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Customs

Page history last edited by Mace 2 years, 3 months ago

 

This page is in the process of being broken down into smaller pages. 

 

Customs

Saltha was until recently a very isolated country, partly because of geography, and partially from a very isolationist government, until opening of the border shortly after the civil war and the end of the 100 years war.[1][2]   Traditions and customs of Saltha did not have a chance to have any outside influence, and so instead were mostly formed from the religion of Santh, but also is influenced by the cold-blooded people's adoption to survive in the harsh hot climate of the desert.

 

Common Gestures 

  

The traditional way of greeting is to raise the hands to mid-chest level palm upward, parallel to the ground and then give a sort of bobbing bow of the head, keeping the head upright and dripping the neck foreword and down. Showing of the palms as a greeting come from when an old and abandoned practice of branding swindlers or bandits on the palms as punishment was used. So showing ones palm is a way of saying "I am honest". The traditional spoken greeting is "Dika Esha" (Or Dika Eshi when addressing a female, or adding the -ny affix to either to make it plural.). This means literally "Greetings, friend". 

 

This is fairly simple, except there is also tied in a more complex hierarchy system based on the two people’s standing to each other. The factors for this is the person’s age, and how many wives they have (if they are a male adult) their husband has (for women) or how many wives their father has (for children under marrying age). Having a wife is worth the same esteem of being ten years older.

 

Bows can range from a very slight bow all the way down to a 90 degree bow where the body is parallel to the ground, depending on the relative position of the two people. Bowing to children is not expected, though adults will sometimes give a small acknowledging bow back.

 

Sticking out ones tongue

A common thing that humans would generally find insulting is when a Salthan sticks out their tongue. To Salthans this gesture isn't insulting at all, and is very natural. It is a sign of submission and pacifism and can mean both “I mean you no harm" and "I will do as you say".This gesutre is sometimes acompanied wiht a sign with the right hand on the chest (over the lungs), or from the chest, then to the heart, and finally to the head indicating total submission of breath (body), heart (soul) and mind.

 

Rude Gestures

Putting ones hands out palm down, except maybe to a child is considered very rude. Pointing with the index finger with the hand as a fist is seen as an obscene gesture to Salthans. Instead Salthans point with all of their fingers extended, and one finger raised above the others.

 

Clothing 

The nudity taboo in some ways in Saltha is much less strict than other countries. It is considered acceptable for young children under the age of ten to wear little or no clothing at all, generally wearing as most a simple loin cloth when working or going to school and nothing when playing. This distinction is a sort of reminder to them and a sign to others to keep doing whatever chore they are on, or to pay attention in school. There is a strong cultural taboo for children to speak to those so-clothed, because they may be distracting them from work they should be doing. To be allowed to be unclothed is to say "you are free to play". 

 

 The traditional clothing of the Salthan people for adults is a long sleeved robe called a Hoshi (Ho-shee), and then the Skata, a sleeveless robe that fits over it. Finally it is tied with a Toshe (a cloth or leather belt with a triangle shape cut out.). Pants, an item brought in from the human culture are also somewhat popular, modified with a hole for a tail.

 

 Because biologically a female's chest is the same as a male's, they never had a reason to develop a norm for females covering their chest, as in some human cultures, and so both sexes are just as likely to go bare-chested.

 

Both male and females who are married or betrothed to marry wear a sort of cloth over their belt, called a hasrok. 

 

 

Movement

 

This is less a cultural aspect so much as a biological need. Because Salthans are cold-blooded, it is necessary for them to regulate their blood temprature. It is very common for shops to have a indoor and outdoor counter that they move to between the day, and stalls have a roof that can be opened. Likewise, school houses are built in a way to let sunlight in, or an alternate area for teaching outdoors.

 

 

Bathing, Cleanliness and Purity

 

Salthans find cleanliness very important; in fact you could almost say it's an obsession. There are many practices and laws around this, most dating from the beginning of the culture at the beginning of the first cities between 2500 to 2000 KG.

 

Bathing in this culture is different than the way most others practice it from human cultures. In this culture a Salthan never ever just gets in to the tub, but instead they thoroughly wash themselves first with soap, rinse completely and then get into the bath of hot water. This means that soap and grime is kept completely from the water.

 

In a home, it is customary to wash the feet of adult guests when they enter a home they are staying at. It is also a custom for all the children in a house to not just “wash up” before dinner but to take a bath. These two rituals comes form two main reasons. One is the practical one that the streets are dusty, and a traveler’s feet are going to be dusty, as it is with children who are playing out doors all day. The second is the religious aspect as part of the mandates of their religion called Santh which is practiced by a majority of Salthans.

 

Mixed sex bathing is very common, it is hardly considered shameful or embarrassing at all, though many public bath houses have changed to be segregated with the new contact with the human cultures there are quite a few that remain mixed sex, mostly in the smaller cities and villages. A whole family bathing together at home is even more common.

