The Falcon Banner has posted a new item, 'Calontir Customs: Vigils

As practiced in A.S. 51, by HL Vǫlu-Ingibiǫrg

A vigil is a time set aside for a peerage candidate to listen and reflect.
 (A peerage candidate is someone who has been announced in court as
deserving a peerage, but not yet been through the elevation ceremony which
usually takes place during a later court.)

Royalty and all peers who wish to do so will gather to “put someone on
vigil,” which involves taking the candidate to a tent or room and having
some private, secret ceremony.  (Rumor has it that this involves shaved
flaming baby ducks.  I do not know, and no one who does is allowed to talk
about it.)  In reality, I’ve been told the secrecy is so that the ceremony
feels special and thought-provoking to the candidate.  A laurel-candidate
told me he felt this part brought “a connection to peers you didn’t know
you were part of.”

After this initial mini-ceremony ends, the peers will disperse, and the
second phase begins.  (This phase is sometimes jokingly called “trial by
conversation.”)  The candidate will sit in the tent, usually for at least
six hours (more if it’s an overnight vigil), and receive visitors.  (This
has some root in the medieval idea of instruction during preparation for a
knighting ceremony.)  The royals will generally be the first to visit; in
the meantime other folks will begin arriving.

You do not need to be high-ranking, or even friends with the candidate, to
speak with him or her.  The only thing you need is to have something to say
to the individual sitting vigil.  Some people will go to express
appreciation for the candidate’s skill or hard work; some to offer
congratulations, warning, or advice.  I was told by a candidate that for
him, these visits further deepened the feeling of inclusiveness, of
Calontir as an “us.”

If you wish to speak to the candidate, either by yourself or with someone
who agrees to go in with you, head to the area near the vigil tent or room,
find the person with the waiting list, and ask to be added.  Depending on
how early you arrive, and how talkative the people ahead of you are, it may
be quite some time before you are called.  If you’re a ways down the list
or need to go do something, you can leave; traditionally, if your name
comes up before you get back, you will go next after your return.

If you can see into the vigil tent and no one else is there, someone is
probably fetching the candidate water or food.  Do not go in without being
called; there is always a waiting list, and it’s usually long.

While you’re waiting, try the tidbits at the nearby vigil table.
Hospitality was an important concept in the middle ages, so vigil foods
(snacks) are prepared or obtained by the candidate’s friends, intended to
honor the candidate by refreshing visitors.  Food that is tasty, period,
and matches the candidate’s interests will impress visitors.  Also in this
area, someone will likely have a book where you can write a message for the
candidate, whether or not you plan to speak to her or him.  The great
number of visitors can blur things together in a candidate’s mind, so
leaving a note in the vigil book may be a good idea.

Once you are called in, there is no special ceremony or format to
observe—nothing you’re particularly supposed to say or do.  A visit may
take five to ten minutes, or less if you’d like.  Speech with someone
sitting vigil is a short snippet, or distillation.  Follow the candidate’s
lead, but keep in mind that you can always catch the individual later for
an extended conversation.  Take more than fifteen minutes, and you’ll
likely seem greedy.  (Remember: there is always a waiting list, and it’s
usually long.)  When you leave, the candidate will thank you for the visit,
and sometimes will give a personalized token.  (e.g. Francis, a
metalworker, gave fire-starting flints.)

Afterward, go enjoy the rest of the event.  The candidate will usually be
elevated at court at the end of the day he or she sat vigil.  Some
participants in the elevation ceremony will speak softly, so you’ll want to
sit close in order to be able to hear.  Get there early!
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