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Kiswaili

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Kiswaili is both a culture and a religion, dominant in Njombia and Hanzatia as well as northern Palan.

This page is about the culture. For the religion, see Kiswaili Faith

Tribes and Clans

The dominant feature of Kiswaili is its tribal or clan nature. In Njombia it is mostly tribes, except for the south where, like in Hanzatia and Palan, the clan structure dominates.

The tribe or clan affiliation is so central to personal identity that names within Kiswaili begin with the tribe or clan name, followed by the personal name, followed by either the father's (for sons) or the mother's (for daughters) name to indicate position within the tribe or clan. For example, the full name of current King Garako is Mouma Garako, son of Sarolan, showing his affiliation to the Mouma tribe. In fact, the king is the only official who drops his tribe name upon ascension to the throne as he is considered to be "of all tribes". Lesser officials retain their full names, so the principal of the Nanalanda Territory is still named Principal Njagwe Sajala in offical documents, dropping only his father's name. At the Chief level, even the father's name is retained.

Tribal culture dominates Kiswaili daily life to the point that while in general Kiswaili are friendly to outsiders, the simple fact that foreign visitors are without a local tribe affiliation makes all aspects of life much more difficult for them. Social life as well as business is conducted first among tribe members and only afterwards with outsiders. This is not a law anywhere within Kiswaili areas, just a custom - there may be several markets in a large city, all of which are open to everyone, but they will tend to be tribe-segregated simply by both merchants and customers preferring the market dominated by their tribe.


Traditions

Most Kiswaili are friendly and talkative people, open to outsiders to some degree. An "outsider" to the Kiswaili is anyone not of the same tribe. It makes little difference if he is from two cities over or the other side of the continent.

Name Day

Kiswaili children are not named at birth, but rather on their first birthday, more or less. It is the nameday that is celebrated, not the birthday, and so the one-year is an approximation not an exact rule. Most importantly, the personal name is never given during illness or other periods in which the child isn't well, as tradition has it that a child should be named on a good day and that an ill or weak condition during the naming ceremony would carry over into the entire life. In fact, there is a phrase that Kiswaili people use to speak about sickly people: "He was named on a bad day."


Long Hair

It is common for both men and women to grow their hair long, except for soldiers and others going to war. For the tribe chiefs and nowadays kings and other lords, this has transformed into a tradition of growing your hair long during peacetime and cutting it short in wartime. Some rulers have sent their cut-off hair to the enemy as a declaration of war. Especially long hair on a ruler means this person has managed to keep the peace for many years, and is generally viewed as a sign of strength and competence.

Shaving the hair off completely is a common punishment for prisoners of war.



This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.


Death Rites

The Kiswaili bury their dead in cemeteries, where typically a family shares either a grave (for the poor) or a patch with several graves or even an entire section with a row or circle of graves. There is a phrase among the Kiwsaili - "buried alone" - which is an expression of the most utter and desperate loneliness, so lonely that you are not even buried with your family. Often used to express sorrow for those who travelled the world and never returned.

Death rites include the remains of the deceased being kept in a temple for three days. The rich will embalm their dead and display them openly while the poor will roll them in fabric soaked in oil to prevent rotting. It is strictly forbidden by custom to cry or wail in the presence of the deceased as nobody wishes to move on into the afterlife accompanied by the suffering of their relatives and friends. Once the body is in the ground, a three day period of mourning follows during which work usually rests or is reduced to the minimum.

An important part of the death rites in Kiswaili is to move on. Widows or widowers are expected to marry again within a year.


Clothes

As the Kiswaili culture spans all climate zones, there is no uniform clothing style. What is the same across all Kiswaili is that pastel and earthen colours are most prominent and bright colours very rare. The most popular colours for official and special occasions are white and black, often in intricate combinations.

Ornaments in general are popular among those who can afford them. They are done in either contrast or identical colour and typically show patterns, waves and curving lines.


This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.


Art & Music

This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.


Architecture

This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.


Religion

The Kiswaili religion and the Kiswaili Faith are strongly connected and you rarely see one without the other, except in the south (in and around Pallan), where the Faith of Ikoyo has replaced the Kiswaili faith.


Extent

Kiswaili is the dominant culture in an area of half a million square kilometres and is home to about 6.3 million people.

It reaches from the furthest south all along the western coast of Auseka towards the far north, and covers all climate zones and biomes except for the highest mountains.