This article describes Chalmean culture during the neolithic period, this is, from the colonization of Chalmea to year zero.
Chalmeans call marriage Bíxà, and are generally either monogamous or monoandric, with extensive poliginy amongst chieftains and other rich and powerful men. A person will, on average, have four to six spouses during their lifetime, though lifelong monogamy is not unheard of. Women rarely have more than one husband at the same time, but people frequently have a wife and a husband simultaneously, which make the boundaries between a very close friendship and a marriage become highly diffuse in Chalmean culture, this is to say that while most people have a "spouse" of the same sex, many of those will not have a sexual relationship with that spouse. Indeed many Chalmeans have that kind of platonic relationships with their spouse of the opposite sex. Marriage is decided upon by individuals, but it's considered crass and inconsiderate to do so for women without their family's blessing, which frequently must be earned by the candidate. Chalmeans marry people based on friendship more than on love. If a marriage ends children will always be taken care of by the family of the mother, which is the main family nucleus in Chalmean culture, which prescribes that men should live by themselves at all times. True orphans are rare, since if both parents die it's certain that someone in someone's family will take care of the child; children are very valuable to Chalmeans and they will readily adopt them.
Boys and girls are treated similarly during their toddler years, this is to say boys will be treated like girls, even named as girls, until puberty, where they can be initiated into manhood... or not. Boys who don't succeed in their initiation either try again the next year or become askòmê, or something like man-girls, ladyboys, or something. Most men end up passing their rite of initiation. A man can take a ladyboy for a wife, but will often take another wife for the purposes of procreation, since a childless man is seen as not doing his duty of being a father.
Households consist of wifes, mothers, boys, girls, the eventual askòmê , grandmothers, and sometimes aunts and their kin. Even though husbands don't live with the family, they spend much time with them and is largely sustained by them; a man eats at his wife's, and Chalmeans eat four to six small meals a day, so fathers, while not part of the household, are definitely part of the family. Hunters are generally more distant, as they typically spend days out in the jungle.
Fights are typically resolved by the community; if two people can't handle a disagreement and this is brought to the villagefolk's attention (for example, when a civil argument evolves into yelling or punching) people will do something like an intervention and everyone will start questioning the parts as to why are they bothering them with a fight. There are elaborate apology rituals for the parts that the community finds to be wrong in an argument. Problems between women, or between children, will usually be resolved by their mothers.
Chalmeans that live in the jungle rarely wear more clothing than a simple loincloth, if at all. People from the south, where most land is open ground, often wear a large hat and a cape. People greet each other from afar by rising their hands and extending the index and middle fingers, pointing towards the sky. The standard greeting from close distance between men is to place the hand in front of the chest and bump forearms. women greet men and each other just with words. Very close people hug.
In general Chalmean culture views good and evil in terms of peace and conflict. In this context, peace means something very similar to order, continuity and stability. The value of stability is that it allows for people to adapt to it and to develop, within it, good lives. It is also believed that people who are unhappy will not adapt and incorporate into a certain order, and the resulting rebellion causes strife, suffering and needless change, not to mention violence. All these things are evils in the Chalmean worldview, but rebellion against unbearable circumstances, while undesirable, is considered as sometimes unavoidable. At the practical level, traditional Chalmean ethics deal in acts and their foreseeable consequences, not on intentions or reasons. An act is good in the measure that the consequences that can be reasonably expected of it promote peaceful coexistence, social harmony or the advancement of one's community. To what community an individual's loyalties should belong is a matter of constant philosophical and political debate amongst the Chalmean people: traditionalists argue that one's family and one's djóko should come first, while the more progressive people, mostly aligned with the Tabetian Kingdom are on a sort of cultural crusade to instill a stronger sense of national identity into the people, thus convincing them that they owe their loyalties to Chalmea.
Arts and EntretainmentEdit
The two main forms of private leisure in Chalmean culture, that is, entretainment without a social component, are wood sculpting and daydreaming. Wood sculpting is traditionally done with lithic tools, the nature of which depends heavily on the region, but since the founding of Bawám, with the increased availability of imported metalware from the Keskus and Namjog regions, bronze knives are becoming mainstream. Recreative carpentry plays a big role in Chalmean culture. Daydreaming is an approximate translation of the Bixînke word kabâxom, which consists in the Chalmean habit to lie in the ground and think about things that could happen. In a way, Chalmeans consider it a sort of prayer as well, which resonates with the mythic story of Akûnaxá, the dreamer/rebellious goddess.
Almost all other culturally salient forms of entretainment are social. Storytelling, acting, sports, songs, and of course, gossip and chatter. Chalmeans are very talkative, and both sexes are quite prone to gossip, social intrigue, and general he-said-she-said games. As a consequence, Chalmeans are expected to be quite opaque and to rarely reveal their true opinions and feelings towards other people. Knowledge of who thinks what about whom is a powerful social tool in Chalmean gossip, since they are a culture which very much values reputation and honor. Unlike western civilization, in which gossip is at some level frowned upon as a form of indiscretion, frivolity and ill-intentioned act of social disruption, Chalmean culture understands public judgement as something good. It binds people together and draws on the communitie's collective wisdom to guide the individual. And besides, if you didn't do anything wrong, what's the point of hiding it? Of course, as the clever reader can see, Chalmean culture is highly repressive.
Narrative arts like storytelling and acting take place organically out of everyday situations. Everyone knows a few stories, and often the storyteller is motivated -or forced- into telling a certain story by the group. Stories are less about morals and more about practical knowledge of the world. Songs and sports have a strong moral component and encode cultural clues about what kind of behaviour is acceptable or not, but non-liric storytelling is supposed to be realistic and to teach the listener about the world.