Snow Elves Ethnicity in Yeia | World Anvil

Snow Elves

At the highest altitudes, surrounded by snow and cold live the snow elves, also known as the white elves for the color of their hair and skin. They have lived in the upper regions of the Albine mountains for millenia, since they were separated from their elven relatives to the south-east when the first humans occupied the Kallian Plains.   But how do these elves survived in those cold regions, well, thanks to their genious and magical power. They mostly inhabit on settlements built on big caves during winter where thanks to magic they managed to create a micro climate where they can cultivate plants, breed their cattle, and only in Spring and Summer they do descend to the lower part of the mountains to their Summer villages. There, they produce their harvest also thanks to magic, some of it goes to the granaries in the Cave settlements for the winter in case they need it.     But don't underestimate this elves by where they live, they are very cultivated and civilized and their cave settlements have all the commodities of the civilized life. They've a rich written and oral tradition and despite their disparce settlement their cities are also densely populated. The Snow elves are also great warriors, masters of the bow, the spear and the ambush, they're certainly a force to be reckoned with.   For centuries they were vassals of the Ikarian Empire helping in the defense of the frontiers against their common enemy, the Barbarians to the north and the east, mainly the Crorai and the Nords. They were they who also helped Afranius, one of the sons of the last Ikarian Emperor, to defeat the barbarians and stablish the Kingdom of Cloudia.

Naming Traditions

Feminine names

Telnuryë, Físdisten, Wilcelar

Masculine names

Aiquencel, Immelnur, Ittuiel

Family names

Sharpbeck, Dunleaf, Goldblossom, Sharpbeak, Blueblade, Bluespirit

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

Snow elves usually speak the Snow elf dialect of the elvish language, which has some influence from the Blatian and Ikarian languages, although talking with the Blatians they can use both the Ikarian language or Common Elvish, the latter, also known as Classical Elvish is the official language, and the language of culture of the kingdom and it is also the language employed to communicate with other elven ethnicities.

Culture and cultural heritage

Snow Elves as well as their other elven brothers are regarded as one of the most cultured nations on Yeia. Every elf knows how to read and write, something uncommon in most of the human societies. They are also very fond of epic tales narrating the deeds or their ancestors, their gods, and the previous kings. Due to this passion for culture its not strange to find libraries in these cave cities.

Shared customary codes and values

Snow elves put an strong emphasis on family and community life. Thei family is the basic social element in the Snow elvish world followed by their community, either their neighbours or their fellow citizens, if they live in a city.
 
Snow elves are very hospitable with foreigners, if they came on peacefully terms, they'd offen offer the foreigner to enter their homes, take a hot bath, eat and drink, after the proper presentations. In exchange snow elves expect the same treatment if they ever visit their guest's home, as they consider hospitality as one of the fundamental ethics of their society.   They are also relatively pacifist and only go to war if their homes and realm are in danger, or if their help is requested by a friendly nation or if the forces of evil and dark magic threat the existance of the light magic users, despite this, men and women constantly train themselves in the art of war. Talking about magic, this is essential to the life of the Snow elves, without it, they couldn't survive in this dangerous climate. Thanks to it they can grow their food, and keep themselves warm, they see it as gift of the gods and because of that they have to thank them for that, worshiping them, offering sacrifices in form of usually liquid libations and doing good deeds to others.

Average technological level

Snow elves have reached an advanced level of technology thanks to the use of magic for survival and taking advantage of what nature provides to them, even using thermal energy from the lower layers of the earth. 

Common Dress code

The dress code of the Snow elves changes depending on the season. During most of the autumn and the entirety of Winter, they usually wear clothes made of fur and wool. Sometimes they also wear caps made of bear skin. This special cap, has an interesting background. In order to hunt a bear, which is not usually done, because for them bears are sacred animals, protectors of the goddess of nature, they have to ask the goddess for her permission, as without this cap, they problably couldn't be as worm as they are with it so they have to hunt the bear, so, they kill the bear as a matter of survival. Usually caps made of this material are also done for children as they are the less resistant to cold. But Snow elves would never kill a bear cub for it.     Their boots are also made of leather or wool. But they can also wear shoes made of wood. The word for this shoes is of Ikarian origin (Tsokos or Tsokas) , as the elves copied the design from them.     On the other hand,during summer, Snow elves tend to wear clothes made of linen and cotton, and sandals instead of shoes if the weather is hot enough to wear them.

Art & Architecture

Wood and stone are the most common materials used in Snow elven architecture. Stone is specially used because it keep the houses warm in winter and fresh during summer, and because living inside gigantic caves, stone is everywhere.   As with all the elves, they are famous for their excellent craftsmanship, fabricating beautifuly  decorated objects made of gold, silver, amber, even bones. 

Common Customs, traditions and rituals

On the traditions or customs observed among the Snow Elves has something to do with the importance of hospitality that we've talked about. They usually would exchange the so called "items of hospitality", which are little animals or hands made of terracotta that have the names of both the guest and the host inscribed on it and a sacred oath remembering this hospitality and to agree to do the same in case the old host visit the former guest's house.   Snow elves, as well as their other elven brothers worship the Sacred Trees, but due to the fact that they live in city caves for most of the winter, they cannot celebrate the festivals of the sacred trees that happened during winter, so, they celebrate both the winter and summer festivals of the Sacred trees during the latter season.   There are also singing and music competitions during Summer and one of the most famous entertainment for the snow elves ( and of all the elves in general) is theatre, either in the open or in close buildings dedicated to to hold theatrical plays to be perfomed.

Birth & Baptismal Rites

Once a baby is born, a flower is put over the house's main door, symbolizing the happiness of the parents and family. Two months after the birth, the baby elf is given a ritual bath ( in many elven nations the bath is done differently and has different meanings). In this case, the baby is bathed in cold water, symbolizing the climate that he's going to live in and how strong it has to be in order to survive it.   Inmidiately after this ritual bath another ceremony is performed that is also common among the other elven races, that is called "The Connection". In this ceremony a fern leaf is passed over the head and face of the baby and then it is given to him. All of this simbolizes his/her connection with nature and the magical forces that are part of it that would be present during the rest of his life.

Coming of Age Rites

Usually when an elf comes of age a family banquet is held at the house and the boy or girl does its first sacrifice, usually a libation of milk (simbolizing purity). Once this is done he or she is considered as an adult and a full member of the community. 

Funerary and Memorial customs

When an elf dies his body is displayed for one or two days in the interior of the house so that the family, friends and neighbours can give the last goodbye and to show respect to the deceased person. Then the body is cremated outside the city and placed on a funeral urn that is then placed in an special place at the house.    It is also customary to compose poems or tales about the deceased person that are sung at the banquet that is held at the end of the day.   Elves of course, believe in the afterlife, they believe that their ancestors go to the palace of the Sky Father and there they live a happy life alongside the gods. But they also believe that they can descend again to earth to look upon their family and give their blessings on special ocassions. 
Encompassed species
Related Organizations
Languages spoken

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Author's Notes

I added a new header to the article: its the name that the snow elves give to themselves written in the elvish alphabet. It says Airin Enare ( Mountain People)


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