 

Public bath houses are very common, and there is always at least one, even in the smallest villages. They usually have a hot bath, a cold bath and a bath of hot sand. Some of the larger ones also have saunas.

 

Salthan philosophy and religion focuses on idea of purity of Silas (verb), which restores the Silase (noun)  This is in the two aspects of exterior purity in ritual washings and physical punishment.

This takes place regularly at the end of every month in the Salthan calendar.Salthans see a regular physical discipline (corporal punishment) of children as part of this cleaning and as a means of teaching self-discipline as mandated in their holy book.and is just as important, or ever more important than the outward cleaning. They see it a way of cleaning the inside, the soul from the wrongs they have committed, and restoring the Silase. They see the silase as being akin to a physical object, that can even  be stolen with magic, or tricked out. 

 

The scheduled punishment for children is administered by a parent and consists of five quick hard strikes on the bare bottom of their children with the hand or a rod depending on the child's age. Adults also regularly administer a few strokes on their own backs. It is something they believe saves or at least forestalls a harsher judgment from their God.

 

Some humans have given the undue impression of Salthans being cruel who wantonly beat their children and this is most definitely not the case. They view the bottom as the only proper target for punishment, and it is considered thoroughly wrong to strike a child anywhere else.

 

The focus focus on physical punishment also goes into the realm of criminal cases. Prison is never used as a punishment of a crime and instead the person works off their debt or for more violent crimes they are flogged.

 

Bathhouse and Bathing Customs

The city has many public bath houses around the city, and along the street are public fountains not very far apart from each other for cooling off.  The fountains were basins raised on a wall about 10 feet tall, with an extended pump handle to release the water. These fountains were built when one of the first kings ruled thousands of years ago, and are still used today. It is a common sight to see adults pouring water over their hot heads or children showering in them to keep cool. All major cities have a number of bathhouses

 

 

The customs of bathing in the Salthan country are a bit different than a simple shower or soaking in a tub like most humans do. 

 

 Many bathhouses are segregated by sex, though there are still a number of non-segregated bath houses. Many bath houses that are segergated by sex also have private baths for families. It is not uncommon for young children (under 10) to enter a changing room or bath area with a parent of the opposite sex.

 

 

Bathing Etiquette

 

In a bathhouse, you go into changing room and undress and put your clothes on a shelf. In the next room is the big tub of hot water. It is considered polite for adults to cover their pubic area when walking around the bath house with a washcloth. You do not get into the tub right away; instead you first go to one the side to one of the faucets and take soap and a washcloth and scrub thoroughly, then rinse off. This water is not heated.Then the bather gets into the large hot tub.

 

Traditional Salthan City House

 

A Salthan City house is two stories Tall. On the first floor is a large room for eating and cooking. There is a large table, a stove and a sink. In the back is a door to the bathroom. The bathroom has a drain on the floor with a faucet over it. In Saltha, the bathing custom in Satha is to wash up first, and then get into the hot tub and soak. Upstairs is one large room. Smaller rooms are made by hanging fabric walls. On the floor of each "room" are mats. Here there is a door leading out to the balcony that has a staircase leading to the roof.

 

 

Food, eating and Hospitality

  

 Salthans pride themselves on their hospitality and generosity. It is part of Salthan custom to fulfill any wish of their guests by a guest, within the law and ethics of the culture. This may only be revoked by informing the guest before the guest steps over the threshold of the host's house. When a guest enters a home, the host (usually the lady of the house) gives the guest a small piece of bread to eat there. It is considered bad luck to enter a house with an empty stomach. The seating of a guest conveys a silent message of the attitude of the person. The place of most importance at the table is the one near wall opposite the door. The lady of the house always sits to the man of the houses left, with the guests sitting opposite as best as possible. Whoever is the head of the guests should sit opposite the man of the house If the host says "Sit by the door" Then his attitude is that of superiority, he will treat you politely, but you should not ask for any great favors. If he tells you to sit by the far wall, then he will sit by the door. This is a place of inferiority, he at the more dangerous place of the door. For families and close friends most time he will say "sit anywhere."

 

Food & Drink

 See the full article Food and Drink 

Salthan cooking for the most part is simple, and is always food that can be eaten with the hands without untisils. A popular dish in Saltha is fish baked into bread.

 

 

The Salthan Calendar and Holidays

See: Salthan holidays

 

 The Salthan calendar is divided into 15 months. The first 14 months each have 25 days and have 5 days in a week. They only have one weekend day a week, but have it more often with 73 weeks in a year to our 52. Oddly enough this means it comes to exactly the same number of weekend days of 15 as a human calendar, assuming a human working Monday through Fridays. This doesn’t count the number of day-off holidays for humans or Salthans.

