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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 25 May 2020, 21:35.

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This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.
Menu 1. Introduction 2. Kinship Groups 3. Environment & Shelter 4. Food 5. General Appearance 6. Hair 7. Clothing

If, despite my temporary title/summary, you've decided to check out this article anyway, please keep in mind that it is unfinished. Most of what is already here is good enough to read, but is missing accompanying images etc that may provide additional context... and obviously most sections are still not finished being written. I will post in the Girekian language thread, and of course will give this article a real title and summary, when it's finished.

[edit] [top]Introduction

The intention of this article is to give some background on the native speakers of  Girekian. I'll mainly be going into basic details for now; I'll get deeper into societal roles, sex and gender, religion, family structures, naming conventions, etc later.

I'll be introducing a lot of Qiræk words in this article (these will be in bold), and many will have direct (or close enough) English translations (these will be in italics). However, since the Qiræk live on a planet that is not Earth, some words will not have a direct translation, or would benefit from more context than a translation alone (these will be bold as well as underlined, and marked with a superscript like this1). At the end of each section, I'll include an explanation of these words tucked away in a <hide> toggle so as to keep the main article as neat and uncluttered as possible. (I'll be putting bulky things like maps and pictures in <hide> toggles as well.)

This article is deliberately highly detailed because not only is the  Girekian language built around the culture, but also a lot of the things mentioned in this article play a part in the development of the descendant cultures and languages, so they will come back into play later.

[edit] [top]Kinship Groups

There are four distinct settlements of Qiræk: qiloze cave clan; qilokaro river clan; qilocoro mountain clan; qilozænocam forest clan. While each clan tends to remain fairly isolated from the others, they are rarely in conflict and will meet up for larger celebrations. It is not unheard of for people to have friends or romantic partners in other clans, and occasionally people will switch clans to be with their partner(s) or child(ren). People will also switch clans to fill a role that is needed in another clan. (Switching has to be discussed with both clans as a whole, and approved by the wi clan matriarch and bumili healer of each clan.)

Each qil family is tight-knit and works as a unit. In general, each qil has its own purpose, duty, or specialization within the qilijo clan, although most individuals have at least the basic understanding of most jobs. A qil may consist of anywhere from three to 20+ people, with an average around seven or eight. Who is related to whom, the role of each family and person within the family, and ties to families in other clans, is all carefully documented by the wi. (More on this topic in the next culture article, when I go into family structure and clan roles.)

[edit] [top]Environment & Shelter

The Qiræk live along the northern and northwestern coast of the continent known as 'äjæn1. The climate is subtropical, warm most of the year with a hot summer and a mild winter. There is a short rainy season after summer, and a general wet season (natively referred to as wötyf mud season) after winter characterized by rain and regular flooding. There is almost never snow in the Qiræk native territory, but snow does cap the mountains during winter. Around midsummer, rivers wane and deciduous trees shed their leaves due to minor drought.

▼ Map of ancient 'äjæn:

The northern coastline features a large gulf called la xumehen2 and is mostly cliffs with rocky beaches. The qiloze spends significant time on the beaches and in the caves, as well as in the grassland and along the river above the cliffs. The qilokaro also lives in the north, but lives along the northern river and does not spend much time on the beaches most of the year.

▼ Map of northern clan territories:

The northwestern coastline features a bay called halen mouth [shaped] land with sandy beaches. The qilozænocam lives on the edges of the forests bordering these beaches. Northwest of the mountains, where one river forks into two (one of the forks emptying into the gulf and the other into the bay), is the territory of the qilocoro. The qilocoro is the smallest, but is also believed to be the oldest clan, with the earliest evidence of civilization being in the nearby mountain range.

▼ Map of northwestern clan territories:

Both the northern and the northwestern Qiræk prefer sleeping out in the open, only seeking shelter when it is especially windy or rainy. The qilokaro, qilozænocam, and qilocoro build shelters called hofynilo (from the phrase for tied together) out of branches lashed together into a conical structure and covered with leaves and mud. The qilocoro also migrates to the mountains during winter. The qiloze and qilocoro are known to build kætæcænic3 in front of the mouths of their caves.

▼ Appendix:

The Qiræk are pescetarian, and as with everything else in their language and culture their diet revolves around fish. Seafood serves as the centerpiece of the diet, with seasonal vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and herbs adding nutritional and flavor variety.

Food Preparation
The Qiræk employ a variety of preparation methods designed not only to efficiently prepare their food but also to serve other purposes, including collecting oil or water, making food easier to save for later, and even pleasing the gods.

Food is never allowed direct contact with open flame due to religious beliefs about the elements and how intelligent life is meant to interact with them. (I'll explain this more in a religion article.)

One food preparation method used by the qiloze and qilozænocam is preservation by salt drying. Finfish are filleted and brined in seawater that has had additional sea salt added. After brining, the filets are rinsed in fresh water and set on a nijomukun je na (literally mat for food) with sprigs of rozululækuna lavender laid atop the fish to repel insects (and as an offering to the gods). The fish is left to dehydrate in the sun for a hucæm week. This process is called wäron4 and sometimes the only fish available during the winter is that which is preserved during summer, as otherwise stockpiles of legumes and grains would be the only source of nutrition.

