Zeribian ritual purity and purification Tradition / Ritual in Salan | World Anvil
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Zeribian ritual purity and purification

Ritual purity law is a social code binding all ethnic Zeribians. Acting according to the law is a requirement for being part of the Zeribian society. Ritual purity is an important part of a Zeribians life and religion . In the heart of the law is the consept of pure and tainted things and people, that must not mix. The Zeribians' daily social life is filled with rituals and celebrations, most of which require a level of ritual purity, which has to be maintained continuously.   The purity law is enforced by the Censors.

In addition to the purity law, there is also the secular-ish Zeribian law code. However, breaking the purity law is sometimes a crime also in the secular sence, and can lead to a punishment.  

Practical implications and taboos

The level of purity needed in life depends on the person's social class and job. The lower classes are not expected to perform the most sacred rituals, so they can go by being unclean. On the other hand, upper class people cant work in many professions, such as slaughterer, which would make them unclean. In practise upper class people treat lower class people as if they were unclean, even if they actually aren't. Foreigners (non-Zeribian) are also usually expected to be unclean.
  These are the rules of how ritually clean and unclean people and objects can interact. Ritual impurity can spread into clean people and objects in close contact. On the other hand, ritual cleaniness can sometimes spread to unclean things, but there is some debate on how this works exactly.


-Touching: Pure people usually avoid touching unclean people. This includes things like hugging, kissing and shaking hands. Zeribians usually greet each other by bowing, and touching is only common between close friends.
-Sitting on the same rug: clean people become unclean if they sit on the same rug* with someone unclean. This can also be interpreted to mean spending time in very close contact in general. Ritually clean or upper class people don't sit on the same rugs or furniture, or very close to lower class people or foreigners. (*Zeribians don't usually use chairs, but sit on rugs on the floor.)
-Sexual relations: Lower class must purify before having sex with upper class. The upper class must purify afterwards. If proper purification is not practised, both will become and tainted, and must perform special purification.
-Sharing items: sharing some items like tableware can spread impurity. Unclean people should also not touch personal items belonging to pure people, such as clothes with the exeption of outer layers of clothing and shoes, that are considered unclean.

-Purposefully tainting a ritual object or a pure person, by for example lying about your purity status, can be a crime.

Unclean people should not pass things over a pure person, and unclean objects should not be passed over them either. Unclean people should not step over ritual objects. This is often also interpreted to mean, that unclean people should not live in a house above clean people. (This is especially a problem in Faren cities, where the low and middle class usually live in apartment buildings, where the best appartments are on the street level. Many Zeribians would be unwilling to live in, or even visit such houses. This is a continuing source of conflict with the Farens.)

-Food restrictions: It's very common for a Zeribian to follow a food restriction. The restrictions can be permanent, or required by a period of fasting. The most common restriction is not drinking alcohol outside religious ceremonies. It has even been made law in some Zeribian states. It is also common to have restriction conserning the eating and handling of red meat, because it's believed to contain spirits that can be harmful. Additional restrictions are often required by their personal patron deities, possibly as a result of a Promise. These can sometimes be pretty eccentric, such as not eating rice cakes on odd weeks.  

Purification rituals

Purification by washing
Washing in a pure water such as river, spring or sea
Purification by pilgrimage
Purification by offering
Purifying by making an offering, which is usually a sacrifice of foodstuff or animal. Note that offering cannot be done while tainted, other purification measures must be taken first
Purification by fire
-Many ritual objects are purified in fire.
-Meat in ritual sacrifice must be purified by fire before being touched by ritually clean people. Before that, the sacrifice is conducted by assistants. Purification by fasting
Fasting is often performed before many rituals. The exact rules are determined by the ceremony and the deities involved. Fasting is often combined with consuming drugs to induce visions.
Related Ethnicities


The Zeribian language term from 'unclean' is rgaš. For unclean people a compound noun rgašmaq 'dirty-face' can be used.

The corresponding word for 'clean, pure' is haš, and for pure people hašmaq 'clean head'. Hašmaq is also the common Zeribian term used for nobles which illustrates the cultural responsibility for the nobles to always stay ritually pure. To avoid confusion, the pure status of a lower-class person can be refered to by a verbal construction Uŋuduhaš (maqidu) 'he is keeping (his head) clean'.


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