Family trees

In the Lakelands it is usual for any person wealthy enough to acquire land - which is rather expensive in the region - to plant a long-living tree of a species that tends to grow to great size somewhere on the property. This then becomes their family tree.

Not like this (from here)

The family then attempts to preserve the tree as best as possible and follow several other tradtions, to wit:

  • The jars with the ashes of the family's dead from now on are burried between the tree's roots.
  • When a new child is born into the family, their name is written on a bit of ribbon, which then is added to a garland of other such ribbons that hangs on the tree. (The first ribbon is simply tied to a branch.)
  • On major holidays and family feasts the tree is decorated with lanterns.
  • If the tree dies, there is a mourning in the family as if several members of it had died at once. Complicated rituals take place for choosing a new tree and a place for it. 
 More like this (from here)
If the family loses the land with the tree, the tree is burned down where it stands by the new owners and then a fence is put up around its former place. Nothing is done with this patch of land for at least a year. Since this is similar to having all your grandparents being burned alive at the same time, families will often choose to give up other things before giving up the land with the tree. It is therefore not unusual in the Lakelands for a formerly wealthy family to be reduced to living at the base and in the branches of their family tree in poverty, because the tree and the clothes on their backs are the only things that are left to them. (Cautious family tree pickers will often prefer trees that grow marketable fruit for this reason: they figure if their family grows impoverished, then perhaps selling the fruit will help them out.)