Heated stones are the primary cooking implement for all clans throughout the year. Fillets of 'ikûqi finfish, as well as tiqi cephalopod and zeqi mollusk meat are cooked on a rozoja, a large flat stone heated in the fire. A sort of oven is created by filling a shallow pit with hot stones, putting rönö5 in, and covering the pit with another hot stone. Various vegetables are also often cooked in a pit filled with hot stones, with or without a cover. A bowl shaped stone called a woroz may be used to toast seeds, make sauces, or hold hot liquids.

Clay pottery is also used. Crustaceans are cooked in a specialized pot called a rohænikol (literally salt maker) which is designed to boil sea water in the bottom, steam food in the top, and collect distilled water in the lid. The salt left over from this process is used as seasoning or for brining. Other clay pots may be made as needed for making stews and other boiled food, or for specialty dishes.

▼ Diagram of rohænikol:

Typical Cuisine
Qiræk nameni breakfast is most often qunymana (essentially amaranth porridge), often with various nuts and/or seeds mixed in. It is also customary for leftover rönö and fish from the night before to be eaten in the morning.

There is no set midday meal. The Qiræk are busy during the day and will generally just grab small handfuls of grasses and leaves, nuts, seeds, fruit, or fish to munch on while they work. Cæconutœc6 is a favorite, as it grows abundantly and is flavorful, filling, and easy to eat.

The most common nazacæ dinner is lakyzymqi fish wrap, strips of kunoc seaweed braided around filets of fish with nårifa dill or joqat clover, steamed and served with a dip made from cæconutœc, qutœ wild onions, and zikæmycæty vinegar. In cooler weather, tizuwæleka pinto beans are boiled, formed into seasoned patties, and fried in quci cæconutœc.

Celebratory Dishes
Throughout the year, various fruits are fermented into 'uwemycæty wine. The 'uwemycæty is drunk in celebration of all holidays as well as for personal achievements, important occasions (births, commitment ceremonies, the appointment of a clan member to an important position, etc).

Every hucæm the Qiræk have a meal called qamufytaq, a generic term meaning fish and rice, to acknowledge the hætene7. This would start with a boiled pot of fytaq rice. The catch of the day would be cut into portions and set to cook on the rozoja, then tossed into the fytaq and served as a communal meal. Depending on the season, vegetables including nany8 or xæmotikuwu8 may be roasted and eaten along with the qamufytaq. In winter, the hætene feast often features rönö eaten with a stew of cæconutœc, nany, and quki9.

A special cheese called kona made from quci fytaq rice milk is specifically made for the zuwen, the celebration of the autumnal equinox. The kona is meant to represent a perfect balance of all the elements, as well as the planet and the equinox. It includes sweet (light), spicy (fire), salty (water), creamy (darkness), bitter (earth), sour (magic), and savory (life) flavors, and is a texture considered between solid (land/day) and liquid (ocean/night). It is also a celebratory food made when a Qiræki has reached another milestone in his or her spiritual journey.

Folenö is a rice bread leavened with the byproducts of fermentation and sweetened with racycæti honey, intricately adorned with seeds. It is a common gift for newly partnered couples and new parents. The seeds are usually arranged into auspicious symbols meant to impart blessings upon the recipients.

A partnered Qiræki trying to conceive would make his or her partner a pot of snails fried in qicæti fish oil and served in 'æmycæti wuxö10. This dish, called cynku wejo (literally seductive snails), is believed to increase fertility. It is also purported to encourage an easy and painless delivery, so it is later fed to the expectant mother as she approaches her due date.

Another celebratory treat is made as a gift for a cœmtuwen birthday. A baked dessert called manotœmir, made from sweet spiced dough braided into intricate knots with seeds, nuts, and dried fruit woven in, is a symbol of health and longevity. It is linked to an ancient legend in which a time-eating elemental was convinced to grant immortality in exchange for one of the delicious sweet rolls.

The largest feast is for 'enä, the new year, which is celebrated on the vernal equinox. There are no specific meals designated for this holiday; the Qiræk celebrate 'enä by exchanging gifts which often include a variety of breads and savory pies, as well as sweet rolls and cakes. The entire clan celebrates together with multiple large communal meals throughout the day and night, and lots of 'uwemycæty!

Medicinal Foods
The Qiræk firmly believe that all ailments can be cured with some combination of nature and magic, and most of this comes down to the consumption of medicinal foods. Medicine is cultivated, produced, and prescribed by the clan’s bumili or one of her apprentices.

Sicknesses precipitated by weakened or sensitive immune systems, like allergies, colds, and infections are few and far between (mostly seasonal). Serious illnesses like cancer, cardiac disease, and pulmonary disease are all but unheard of. The most common complaints are headache, digestive upset, animal bites, insect bites/stings, and minor cuts and scrapes.

