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The Quemari

This article is adapted from the entry for the Quemari in The Sâryan Encyclopedia, Cárshǒhl University Press, 22nd edition (716).

The Quemari can trace their history back thousands of years; they seem to have been the first people to reach Quemar, and were the only ones until the -600s or slightly earlier when other Vèkyan cultures began to develop their seafaring capabilities. Related to this, the Quemari strongly identify themselves with their home island—despite being an active trade spot for much of recorded history, few Quemari are recorded to have emigrated elsewhere permanently.   This focus on the land likely helped with incorporating Hlorasans and people from other cultural groups into their own culture and society; as early as the -200s it seems Quemari focussed more on the urban-rural divide of their population, not the mixed/Hlorasan ancesty vs. mostly native Quemari divide that closely aligned with merchants and other urban occupations vs. traditional rural lifestyles.   The traditional ways of life for the Quemari were fishing and nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralism, since very little of the land is suitable for agriculture. While trade and mining became other common fields of occupation, fishing and herding remained self-conscious centrepieces of Quemari culture. Even for herders in the central moors and mountains, the sea was of vital importance, religiously and culturally. The resilience their homeland required is another feature strongly associated with Quemari, both by themselves and by outsiders.

Naming Traditions

Family names

Clan names are only regularly used by nobles, though many merchants and other middle-class people have them; even some pastoralists and miners in Quemar have them. The clan names mostly derive from Hlorasan ones, and most scholars believe that they were imported with Hlorasan culture, though a minority think that the native Quemari clan names are the vestiges of pre-Hlorasan kinship groups.

Other names

Many recorded Quemari names are Hlorasan in origin, either taken directly from Hlorasan or adapted for the Quemari language (ex. Khatym and the derived Kåtim or Håtim). These include names from other cultures that were borrowed into the Hlorasan name repertoire or brought to Quemar by non-Hlorasan members of the empire.   There was also a small subset of traditional Quemari names still in use during and after Quemar’s provincial period. This was augmented during the revival of Quemari language and culture in the late -100s and -00s by new name formations. Most of these took a word (usually a noun, ex. ’aråk) and suffixed -ord/-ård (ex. ’Aråkård), though there seems to have been some sense that this was a more masculine suffix. Another option from the -00s and increasingly common in the 00s was to use the Sáharían name formers -a for feminine names (ex. ’Aråkå), and -un for masculine ones (ex. ’Aråkin). Interestingly, -un seems to have been the most gender-neutral of the three.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Before the Hlorasan conquest of -522, the Quemari language or languages were spoken (though Célibrían may have had influences later lost after the introduction of Hlorasan). The Hlorasan language gained traction, and by the time of a growing sense of independence and cultural identity in Quemar in the -200s, Quemari was largely restricted to rural speakers in limited circumstances, with a distinct Quemari dialect of Hlorasan being the normal everyday language. With the introduction of Revitalized Quemari (based on remembered Quemari, Hlorasan, and some Sáharían), the Quemari once again had two languages, though Quemari never overtook Quemari Hlorasan as the main language.

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

A distinctly Quemari tradition was the gòtord, a kind of ritually significant doorstop. While its use was most common in fishing and mining villages, pastoralists had a variation, and many merchant and noble families began adopting the tradition in the -100s, -00s, and 00s. When a child was born, it was traditional to find a stone—preferably in a vaguely human shape—to serve as its gòtord. This would be added to the family collection at the door (nomadic pastoralists generally had a family site, which would be added to when they went past).   The gòtord was supposed to stay with an individual throughout their lifetime; if a gòtord was lost or broken, it had to be replaced—this was often accompanied by a name change in traditional families, to tie the new gòtord to a “new” person. The loss of a gòtord may have been considered more important in earlier times.   When an individual came of age (exact age varied), they would decorate their gòtord as a means of establishing their distinct identity, typically with paint (this method may have been popularize with paints introduced from Hloras). A gòtord moved house with its owner, and accompanied them in death; most Quemari were buried at sea, and the task of the gòtord was to see them safely to the ocean floor. Some of the merchant and noble families who adopted the use of the gòtord, however, continued to bury or burn their dead, and arrange the gòtord in a family mausoleum.
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