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Alvo'Ashva

O ancestors, we pray that you welcome your beloved daughter...among you. We pray that she has lived her life in such a way that has brought you peace, honor, and joy. And to you...we ask that you plead to the sacred ancestors so that they may bless your children who will live on to honor you as you have honored your mothers before you.   In the Sacred name of Lady Puaba, plead for their health so that they may live long lives in service to you.   In the Sacred name of Lady Tema, plead for their happiness so that they may bring joy to others in your name.   In the Sacred name of Lady Manda, plead for their fortune so that they may never suffer as they live under your ever-watchful eye.   In the Sacred name of Lady Khalli, plead for their courage so that they may never falter in their duties to you.   In the Sacred name of Lady Sheba, plead for them to find love so that they may share in another to praise you and continue your line.   In the Sacred name of Lady Hifra, plead for their strength so that they are always able to defend your honor.   In the Sacred name of Lady Etum, plead for their wisdom so that they may always know what is best in service to you.   And in the most Sacred and Holy Name of our Lady Nabooru, plead for their spirits so that the ancestors may protect and guide them.   Flower of the Desert, mother to a few and sister to us all, may you find peace among the sands.
— Alvo'Ashva prayer of committal
plain text transcript
O ancestors, we pray that you welcome your beloved daughter...among you. We pray that she has lived her life in such a way that has brought you peace, honor, and joy. And to you...we ask that you plead to the sacred ancestors so that they may bless your children who will live on to honor you as you have honored your mothers before you.

In the Sacred name of Lady Puaba, plead for their health so that they may live long lives in service to you.

In the Sacred name of Lady Tema, plead for their happiness so that they may bring joy to others in your name.

In the Sacred name of Lady Manda, plead for their fortune so that they may never suffer as they live under your ever-watchful eye.

In the Sacred name of Lady Khalli, plead for their courage so that they may never falter in their duties to you.

In the Sacred name of Lady Sheba, plead for them to find love so that they may share in another to praise you and continue your line.

In the Sacred name of Lady Hifra, plead for their strength so that they are always able to defend your honor.

In the Sacred name of Lady Etum, plead for their wisdom so that they may always know what is best in service to you.

And in the most Sacred and Holy Name of our Lady Nabooru, plead for their spirits so that the ancestors may protect and guide them.

Flower of the Desert, mother to a few and sister to us all, may you find peace among the sands.

-Alvo'Ashva prayer of committal
  Alvo'Ashva is the funeral rites of the Gerudo. In this tradition, the body of the deceased is ritualistically burned to ash, and then eventually committed to the sands of the Gerudo Desert in any place that the deceased has willed.

History

The Alvo'Ashva tradition has been apart of Gerudo culture since ancient times and is one of the few ancient traditions that has not been lost in the transition from the Ancient Gerudo Tribe to the modern tribe. The tradition has remained largely unchanged and keeps its key element of committal of the ashes to the desert sands, the only true difference being the prayers. While the basic premise of the prayers have also remained the same in that they all ask for a spiritual power to bless the spirit of the person who was lost, the power in question has changed from a divine deity to the spirits of the Gerudo's ancestors.

Components and Tools

Before death, it is customary for a Gerudo to have left behind two things: an ash'vao and a batava.   An ash'vao is an urn that the Gerudo use to store the ashes until it is time for the deceased to be committed. Each ash'vao is unique, and every Gerudo woman, whether they are born and raised in the desert or not, is entitled to have one made for free.   Standard urns are small and red from the clay that they are made from and decorated with the symbol of the Gerudo in the favorite color of the deceased. The rim is gilded to represent the richness of life, and a single gem of the deceased's choice is embedded into the middle of the Gerudo symbol to symbolize their personal accomplishments. For those who have high social standing, such as military officials, their urns are larger and made of bronze and are more ornate. Chieftains have large urns made entirely of gold that are even more ornate with other precious metals and gems, personal insignias, and/or famous accomplishments. The urns of the Vatiti are the largest and most impressive of all, resembling a giant golden vase that is extravagantly decorated and filled with a tapestry that tells all of his life and accomplishments on the mortal plane.   A batava, or "will of appeasement" is the instructions that a Gerudo leaves behind to her family so that her spirit may be appeased. Appeasement of one's ancestors is the greatest thing that a Gerudo can accomplish according to their religion, so the batava is the most important object that a family can inherit. Because the batava is so important to Gerudo culture, it is a binding legal document that must be approved beforehand by the chieftain/king. If the wills listed in the batava are illegal, impossible, unfair, or ridiculous (unless explicit consent from the family is given to uphold such requests), then it might be rejected so that it can be resubmitted for review until it is ultimately approved.   In the case of the Alvo'Ashva, the batava lists where specifically the deceased wants her ashes to be scattered, as well as what they want to happen to their ash'vao. It is common for the ash'vao to be used as a container for important possessions or objects that reminded the deceased of their life, as well as slips of cloth with prayers and sentiments woven in by family members, and the batava usually lists what objects must be placed inside.   In the case of those who die before an ash'vao was created for them, one is commissioned for them based on the knowledge that the family has of their deceased. If the deceased has no family, her neighbors are questioned. If she was a vagrant with no family, neighbors, or friends, then her urn is simple with a sand-colored Gerudo symbol and a ruby. Such urns are kept in a special room in the palace where the chieftain prays for their spirits daily as if she were their family. For those who did not make a batava in time, the family is still expected to live in a way that they believe their deceased would want them to.

Execution

When a Gerudo dies, her body is immediately taken and burned before the rise of the very next sun. Her ashes are then placed in her ash'vao for five days. During this five day period, known as the Vernu, is a period of intense mourning for the family. They dress in all-white mourning clothes and are expected to lament and pray for the spirit of the deceased in private, as well as fast from sundown of the fourth day to sundown of the last day. The family is exempt from attending the Khall'aaq service if the Vernu happens to fall on that day.   The morning after the Vernu, the family breaks their fast and the chieftain stops by to briefly pray with them. After that, the funeral march begins. The ash'vao is carried in a special white cloth by every attending member of the family behind the priestess (or chieftain if the deceased was important enough) to the appointed place, and the customary prayers are said before the ashes are spread by the deceased's eldest living child.

Related Location
Gerudo Town
Related Ethnicities

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Comments

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21 Jul, 2018 16:32

Very descriptive of the practices and items involved in the funeral rites. :D