 

The final month has the left over 15 days, meaning it has 3 weeks instead of 5. The first day of the year is the vernal equinox or first day of spring, around late march. Since it is different each year the Salthan calendar changes every year depending on when the Equinox is.

 

Trading and Gift Giving

 

Gift giving is a common way of restoring to balance friendships, extended family or business ties when one perceives the relation is breaking down.  Generally it is only rude to turn down a gift from a relative, or some one one sees on a regular basis, 

 

 Societies

  Full Article: Societies 

When a boy reaches coming of age, and become as Uagia (which means literally “neither great nor small”) it is mandatory that he become part of a society group. Which group the child joins is basically random, dependent only on which groups have fewer members. The child has no choice of what group he will join. These groups teach the boys the basics of combat and tactics, using a weapon called a Uagikathe that is padded on the end with an animal skin. These societies are much like warring factions, opposed to each other.  Members of one group is allowed to attack those of another society that they meet, and do not even need to declare the attack and may ambush them. This means that a society member boy must be on guard at all times. Sometimes when two boys see each other on the street they will recognize the other as a member of an opposing society and have a sort of impromptu duel. The padded weapons reduce the risk of injury, though the occasional minor injury does occur.

 

Sports

 

 Salthans enjoy numerous sports including foot racing, wrestling and various other sports. The most popular sport in Saltha is Tashnense.

 

Performance Arts

main article: Performance Arts 

 

Counter-Culture Groups 

Full Article: Counter-Culture Groups

 Generally counter-culture groups are ignored, and so while this does mean some discrimination against them in areas such as hiring where they would be seen by general public, violence against these groups is very rare. 

 

Families

 

 Often times a man is the head of multiple households. It is a sign of status to be head of more than one household that many poorer men cannot afford. On average a wife will bear around four children, as that is considered a desirable amount. However, it is not uncommon for a man who is “stuck in the middle” who can afford to raise more children, but cannot afford to support another household to have as many as six children.

 

There is no such thing as individual ownership. Items belong to everyone in the intersecting groups,  even if one person is the only one who can really use the item (like a toy would only be used by a child).

A man who has multiple households may own partially the things in all the households he is head of, but he cannot transfer objects or even permit use of an object belonging to one household to the other since it is not wholly his, unless the entire household agrees to trade it to the other.

 

An object may only belong to one social or household group at a time, so an object may not belong to say two families at once. The one exception is if it designated as public and all can use it. Once an object is designated public it cannot be made to loose this status, except through a vote of a majority of the senate.

 

Ceremonies - The Seven Stages of Life

  Full Article: Seven Stages of Life Ceremonies

The Salthan has a series of rituals connected to each major step in life, which is divided in to seven parts.

 

Adoptive Child-swapping

 It is considered very bad to not be able to carry on both lines from at least one daughter and at least one son, keeping on the line of strength and line of spirit., It is common to have families who have only sons to  "swap" a son with a family who has only daughters. They are adpoted by the other families, and considered of the other's bloodlines, so both families can carry on both lineages.

 

Honor

 

Salthans feel very strongly about honor. If they loose honor they feel they must right the wrong in way of resitution and then be purifyed.

  

Slavery

 See detailed article: Slavery

 

While legal in Saltha is very different than in other places. In Saltha, slavery is completely that of criminal punishment and restitution and paying of debts. it is also very heavily regulated how a slave may be treated. .

 

If a slave is treated too badly, he or she is set free. Also if a slave saves his or her master's life, that slave must be freed. Slavery is currently a very hot topic. There are two ways the government handles dept-slaves. One way is the government rents out the slave, and the proceeds go to the person who is owed the debt. When the debt is paid the slave is set free. The other way is the slave is given to work for the person who is owed for a set period of time depending on how much is owed. 

  

 

Taboos

It is a taboo to speak the Santh version of the devil's name indoors. It is also considered taboo to eat any reptile, since they believe they are a sort of distant relative.

  

The Ten 

 

 A group in the military, this ceremonial position dates back thousands of years to the time of the begining of recorded history. Each person represents a clan (Dating back to the tribal pre-king days). If one dies, then another takes their place. Though technically it is a military unit, they are never sent in to battle even in times of war, and live in the capital city. Sometimes the ten are used as a mediator though for disputes as an alternative to using courts.

 

Common Tools and weapons used by Salthans

Main Article: Weapons 

 The weapons used by Salthans are remarkably nonlethal in nature, stemming from what one might call a preference or a custom of war to take as many prisoners as possible. 

 

 

 

[1] Bartley, J. M.  - "History of Saltha Vol 3. - War and Change

[2]  Shahrivar, Mattin - "Understanding Saltha". Ten Terak 

[3] National Poll

 

 

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