Gaanar Ethnicity in Ivendarea | World Anvil
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Stronger Together, Against All Others

Considered outcasts and refugees in their own country, branded as rebellious subversives, and isolated from the Ivendarean Mainland, the Nyr of Maan Garth are looked down upon by many Ivendareans.   The Gaanar though see themselves as the last bastion that would need to fall to entirely lose their country to the Assadin invaders. They are the last keepers of their culture, resilient, determined, and willing to give everything to hold on to their homeland.


Major language groups and dialects

While most people on Maan Garth speak several languages, the traditional Nyrval is spoken almost exclusively in everyday life. This leads often to a Gaanar immediately giving their place of origin away when they leave Maan Garth, as most speak other languages with a clearly noticeable accent.   The typical dialect of Maan Garth as such also has a harsher pronunciation, relatively fast way of speaking, and a great range of modulation of the voice compared to most mainland dialects and "pure" Nyrval. Some describe the sound of Maan Garth's flavour of the language as passionate to angry sounding, which is more than fitting for the rough islanders.

Culture and cultural heritage

The Nyr of Maan Garth call themselves "Gaanar", which was the name of the tribe that used to roam the island before Iovana Neron united the nation.   Until the spread of Aman's Teachings and their rise to godhood, the Gaanar were predominantly fishermen and hunters, as the rocky island with dense jungles and active volcanoes is not very suitable for farming. That being said, on the formerly green slopes around Panthil and along the southern coastline of the island, farming and animal herding was more commonly practised. Aman teaches though that the consumption of animal flesh is morally questionable, particularly when the creature is slain for this particular purpose and did not die of other causes naturally. It is very likely that Nyr are reborn as animals from time to time, and being hunted as prey by one's peers is as traumatizing as the death penalty to the soul. The death penalty was abolished with the introduction of Aman's teachings as the nations main religion, and eating meats and fish became a big taboo.   The Gaanar had trouble adapting to this new way of life, but wanting to honor their heritage - Aman being of their people originally - they found different ways to survive. The Giant Goats so commonly seen on Maan Garth are no longer slaughtered for their meat, instead dozens of variations of dairy products are made from their milk. Every possible inch of farmland is used to grow grains, rice, fruits, and vegetables, and scientists put years of effort into creating more farmland out of the seemingly most inhabitable spaces, including the tips of the sharp rocks protruding from deep within the islands surface. Volcanic ash is used as fertilizer, and whatever can't be grown on the island is imported from the mainland to sustain the growing population.   Still though, particularly the poor and those living in secluded villages resent the state religion's restriction and continue fishing or hunting or slaughtering their animals in times of dire need. Even in Panthil itself there are establishments where fish and meat are served, simply because it is as much the island's heritage as Aman's Teachings are.

Shared customary codes and values

The greater good of the community is always to be regarded as one of the highest virtues one could strive for. Independence and freedom are valued just as much as honoring history and one's ancestors, as well as learning from one's own past lives. It is true that a lot of the Gaanar seem to have a rebellious streak, which is something the prophet Aman could already say of themself. "Take nothing as granted" and "question what you're told by your superiors and outsiders" would be mottos many Gaanar agree to.   Yet, rebelliousness doesn't necessarily equal violence. Peaceful resistance - and sometimes a certain sass and disrespect for authority figures that don't prove themselves worthy in their eyes - are just as effective.   Definitely the most isolated group of Nyr since the beginning of time, the Gaanar have always felt a little as outsiders longing to be part of the community on the Ivendarean Mainland. Torn between keeping their independence and unique way of life and being a part of something bigger, they are a people of contradictions. Often appearing harsh or cold to outsiders, they are one of the most passionate peoples of Ivendarea in love, life, and conflict. To truly move forward you have to go all-in, and indecisiveness is generally disliked.

Common Etiquette rules

Being direct and open with one another is usually valued more than false politeness. If someone makes a mistake it is talked about very directly and immediately, but still in such a constructive manner, that the one accused can learn from the situation for the future. If someone dislikes someone, it is told to the face of the other person, not behind their back - gossip is not well-liked or accepted.   In a city as crowded as Panthil, unwanted body contact is as much a part of the daily routine as getting dressed in the morning. Therefore, as soon as there is enough space available to put a comfortable distance between each other, bystanders can witness groups dispensing quickly to give each other room to breathe. At least an arm's length of distance is very appreciated whenever it is logistically possible, particularly with strangers and in business- or educational settings.   Generally though most of the Gaanar aren't afraid of body contact, and especially in relaxed situations with friends and family they will most likely sit close by each other.   The elders of the community are treated with great respect - some of them still alive were born in a time before the Assadin invaded and still remember how life used to be, have travelled to places long lost, and have spoken to individuals Nyr children nowadays only know as historical figures from books and stories. The elder's knowledge and wisdom are invaluable - on the downside they tend to look down a bit on the exceptionally brash and overly ambitious youth.

