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Revision as of 09:23, 2 August 2021 by Tom
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Unity is a central element of Elladan traditions and values, and many of them have a theme such as "the village, united" at their core, so local customs often contain ring-dances with hand-holding or gatherings. As a sidenote, this valuation of unity is also at the core of the idea of the empire. It also makes Elladan a good culture for adventurer parties, and those hailing from Elladan regions tend to stick together from the beginning, while many other cultures require those molding experiences to form.
One typical sign of Elladan culture not found anywhere else in the world is the unified guild house. While other cultures know guilds and guild houses, they seperate them, while Elladan cities very often have one large guild house that is home to all the guilds, each one having a room or a wing, depending on how big and wealthy the guild is.
A second important element of Elladan culture that pervades many traditions is the concept of balance. To a Elladan, this is not a trivial concept. For example, in the Faith of Nesra, which evolved in Elladan, the gods are equally male and female - and thus balanced. But there are more evil than good gods - and yet the world is in balance because the good gods are united while the evil ones are divided, balancing their superior numbers.
In architecture and art the love for balance is found in strong symmetries especially in official buildings and symbols.
Another common element are the village or town festivals that Elladan people practice extensively.
The first major festival is Spring Break, celebrated when the first flowers break through the ground and commonly seen as a festival for the young people. Many a marriage arrangement are made following Spring Break. Dancing, singing and various games such as stealing girls from the nearby village and trading them back for ale are typical parts of the festivities.
The second large festival is Harvest End, celebrated when the last or at least the main harvest has been brought in late in autumn. This is seen as more of a festivity for adults and commonly consists of a day-long feast.
Most Elladan garments are light and colourful, though materials depend mostly on the climate and season. Especially near the southern coast, where the plants of the jungle provide all kinds of colours for dyeing, bright reds, blues and greens are everywhere and having not at least three colours on your clothes is rare, except for high officials who stand out in their one-colour official clothes. They are, in fact, often called by those colours in colloquial conversation. For example, where priests wear green, terms such as "a green" or "the greens" are understood to refer to priests.
At the south coast and during summer in most coastal areas, short trousers are common for both men and women, as are short-sleeved shirts, often open in the front, held together by clasps or colourful strings so that a hand-width line of skin is visible. In the forest, mountains and especially in the jungle, long sleeves are more common.
Unlike more northern cultures, hats and other coverings for the hat are uncommon in Elladan culture and are usually associated with a function, such as the metal helmet for protection. In fashion, covering the head is almost unheard of.
Art & Music
String instruments are popular in Elladan culture and most music is written for guitars, violin and bass or the Aluvara, a stringed drum that can be played similar to a zither but can also be struck and vibrate with multi-tonal resonances. Formal music is mostly orchestra, while folk music is commonly played by a small band of 2-4 players. Wind instruments are known but rarely used outside the military where the command trumpet is quite common. They are considered vulgar, especially in formal music, and when a new version of a popular opera piece oncorporated a three-note part for a shawm, it was a court scandal that propelled its composer to fame, and years of poverty as his patron had him thrown on the dungheap with all his belongings.
Songs are also popular among Elladan people, both rowdy and refined, depending on the singers and the audience. All songs are set to music and if there is nothing else, Elledans will beat the table or cling their glasses or anything to make some sound. To them it is a very strange and unusual foreign habit to sing without music.
In painting and sculpture, art is naturalistic and well developed. Proportions and perspective are maintained in Elladan art and many artists are excellent in making realistic images. Colors are bright, but not unnaturally so, and portraits are used extensively by anyone who can afford them. Especially noble houses typically have a large gallery of all their ancestors and current members.
Sports of all kinds are quite popular throughout Elladan lands. This includes competition such as jumping or running, but also various team sports, which vary greatly from place to place.
The most popular sport, and one that is largely stable in how it is played throughout the lands, is called "glove-ball" or sometimes "pig-ball". It is played with two teams of 9 players each, and the goal is to put the ball into a large basket at the opposing team's end of the playing area. The ball may be kicked or thrown, but may not be carried - i.e. if you pick up the ball with your hands, you have to stand in place until you have kicked or thrown it. The fun part of the game, especially for onlookers, is that the ball may not be handled with bare feet or hands, but each team may only bring four pairs of shoes and four pairs of gloves. This leads to many different strategies and hilarious moments as players exchange gloves or shoes during the game - which is allowed. The game is comparatively non-violent as it is not allowed to directly attack opposing players. A certain amount of shuffling and pushing is common, especially in village games without a referee, but most of the time nobody gets hurt. Local variations of the game include the size of the baskets, which is always fairly large, but especially in the south often quite oversized - two metres diameter are fairly common - which makes it easier to throw the ball into it from a distance. Another variation is whether the pairs of gloves and shoes must be worn together or can be seperated. Where allowed, teams can often be seen with players wearing only one shoe (enough for kicking) and struggling to find players who can kick well with their left foot. A third common variation draws a circle around the basket, typically 1-2 m away from it, and no defending players are allowed inside the circle. This, again, makes it easier to throw the ball into the basket from a distance, a move that a defending player near the basket can otherwise easily prevent.
By Elladan tradition, marriages are arranged between the parents without much consultation of the children involved. However, if the couple is still without child and none on the way, both the husband and the wife can withdraw from the marriage without shame to either party. It is considered especially bad manners to gossip about which party was responsible for this failure, but in most cases no ill will follows either of them. While these divorces do happen, they are not common and number only a few in a hundred marriages.
A common marriage age is around 14, give or take a year or two.
Before marriage, both boys and girls live with their parents and support their trade. A boy will apprentice in whatever his father's trade is, and only after he married will he pursue another trade if he so desires. This is mostly the case for younger sons of craftsmen in villages where the older brother becomes the new miller and the village does not need nor can afford to build a second mill. Anyways the younger son(s) will learn the craft until they marry. This tradition has saved many a village when disaster, famine or disease took the miller away and a younger brother could step in as he had learnt at least the basics of the craft as well.
Open architecture is a feature of Elladan culture, though it is only used extensively in the warm south. Roofs are a must there, due to the regular rainfalls at and near the coast, but most buildings have at most three walls or large openings where further north there would be smaller doors. Most Elladan homes, shops and public buildings have an open or semi-open entrance hall that is a kind of inbetween - half inside of the house and half houtside in the public. In the warmer areas, that open area is often roofed but open to three sides.
Further north and in higher altitudes, where temperatures can be less comfortable, much of the open architecture of the Elladan culture is retained only symbolically, with columns and wide archways much like the Greek or Roman architecture of the real world.
As a culture focussed on unity and group identity, isolated farmsteads are relatively rare within Elladan areas. Most people prefer to join at least a hamlet over settling by themselves. Every rule has exceptions, of course, they are just more rare than in other cultures.