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Rules, Rituals and Ceremonies of the Community

by Emma Cuttini, Andrea Francovicchio, Michael Rodaro, Carolina Savonitto and Anita Trevisan

Ceremonies

Ceremony of Loss

When a member of the Community gets lost the whole Community performs the Ceremony of Loss together murmuring the name of the lost child throughout an entire day less and less frequently softer in volume. This way the lost person seems to fade away gradually from everyone’s consciousness.

Murmur-of-Replacement-Ceremony

When a family unit that previously lost a child is given a new one the Community performs the Murmur-of-Replacement-Ceremony that consists in repeating the name of the replacement child, which is the same of the lost one, softly and slowly at first, then faster and with a greater volume while the family unit stands on the stage with the newchild.

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Ceremony of Release

When for an Old is time to be released there is a proper Ceremony to celebrate his/her life. It begins with the telling of the Old’s life, later the invites eat a toast, raise their glasses and cheer, after that they chant the anthem and the one being released makes a goodbye speech. Friends are free to make speeches to wish him/her well and then he/she walks through the door of the releasing room. Children mustn’t attend Ceremonies of Release.

 

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Ageing Ceremonies

Every December the Community celebrates the ageing of its youngest members with the following ceremonies that take place in the Auditorium, the most important building of the Community.

 

Ceremony of Ones

Newchildren born in the current year are assigned to a family unit, given a name and a comfort object (which is generally animal shaped). Every family unit consists of a mother, a father, a daughter and a son. The name of Newchildren, chosen by the Committee of Elders, must remain a secret until the Ceremony of Naming. Each Newchild is given an identification number that will be associated to him/her until Ceremony of Twelves.

 

Ceremony of Two

Ones become Twos.

 

Ceremony of Threes

Twos become Threes.

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Ceremony of Fours

Threes become Fours and get jackets fastened down the back and they keep using them until the age of six. Fours, Fives and Sixes must help each other dress in order to learn interdependence.

 

Ceremony of Fives

Fours become Fives

 

Ceremony of Sixes

Fives become Sixes

 

Ceremony of Sevens

Sixes become Sevens and get a front-buttoned jacket.

 

Ceremony of Eights

Sevens become Eights and get jackets with smaller buttons and pockets, so they can keep track of their belongings. Eights must begin to do volunteer hours: they must reach a certain number of hours, otherwise they won’t be assigned an employ at the Ceremony of Twelves. Their comfort object is taken away and recycled to the younger children.

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Ceremony of Nines

Eights become Nines and get a bicycle.

 

Ceremony of Tens

Nines become Tens and get hair snipped neatly: females lose braids and males get a more manly short style.

 

Ceremony of Elevens

Tens become Elevens and get new clothing: undergarments for females and longer trousers for males and also a shaped pocket for the calculator.

 

Ceremony of Twelves

Elevens become Twelves and get their assignments. The Ceremony of Twelve is one of the most important ceremonies in

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the community because you get your job assignment.An assignment is a job that you do for the rest of your life until youenter the House of the Old. You wait for the chief elder with the rest of the eleven group. You wait for your number to be called and when it is called you go up to the stage where the cheif elder is and get your assignment.

 

After you have become Twelve age isn’t important anymore, therefore ageing is not celebrated any longer.

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Rituals

Telling-of-feelings ritual

Every night family units must share their strongest feelings they felt during the day and with the help of the other members of the family unit try to understand their own complicated emotions while analysing and sifting through them. Every member of the Community must take part in this ritual since the age of three.

 

Dream-Telling ritual

Every morning each family unit must share their dreams since the age of three.

After a member has finished his telling the others say the standard phrase: “Thank you for your dream (name)”.

 

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Chanting of the Anthem

Every morning, before the lessons start, children and instructors must chant the Community Anthem.

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 Rules

 

General rules

Citizens must tell the truth.

Citizens mustn’t lock doors.

Citizens mustn’t turn speakers off.

Citizens must apologise and accept the apologies

Books are forbidden to all citizens except (from) the Giver and the Receiver.

Citizens are allowed to cross the bridge only on official business.

You can have a relief-of-pain through anaesthetic, ointments, injections, pills.

On a holiday the usual rules of order could be disregarded.

Rosemary is a forbidden name in the city.

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People must take the pills when the first stirrings happen.

Everyone must attend Ceremonies.

Citizens mustn’t ride a bicycle before becoming a Nine.

Citizens can apply for elsewhere and change community.

Citizens mustn’t open their tunics.

Citizens mustn’t use someone else’s bicycles.

No one can use the term released lightly, even children will be scolded if they do so.

Everyone is required to use language in an appropriate way.

Anyone can look up for his age in the Hall of Records.

It’s not permitted for adults and children to look at another’s nakedness, this rule doesn’t concern the newchildren and the Old.

If someone goes to Elsewhere, he/she can’t come back.

 

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Citizens not on official business mustn’t leave their dwellings at night.

Disrupting ceremonies is unthinkable.

If someone disappears, searchers would look for him/her.

You mustn’t steal.

Pilots are forbidden to fly over the Community, in that case they will be released.

One of the Committee of the Elders’s jobs is to keep an eye on the children to spot their attitudes and give them the most appropriate assignment.

Citizens aren’t allowed to choose their own spouses, they must apply for one.

Citizens can apply for a change of rules.

 

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Family units’ rules

Each family unit takes care of two children, a male and a female, the future parents can apply for a child when they feel ready. If one or both children die, parents can apply for a replacement child.

Parents are allowed to write an apology to avoid their children to speak one.

Adults without children or with grown up children go into the community of Childless Adults.

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Newchildren’s rules

Newchildren don’t have a name.

Newchildren are assigned to a family that respects the matchings.

Newchildren are Uncertain if their birthweight isn’t high enough or if they haven’t slept quietly enough, if they are, they can spend 1 more year at Nurturing.

The newchildren must take tests of maturity, if they don’t go through them, they must be released.

If a birthmother is expecting identical twins the one with lower birthweight must be released.

Birthmothers are assigned only three births each, then they become Laborers.

Birthmothers aren’t allowed to see their newchildren.

 

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Children’s rules

After school all the small children must go to the Childcare Centre and all the older ones must do their volunteer hours or training.

Until they become Nines, female children must have hair ribbons.

Fours, Fives and Sixes must help each other dress in order to learn interdependence.

Children mustn’t attend the ceremonies of release.

When girls turn nine they must remove their hair ribbons.

Hair ribbons must always be neatly tied at all times.

You are free to choose where to spend your volunteer hours.

Objects mustn’t be removed to the recreation area.

 

The Old’s rules

The Old must follow dietary rules.

The Old must have a nametag on their clothes.

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Giver and Receiver’s rules

The Giver and the Receiver don’t have to apologise.

Books are forbidden to all citizens except (from) the Giver and the Receiver.

The function of the Givers is advising the Committee of Elders when they call upon them.

Receivers may ask questions and receive answers.

Receivers are prohibited from dream-telling.

The Receivers can’t have medication for anything related their training.

The Receivers can’t discuss of their training.

Receivers may lie.

Receivers mustn’t apply for release.

The Giver doesn’t have to attend ceremonies.

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Punishments

If citizens disobey, they will be punished.

If citizens break the rules three times, they will be released.

Rudeness is punished with gentle chastisements.

Parents can chastise their children if they deserve it.

Punishment for Threes is smacking with a discipline wand.

On the Old is used the same discipline wand as for small children.

Bragging is forbidden even if you don’t mean to and it’s punished with a gentle chastisement.

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