Kultura—Culture

[Anunevagnei/Updated 12 November 2019]
[Izboljagontei/Under Development]

TOPICS

1) The Sovermian dorva oak
2) Polnei Menota — the Full Moon festivals
3) Sovermian va and vas
4) Dvei Ortvas — The “Two Principles” of Sovermian kultura


1) The Sovermian dorva oak

The tree Sovermians call the dorva (oak) has long been a favored national symbol in many lands, including England, Germany, Wales, Estonia, Jordan, France and Serbia. The oak genus quercus is prevalent throughout the northern hemisphere, with the greatest concentration of varieties in North America and in China. The wood is renowned for its strength, durability and beauty when finished. Aptly do Sovermians call a strong and resolute person dorvokerdei “oakhearted”.

Oak mast — fallen acorns — are a high-energy food source for pigs, among the few species that can safely handle the high levels of tannins. These same tannins also make the tree and wood resistant to many pests. Long associated in myth and legend with lightning and thunderstorms, the oak has been shown in some recent studies to attract more lightning strikes than any other tree.

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2) Polnei Menota — the Full Moon festivals

Sovermians often celebrate the Full Moon by eda pon albosta “eating from white” — white foods, in keeping with the whiteness of the moon. Some have noted the similarities between this cultural observance and the Italian mangiare in bianco, though the latter is generally a folk remedy for general malaise — eating plainly, without (rich) sauces to interfere with easy digestion.

While foods for the Full Moon include both traditional recipes and customs unique to individual families, most Sovermians will choose their ingredients from among milk, cream, cheese, egg whites, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, fish, pork, chicken and — stretching the color associations only a little — pears, apples, lychee fruit, cauliflower, radishes, white wine, etc. Certainly one can craft satisfying foods from these varied ingredients.

Given the busy-ness of modern life, most Sovermians don’t practice the all-night vigils once associated with the full moon, but many will stay up later than usual, telling stories, lighting candles, singing and playing music, etc. Moon-viewing parties wait until menotora moonrise to begin, and can become quite lively. If you’re visiting, consider it an honor to be invited to spend an evening with Sovermians during polnei menota.

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3) Sovermian va and vas

Like many languages, and unlike English, Sovermian distinguishes the informal/singular va “you” and the formal/plural vas “you (all)”. Thus we have German du and Sie, French tu and vous, Russian ti ты and vi вы, etc. Using them appropriately — vas with one or more adults you don’t know well, or in formal situations with everyone, and va with children, close friends, partners, etc. — is a mark of respect. When in doubt, simply use vas. Children may giggle at you, but adults will smile in nostalgia at you for being an itnovremuka — loosely, a charmingly old-fashioned person in speech.

Younger speakers of Sovermian celebrate the day they feel close enough to become vavokvontas — literally, “va-sayers” — with each other. When someone says to you Vavokve ma — “Use va with me” — you’re relaxed enough that you may now also clasp forearms (which Sovermians prefer over Western-style handshakes) at hello and goodbye. Note that vas-speakers, however, usually bow.

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4) Dvei Ortvas — The “Two Principles” of Sovermian kultura.

We could summarize these as “Honor your commitments” and “Respect the boundaries”. The essential principles surface in most cultures, sometimes in common law, in tradition, or sometimes more explicitly promulgated. Author Richard Maybury in his book Whatever Happened to Justice? (Bluestocking Press; rev. ed. 2004) cites a version of them which he calls the two laws: “Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property”. Together they sum up many moral codes quite succinctly. While they do not detail all that a person may do to lead a whole and fulfilling life, Sovermians find many people respond to them instinctively. That is, on hearing them, they begin to expand on them, filling in details and examples from experience. The two laws or principles also share common ground in almost every culture we know about.

Our Sovermian Constitution elaborates on these core principles, and includes these words:

… therefore we derive by elaboration from these goals and understandings a compendium of laws, including both obligations and rights, in order to assess our past deeds, guide our present choices, and shape and realize our future hopes.

One who understands the cultural and human centrality of the dvei ortvas is an ortvuka — a dedicated explorer of these principles in all of life. You might say that such a pursuit is a defining characteristic of Sovermia and its citizens.