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Author Topic: Do Elves Have Birthdays?  (Read 7868 times)
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« on: November 01, 2007, 08:11:31 AM »

My Good Kinfolks,

I have been wrestlin' with this elf thing again, and I still don't understand them.  I am sure learning a lot though.  So here is my question now, and it's about birthdays.  Now, everyone knows that elves are born and have a ma and a da and all that.  But do they count their birthdays at all?  And are these days special to them?  For us hobbits, birthdays are really, really big days.  And on that day, your very own birthday, you give everyone presents.  Since it is almost always someone's birthday, almost every day you can expect a present from someone.  And we have birthday parties too to celebrate special birthdays like 50 and such.  But elves...   well I just don't know about 'em.

Maybe they have so many they lose track of 'em.  I wouldn't though if I have that many.  I mean, can you imagine having 1000 birthdays?  That would have to be the grandest celebration ever.  Birthdays are so special, and this is the one day that is wholly yours - the very day you were born and before which you weren't at all.  So help me understand why I never hear about elves' birthdays or ever see them having a birthday party or nothing.

We are celebrating everyone's birthday who was born in the Fall - elf, dwarf, man, hobbit - at our Warming of the Kinhall on Nov. 17.  So let me know if you have a birthday and we will give you a big cheer and a present and everything at this birthday party for all friends.

Digger Goodsong
who will never understand elves
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 12:13:54 PM »

Dear Master Goodsong,

You are truly a scholar and your efforts rival those of old Bilbo himself in learning the ways of the Eldar. Though I am no master of lore I have walked long years and seen wide lands of my kindred so I will attempt to share with you what I know of elven traditions.

Through many lands and several ages have the Firstborn walked Arda. Among them have risen wide varieties of customs. Concerning "birthdays" there are two points for the mortal races to consider.

First, elven reckoning of time is different. Through personal experience or tales passed on, we remember the time of the Two Trees, ere the coming of Sun or Moon used by mortals to mark the passing of your months and years. Much of our time in that age was spent discovering and celebrating the beauty of the newly made world and the stars which shined bright, revealing the wonders of the Cuiviénen and the forests near its shores. The Elven year or yén is equivalent to 144 of your years. The number is of special significance due to that being the number of elves first awoken by Ilúvatar, the progenitors of all elves thereafter. One cycle of the seasons, which you call a year we call coranar or more commonly loa. A day is called a ré and is marked by the first sighting of starlight in the evening. The coranar was divided into six seasons something like your "months" which consist of Ethuil (spring), Laer (summer), Iavas (autumn) Firith (fading) Rhîw (winter) Echuir(stirring). Laer and Rhîw are both 72 ré long while the other four last 54 ré.

Second, we the eldar are ever-bound to Arda, our spirits were called here by the Great Music of the Ainulindalë and made by Ilúvatar. The wisest say that ere we are born our spirits are awaiting their time and when an elf is slain, we return to the spirit until in Aman we have recovered enough strength to be reembodied in flesh again. It is our fate to always remain a part of the world, though part time in the world unseen, and part in the material, some few with the power to move at will between the two. Only Lúthien is thought to be gone from Arda forever, when she followed Beren whence mortals go when their end is made.

Considering those two things, other than the first company of 144, elves are born of mothers and fathers. In order to conceive, both father and mother must wish for a child, and they can feel the new life the moment it is created, for parental bonds are strong among the elves from the moment of conception. Thus they know the exact moment when their children were conceived. Given this, some of the elven-people celebrate conception instead of birth. Others celebrate birth as hobbits and men might. There are others still that mark neither and instead mark the coming of age like the dwarves. Others like the High-elves born in Valinor celebrate the giving of a name, usually the amilessë or mother-name, but possibly the epessë or after-name an honorific by which they are known. Whichever event they observe, it is nearly universal that it is celebrated on the yén not the coranar meaning few mortals would attend more than one marked by an elf.

Your servant and friend,
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