name of one youngster who'd gotten a good grip on the priest's beard, but as it was the third time he'd been brought to a Naming, it was generally accepted, and he has yet to ask whether he should change it -- besides, it suits him), while breaking out crying is generally considered a bad one. Usually, the priest then tells the parent what the child's name is -- generally, but not always, the same name that the parent asked about.

If the priest has stated the child's name, the parent then Claims the child by stating to the assembled people that this is his or her child (giving the child's name). The child is then legitimately his or her child. (It is possible under certain circumstances to Claim a child on someone else's behalf, and the person who Claims the child need not be the child's parent.) The audience acknowledges the Claim, and then the next child is presented.

The most common thing for the priest to say if he or she doesn't state the child's name is that the child does not yet have a name, or that it isn't the child's Naming Day. As Trielian custom does not condone Claiming a child who hasn't been Named, the parent usually just brings the child to the next Naming Day. This is not considered problematic or even particularly noteworthy (though it is occasionally inconvenient). If the priest has said that it isn't the child's Naming Day, it is almost always the case that the child eventually throws the Naming Day party (see below) for the day on which they are eventually Named. If the priest says that the child hasn't got a name yet, something generally happens that makes it clear what the child's name is, though it may take a while. (The record for most Naming Days without a name is held by Iceblossom, who was called Another Child while she went unnamed at 41 Naming Days over 19 years before she walked into an early spring Naming Day gathering at a neighboring village carrying a fistfull of pale blue flowers of a type no one present had seen before. She and the flowers were both dubbed "Iceblossom" on the spot by the priest, Grumpy Sallubrin. The flowers have since spread across a wide area of western Triel, and are commonly called "Another's Name" -- giving a bouquet of them to someone who is procrastinating on an important decision is considered a tactful reminder. The record for going the longest without a name is held Pachenacadil, whose parents settled deep into the Kraerkorags, and didn't find a priest to Name him until he was 37.)

A Naming Day is not very much like a birthday. Since the Second 1341, age in Triel (not that it often matters) is usually counted (when it is counted at all) by winters, and holding even parties at regular intervals is considered to be in somewhat dubious taste so far South. When it does happen, though, a Naming Day Party is not to be missed. (Naming Day Parties happen about as often as Naming Days but less evenly spaced.) At some point down the line, twenty-five to fourty years after the Naming (give or take a few decades), one of the people who was Named on that particular day (frequently one of the first who struck out on his/her own to do very well for him/herself) decides that it's time, and starts preparing and sending out annoucements -- a year in advance is considered none too soon. (It did happen once that two people attempted to hold competing Naming Day parties, but they were the Rntralek twins, Jenefethl and Ogopop -- it was almost expected that they would have a fight about that, too.) Everyone who was Named on that day is expected, and many people who were Named on the same day in a different year will attend as well, along with their families and friends and the priests who named them, and for that matter, almost everyon in who lives in the area will turn up at some point as well -- and just about all of them will pitch in to help, by bringing food and music if nothing else. While "officially" lasting one day (or at least, that's all the host is held responsible for), most Naming Day parties run about a week, maybe a bit less in bad weather (the Great Snowball Party ran almost three and was one of several notable exceptions), though there is some debate about whether one should count the day or so in which half the attendees are still drunk and the other half are re-planting the party area (bringing up the Turnip Fight in some areas of Triel still starts dangerous arguments).