Kythan (culture)

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Cultural Overview

Origins

The Kythan people originated from the Arkian Ancestors whom migrated west around the northern end of the Darlom Mountains through the territory now claimed by the Layor, before making their way south into the forested region of Kythus.

Geography

The natural boundaries formed by the Darlom mountains and the Merelean Sea keep cultural mixing at the borders of Kythus to a minimum.

Language

Kythusave
The primary language of the Kythan people is Kythusave - Clanless Tongue, which evolved out of several related dialects spoken by the individual clan groups which settled the region before uniting into a single nation.
Other Languages
Traders, sailors, and statesmen in Kythus may know secondary languages from neighbouring nations and cultures such as Layor, Aralian, Tabrani, Tabral, or Corinthean. As well foreign cultural groups living in Kythus will know their mother tongues.

Family

Structure / Size

A typical Kythan family consists of a married couple, and their children. One or both grandparents may live with their offspring, usually the eldest son. Producing children is a matter of survival for most families, and Kythans will have as many as practical, although infant mortality reduces the number that survive to adult hood, typically 3-5 children do.

Roles of Family Members

Parents will typically work the family trade, and either gender may be the family-head, although males are preferred. Children generally follow the family trade, although a second or third born is often given a chance to take up a different calling. Families will try to marry off their eligible daughters to make social connections amongst the community and also to reduce the draw on family resources.

Importance

Family is considered very important to Kythans. One is expected to respect their parents, and follow their guidance at least until one is an adult, and often for longer. Relatives may rely on the extended clan for support when they fall on hard times, and children may be fostered with childless relatives to ease the load of childrearing in large families.

Influence

Family connections are critical to one's social status in the larger community. The success of family members is expected to be shared, and individuals can turn to family for support when in need.

Orphans

In nations where the Church of Ryla is present, orphanages are sometimes founded; providing food and shelter to lost children, a dumping ground for unwanted/politically embarrassing babies, etc. These orphans rarely find adoptive parents, but can be fostered with guild members as apprentices. An orphans lot is miserable, but beats scrounging for survival on the streets.

Religion

The majority of Kythans worship the Twinned Goddess.

Primary Beliefs

Kythan's view of morality and rightful living is influenced by their choice of faith. Prior to the Twinned Goddess' rise in popularity, they had practiced a combination of ancestor worship, and animism. Many superstitions or localized beliefs are hold-overs from these earlier times.
  • Belief that departed loved ones can act as intermediaries between them and the Goddess and carry specific prayers to her ears.
  • Belief in various spirits of the land which can influence the lives of everyday Kythans.
  • The power of oaths to hold people to moral behaviour.

Religious Figures

Village Saints
Most Kythan settlements will have a patron hero or saint whom is considered a protector of the inhabitants. These were originally ancestral heroes of the local clan whom transformed over time into saints as the Twinned Goddess faith spread throughout the region.

List of Religious Observances

Structure

Ceremonial

Birth

Kythans celebrate new children as personal family centered affairs. Once the child is born, and any attendant midwife departs, the immediate family gathers to meet the child, and congratulate the parents. Extended family may bring small gifts when they first meet the child during visits over the coming months.

Naming

Kythan children are usually named during a ceremonial baptism at the next church service the family can attend. For families that do not follow the Twinned Goddess, this naming is usually a personal matter and done on the 5th morning after the child is born, which allows time for the parents to decide on an appropriate name. Most Kythan's keep their given name, but some choose to adopt a new name later in life.

Age

Kythans will celebrate the anniversary of one's name day with small gifts, and get togethers attended by close friends and families. Important persons may have more public and lavish celebrations on their name days.

Apprenticeship

When a young person begins an apprenticeship, their parents may gift them with a new outfit of clothing. Upon completion of an apprenticeship a gift of some tools of their trade is sometimes given.

Adulthood

Kythans do not have a specific ritual or celebration around adulthood. The exact age one is considered an adult varies with social class. Typically anywhere between 16 and 20 years of age.

Marriage

Kythan marriage ceremonies are usually a matter of religion, although a civil aspect joins the couple financially and legally in the eyes of the community. Traditionally, a braided leather band is worn on both the husband's and wife's left wrist to indicate their status. Such ornamentation may be replaced by a stylized silver, gold, or other material.

Divorce

Divorce in Kythus is usually a personal matter, which can be a simple civil public declaration, or a sombre religious ceremony decreeing the change in status. Children will still belong to both parent's until they come of age, but shared property is split between former spouses in a manner such that neither will be destitute, if possible. The complexities of such events are a matter of social status, family, and financial factors.

