It's finally time for this Ceremony we've been hearing so much about. As Lily gets ready, Jonas reminds her of how she got her front-button jacket when she turned Seven. Before they become Sevens, children have to wear coats that fasten in the back, so they can learn "interdependence" by buttoning each other up.
When Jonas and his family shows up, we see that the entire community attends the Ceremonies. Jonas' Mother takes a seat in the audience, but his Father, because he's a Nurturer, is going to take part in the naming of the Ones.
Gabe isn't there with the other Ones because he's, in short, the runt of the litter. Since he isn't healthy or grown enough to be placed with a family, normal routine says he should be released from the community. But the previous night, Jonas' Father appealed and won another year for Gabe, on the condition that Jonas's family take care of him until he is well.
On top of that, Jonas, Lily, and their parents all had to sign a document promising not to get emotionally attached to Gabe. Seriously.
As the new babies get their names, Jonas sits with Fiona (who just got a new little brother) and Asher. He thinks about how much he likes the name "Gabriel."
One family just lost a son, a four-year-old named Caleb, when he drowned in the river. Afterwards, everyone partook in the Ceremony of Loss, where they repeated the name of the dead boy softer and softer until everyone forgot about him. And now today, the family gets a new Caleb! Seriously.
That's it for the first day of the Ceremonies. The second morning is when the Ceremony of Twelve takes place.
So now we're at day two. The bicycles are presented to the Nines, the Tens get their hair cut, and the Elevens get new clothes.
When the community breaks for lunch, Jonas and his friends talk nervously about their impending Ceremony. Asher relates the urban myth that a boy who thought he was going to be an Engineer was assigned to be a Sanitation Laborer and swam away across the river to another community.
He reports that, if you really hate your assignment, you can apply to be transferred to "Elsewhere" and leave. This, too, is somewhat of a myth, so Jonas isn't sure if it's really true.
Besides, Jonas doubts that the Elders could ever make the wrong decision. Just look at the way spouses are matched up—they spend years calculating all sorts of compatibility factors before they allow any couples to be formed.