Iridonian Zabrak life typically goes on like that of humans and pretty much every species. Every day life consists of the usual things, such as work, meals and a common sleep pattern. See the Clans
page to read all about the relationships between Zabrak clan members and families.
Zabrak are a fierce species, and Iridonian Zabrak in particular are renowned warriors. Martial arts and other warrior training is a large part of Iridonian Zabrak culture. Every Zabrak--man, woman, and youth--is given warrior training (taking place mostly during youth). Sometimes offworld Zabrak will send their young to Iridonia to receive this training.
The Zabrak rites of adulthood are known as Res Selenoren, literally meaning "The Challenges" (res = the, selenoren = challenges). The rites of adulthood are the most important series of events in a traditional Zabrak's life. Each Selenoren is different, and very private, only to be discussed between the youth and his or her parents. Therefore, what you will read here is the general idea behind the ritual and how they are commonly acted out.
The Selenoren are taken at puberty, usually somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15, but the exact age is different for every Zabrak and is decided by the youth's parents, who have been keeping a watchful eye on their child over the past few months or years to acknowledge their growth. When the youth is ready, the parents will know, and will begin planning the challenges for their child to face.
Each Zabrak's challenges are different and are carefully designed by the parents to bring out their individual strengths and weaknesses. Also taken into account are the Selenoren of the parents and prior generations of the family. The father will administer the rites to his sons, and the mother to her daughters.
The rites typically consist of a mental challenge, a physical challenge, and a social challenge. The latter is given to all eligible youths at the same time during the Rising Festival, given publically by the clan elders. If a father doubts his child's readiness for the final challenge, he may evoke a "stay of years" -- an indefinite period of time in which he is allowed to help his child better learn what is required of an adult. Since the first two challenges are in preperation for the social challenge, the honor of the entire family is at stake at the final challenge.
Selenoren take place at any time within a three-month period prior to the Rising Festival. Since the parents are said to know exactly when their child is ready, failing the selenoren is a rare occurance. If a child does fail one of the first two tests, the parents have until the Rising Festival to create and administer new challenges for the child to pass.
Complete failure of the Selenoren brands the Zabrak as forever a youth: neither a child nor an adult. This is not seen as a negative social status, but still brings much shame and guilt for dishonoring the clan. After failing, the clan's markings are scarred into the youth's skin (known as "fro jataj") rather than tattooed, and the prefix "ke" is added to their name to signify their eternal youth status. These "eternal youths" are still expected to act as mature clan members.
A third alternative is refusal of the Selenoren. Those who refuse to take the rites of adulthood as known as tlestri. They are allowed to participate in the Rising Festival with the other clan members, but after that night, they are no longer allowed to sleep with the clan. They will typically spend the entire night saying goodbye to family and friends and preparing to leave their village the next morning. Parents and family are not allowed to help the tlestri start a new life, but are allowed to give the child the name of a friend outside the village who may help them. The tlestri is given parting gifts by their family and friends, which may include food, weapons, or sentimental trinkets. The aforementioned gift of a friend's name to help the young tlestri begin a new life is also counted as an acceptable parting gift. Once leaving the village the tlestri is never allowed to return. Once they leave they are considered and respected as an adult.
The Rising Festival is an annual ceremony taking place at the end of the year, which celebrates the passing of the rites of adulthood. All youths who have passed their Selenoren during the year are honored during this ceremony, and those who have not yet been tattooed will receive their markings in a public celebration. This ceremony also includes entertainment, food and refreshments, debates, hunts and contests, and other fun events that the whole clan can take part in.
To read all about the Zabrak tattooing tradition, visit the physical traits page.
The Zhaboka is a traditional Zabrak instrument once used in warfare. It is a ceremonial pike about 2 meters long, with double-edges blades on either end. The Zhaboka is now used mainly in special occasions such as wedding and funerals, and in the Rising Festival where youths will participate in Zhaboka hunts.
On Iridonia there is what is called the law of hospitality. This law states that any visitor staying in your home will be treated as a family member and is your responsibilty for as long as he or she is staying under your roof. It is the host's responsibility to protect their guest by any means necessary, right down to giving their own life. The visitor will accept a gift from the host, marking the beginning of their stay and the law of hospitality's effectiveness. Once the guest leaves the home, the law becomes inactive.
There are many different traditions among Zabrak involving the naming of their children, usually varying by clan. In Iridonian clans, every clan member uses the clan's name as a surname and is given a unique first name at birth. It is even said that certain clans give children the clan's name as their first name and the second name is what names them as an individual.
Most offworld clans, however, observe the human tradition of each family having their own surname, and each member a first name which their parents choose at birth. When marrying, one of the two individuals (typically the woman) will take the other's surname.
In other cases, a Zabrak may have only one name; or at least only one that they use. In this case their second name (or even their first) may be that of their clan and they have chosen to drop the name.
Zabrak have widely varying names, but there are certain letters that are very commonplace among traditional Zabrak names. These letters include: K, H, M, T, and E, among others.
Music is important to many Zabrak in both a cultural and personal way. Traditional Zabrak instruments include the quetarra, which is an 8-stringed instrument used to play both classical and modern popular music.
(The Clans and Family page may contain more information on some of the above or related subjects.)