▼ Appendix:

[edit] [top]General Appearance

The Qiræk are brown-skinned, similar to what we see in the native populations of tropical and subtropical areas on Earth. They would seem a bit tall to humans, with an average adult female height around 177-180cm (5’10-5’11”) and an average adult male height around 193-196cm (6’3”-6’4”).

The typical face is round and square in proportion, with low cheekbones and a chin that is distinct but not prominent. The eyes are wide set and narrow with double eyelids, and range from hazel to very dark brown (black looking). The Qiræk also have relatively broad noses with round nostrils, full lips, and a lack of facial hair.

▼ Images of the Qiræk:

Jewelry & Body Art
Jewelry is very popular among both males and females (with no distinction of who can wear what), especially once they become romantically/sexually available. Earrings and necklaces made from cinico11 are very common. More extravagant types of jewelry, including arm, wrist, and ankle bangles, hair charms, kamarbands, and rings, are only worn during major celebrations and/or for special occasions.

Body art serves two purposes in Qiræk culture: identification and self-expression. Face painting has the primary goal of identification and is worn most days if not everyday. Most importantly, a mark on the forehead known as la hejo 'ano the third eye, signals a person’s availability. This is also the placement of rajer12.

Other face paint is worn any time a Qiræki is going to interact with people outside of his or her qil. Markings on the chin are unique to each qil and may be as simple as a letter or as detailed as a depiction of an animal. These markings and the concepts they represent are a secondary or tertiary form of identification, functioning as a surname (more on this when I cover naming convention). During large gatherings (celebrations, etc) or when traveling, markings under the eyes represent the qilijo.

▼ Examples of face painting styles:

Makeup to accentuate the eyes and lips is common, and like jewelry is used to attract others. Body paint may often be applied, especially to the arms and torso, as another form of self-expression. Dyes are made from a variety of leaves, skins, flowers, and oils of plants, mixed with a small amount of racymix beeswax.

Body Modification
Permanent body modification is only allowed after an individual reaches 'ohibo13. Ear piercings are common, as are tattoos on the arms and torso (permanent versions of body painting). It is customary, though not required, for partnered qilokaro men to pierce their nipples. The qilokaro and qilocoro are known for tattoos on the legs and feet as well. For the qilocoro tattoos are seen as a status symbol, and it is a point of pride to be covered from neck down. The qilocoro are sometimes referred to as kaka'i the tattooed by other qilijo.

▼ Appendix:

Qiræk hair is naturally black and curly. Both males and females grow their hair to an extraordinary length, as the length and health of one’s hair is seen as a sign of spiritual strength. Those with thinning or balding are considered spiritually damaged. It is common for elders to have hair longer than they are tall and most elders don’t begin to develop gray hair until close to the end of their lives, usually around 50-55 'äjet (the Earth equivalent would be approximately 80-90 years old). Youth are only allowed to begin growing their hair out after 'ohibo.

Hair Care
Having long, thick hair means maintenance is quite a task. Because of this, youth (who maintain short hair and often keep it unstyled or in simple styles) wash their hair every 'enin sidereal day or two, while adults tend to wash their hair only once every hucæm week. The Qiræk hair care routine is not only designed to keep the hair clean and healthy, but also to protect it from the harsh environment.

Hair is first rinsed thoroughly with fresh water to remove sand, silt, and salt, before being washed with quci fytaq. It is typically combed at this point, with the quci fytaq also acting as a conditioner/detangler. Then the hair is rinsed again with fresh water, rung to squeeze out as much of the water as possible, and braided into 1-3 large plaits (youth tend to leave their hair unstyled) to dry. The hair is allowed to air dry all day and overnight. Plaits are removed the next day and the hair is parted into small sections, combed, and braided into two-strand twists. A mixture of fresh water, racycæti, and qicæti is applied to the scalp and each section of hair as it is twisted. This mixture shields the hair from the potential damage that near-constant exposure to sun, sand, salty air and seawater could cause.

Hair Styles
The two-strand twists are arranged in various designs which typically incorporate three main elements: the hofi bun, the lakyzym braid, and the bal loop. Different kinds of designs symbolize different social statuses and roles in the clan. For example, the wi wears a zolo, a crest braid, along with three hofihe on either side of the head. Anyone who achieves enlightenment also symbolizes this with a zolo, but in the opposite direction from the nape to the forehead which then drapes over the face to protect the rajer. The enlightened may also choose to wear their hair partially or completely let down.

▼ Examples of Qiræk hair styles:

[edit] [top]Clothing

Everyday ruwa clothing includes a breechcloth for both men and women. The breechcloth is secured by a lakyz, a band made from braided sedge leaves, which is stepped into and rolled up onto the hips. Each breechcloth features a front pocket, which has stones sewn into the seam to ensure the pocket does not float up and dump its contents when the wearer is in the water. Women also wear a chest wrap, which is essentially a long scarf that rests on the back of the neck, crosses in the front to secure the breasts, and ties in the back near the waist. Typically, the Qiræk prefer to be barefoot.

Specialty Clothing

▼ Examples of Qiræk clothing:
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