Common Dress code

The clothes of Maan Garth are colourful and light, particularly in the warmer months, but everyone has at least one garment made from the wool of the Giant Goats native to the island. The wool is the perfect protective layer against rain, which can occur suddenly at any time and get very intense.   Most of the inhabitants of Maan Garth consider themselves devout followers of Aman, and therefore they don't wear a lot of clothing made out of animal leather. Most clothes are made from natural fibres such as linen, but silk is just as popular. Shoes are made from anything ranging from driftwood over straw to wool. Common motives in clothing are dragon scales, water, and the ocean.   Most Gaanar wear their hair long, open, or in braids, although with younger generations more daring hairstyles are becoming popular. Due to the often heavy winds, rain, and stormy weather, headscarves and hoods are a common sight, worn to protect the hair and preventing it from slapping into other people's faces.

Art & Architecture

Maan Garth's art is inspired and strongly influence by religion, common themes as well are magic, the change of the seasons, and the local flora and fauna. Flowing lines symbolizing water, circles showcasing the cycle of rebirth, and mosaics consisting of thousands of intricate glass pieces demonstrate how every little member of a community contributes to a bigger picture.   The architecture of settlements like Panthil reflects Maan Garth's wild but harsh beauty, with most buildings being made from the common dark-grey stone, overgrown with moss and ivy, as well as details made from obsidian and driftwood. Nautical motives are common, such as one of the highest districts of Panthil being called the "Crow's Nest", and handmade, braided ropes serve not only functional but also decorative purposes throughout the city.

Common Myths and Legends

Aman and the Sacrifice - The origin story of Aman and their reasons for going on their famous pilgrimage.

Historical figures

Aman - Scholar, Prophet and now one of the eleven gods, born and raised in Panthil   Iovana Brestine - Sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Peace", who set up a peace treaty with king Zerenda to end the conflicts following the Invasion War. Technically she wasn't born on Maan Garth, therefore is not truly of Gaanar origin, yet she spent more than half of her life on the island and her revolutionary deeds carried out out of a passion for the future of her people and nation alone render her worthy of calling herself "Gaanar". She still resides in Panthil and is an active part of Iovana Panmorn's council, despite her high age   Iovana Rava - Sometimes called the "Rebel Queen", the first and so far only Ivendarean Iovana to be born on Maan Garth, and one with one of the most tragic fates(see also: The Revolution War)


Beauty Ideals

Individuality, originality, and tradition are celebrated among the Gaanar. They preferrably grow their hair long, wearing it in intricate braids that demonstrate skill, patience, and craftsmanship. Clothing can sometimes be quite revealing, and is often very fitted to the form of the wearer. Showing off one's skin and body proudly is met with respect, symbolizing being true to oneself, accepting of oneself, and proud of one's identity as Nyr. Piercings, body jewelry, make-up, and tattoos are also relatively commonly seen and considered as enhancements of natural beauty, accentuating one's features.

Courtship Ideals

Long phases of courtship aren't popular on Maan Garth. Life is harsh and can end quickly, just one wrong step too close to a cliff or too deep into the jungle and it‘s over. Most individuals prefer directness, stating one's wishes from the start, and not wasting time or disappointing the other party by hiding what one truly wants from a potential relationship.   Flirting and courtship are open and direct, can appear almost blunt to outsiders, but the communities of Maan Garth are tightly-knit and most individuals already know each other in one way or another anyway. Being turned down is never taken as an offense, and if a romantic relationship isn't desirable, friendship is always offered as an option instead.

Relationship Ideals

Many relationships, especially among younger demographic groups, are usually very casual, open, or of a short duration when new adventures await elsewhere. Casual flings with friends or even strangers are commonplace, which led to the stereotype of the Gaanar being detached from their feelings or peers, irresponsible, or even disloyal.   With most stereotypes, there is a true core even to the worst of them. The Gaanar are indeed relatively solitary and distanced from the Nyr on the mainland, but in regards to interpersonal relationships this is of course not true. Long-lasting relationships are just as common on Maan Garth as elsewhere, but especially in their adolescence, sometimes even until way later, romantic partnerships, friendships, and sexual relationships have not as clearly defined borders as almost everywhere else.   Due to recent events young couples on Maan Garth are currently also encouraged to not have more than two children. Panthil in particular is facing a serious problem of overpopulation, with water and food resources as well as health care and education not being able to keep up with the influx of refugees. So in return this policy of fewer children has lead to a significant surge in polyamorous relationships, where two or three children are brought up in families of three or more romantic partners, which is in line with the laws and allows raising an individual more children than what would be possible in a non-polyamorous relationship.

Major organizations

Aman'a Valeethi - The Nyr's main religion is very dominant on the island   Avon Julanor - The Iovana's "secret service" has its headquarters in Panthil ever since Saratheas was taken over and turned into the new capital.
Encompassed species
Related Locations
Two young adult Gaanar in garments made from traditional wool, silk, and linen. The clothing features both traditional pieces, such as the shoes, jewelry, and accessories, as well as individualistic elements like the handpainted symbols on the woven jacket or the colourful piece of dragonscale armour turned into an item suitable for casual wear.

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