Death

Kythan funerals are usually performed by the appropriate clergy according to the faith of the departed. Kythans bury their dead in consecrated ground when possible.

Inheritance

Inheritance of lands and title by the first born son is the norm, although some women can inherit before a younger brother, especially when the will of the deceased isn't specific about the heir's identity. Bastard children are only considered for inheritance if there are no marriage-born children or spouse.

Oathswearing

In Kythus the practice of swearing oaths of loyalty involves drinking pure water from a copper oathcup provided by the recipient of such an oath.

Diet

Kythans rely on locally sourced foodstuff for the majority of their diet.

Food

Primary meats are fish, fowl, Tëka, and Rabbuck. Several varieties of small game may be hunted or trapped from the forests of Kythus, and along the coast a greater variety of shellfish, crabs and other seafood will be eaten.

Cultural Dishes

Most Kythan food in general takes the form of hearty stews with or without meat, served with a heavy bread, roasted meats, smoked fish or meats, firm cheese, and local fruits like apples, cherries or plums. Root vegetables, legumes, and moisture tolerant grains such as pot-grain or mudgrain.
Flyx
In settlements on the Celvan River, Flyx are considered a delicacy beyond compare to other shell-fish..

Spice / Flavours

Kythans use a wide variety of herbs in their cooking, and for those who can afford them more exotic spices imported from Corinthea or further away. In general Kythan food is savoury or sweet, without much hot flavours.

Drink

Non-Alcoholic

Kythans drink water, fruit juices and nectars, and milk.

Alcohol

A variety of ales, beers, wines, ciders, mead, and brandies are popular in Kythus, all made from locally sourced ingredients. Foreign wines and spirits may imported, and are considerably more expensive, catering to the wealthier class.
Rëhydhü
A weak brew of fermented potgrain flavoured with wild bitters, and jelly mushrooms. It has a low alcohol content, a reddish amber colour, smells faintly of honey, and has a hint of citrus flavour. This regional variant on a basic beer is not popular outside of Kythus.

Fashion

Textiles

The most common cloth in Kythus is wool made from Tëka fleece. Second to that is rough linen primarily in the southern province. A variety of furs and leather may be used for warmth in winter and weather proof outer garments may be fortified with waxes or oils.

Dyes

A wide variety of colourful plant-sourced dyes are available and used in Kythus.

Embellishments

Beadwork, embroidery, or elaborated weaves are often used to provide a textural and decorative element to clothing.

Outfits

Most Kythans have but a few sets of clothes, mostly utilitarian in function and form. Cloaks with full hoods are a regular accessory for inclement weather, and a fancier tunic may be worn for special occasions. Footwear is primarily leather shoes or boots. Wooden field sandals may be worn by farmers for traction and protection.

Daily by Class

Ceremonial

Costumes

Jewellery

A wide range of chains, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings made from precious metals, ivory or even wood will be worn in Kythus, by men and women alike.

Makeup

Wealthy women in Kythus may employ a variety of blushes and creams to appear more youthful, but otheriwse make-up is not common amongst the ordinary folk.

Leisure Activities

Sports

Games

Gambling

Social Gatherings

Keg Dancing
A pastime in Kythus requiring first that the participants obtain an empty keg, which generally necessitates drinking the contents. Participants dance on top of the empty barrel, challenging each other with complex moves, or simply trying to remain atop the container for a longer duration.

Arts

Storytelling

Writing

Poetry

Fiction

Theatre

Acting

Plays

Dance

Gymnastics

Music

Singing

Percussion

Strings

Wind

Painting

Sculpture

Time

Timekeeping

Kythans use the Saynoh calendar for their annual timekeeping. The të - year is divided into twelve öprymü - months of thirty evmü - days in length, which are subdivided into göcev - five-day or otokev - ten-day spans. Days are subdivided into twenty-four uhomü - hours, gathered into six ozölmü - watches of four uhomü each.
As reliable mechanical clocks are rare, the regular passage of time is measured using sand or water glasses, candles, and the position of the sun in the sky when necessary.

Daily Routine

The typical daily routine of Kythans involves waking with or shortly after dawn, having a small breakfast then proceeding to work according to their profession. They take a midday break with a heartier meal, and return to work through the afternoon. A light supper is eaten and social non-work related activities begin in the final few hours before, and can last a few hours past sundown.

Timeline

Persons

List of Kythan Persons

Stories

See Also