Hello, Welcome to Akara
Lomalo, Amoha eto Akara
Akaran villagers in
Regions With Significant Populations
Minority: Traditional Faiths, Islam
Related Ethnic Groups
The Asan are a Bantu people people of the South East African Island of Akara. They are a close relative of the Sotho-Twana and Nguni peoples of South Africa, although they also have a significant amount of admixture from South East Asia, due to intermarriage with Akara's now extinct aboriginal population. The majority of Asan are members of the Akaran Orthodox Church, although a minority practice Protestantism or traditional faiths. At 24 million people, they are the largest bantu ethnic group. Four million of those are part of the Asan diaspora, which is found mostly in the United States, Argentina, and across eastern and southern Africa.
The ancestors of the Akaran people originated from the area around Lake Victoria. Around 1000 AD, they began a migration south. In modern Mozambique, the people split, with one portion continuing south while the other migrated east via the sea. The group that went South became the Sotho-Tswana people, while those that went east became the Akarans. The early Akarans settled along the lowland coast of western Akara, where they raised cattle. Over time they interbred with Akara's native Austronesian population, merging elements of their culture and language.
The Akarans developed an agricultural society, cultivating rice, potatoes, and nuts, and raising cattle, sheep, and pigs for food. Akarans are also known for the practice of batkeeping, which is not common in any other society. The Akaran Orthodox Church takes a heavy role in Akaran society. Churches are domed and built of stone, often painted white, maroon, and gold. Most people attend mass every one or two weeks.
When greeting members of the opposite sex, Akarans will give each other a kiss on the cheek. Greeting for the same sex differ by gender. Females will embrace each other, while men will grab each others hand. When greeting a superior in a formal setting, or meeting someone for the first time, the Akarans will bow to each other as a sign of respect.
Caste and Fady
Like many other African cultures, the Akarans have a caste system. The highest cast of the Akarans are the Adriana, making up the nobles and aristocrats. The commoner caste is known as the Hova. The lowest caste of the Akarans is the Andevo, which is given to slaves, societal outcasts, and their children. The Akarans are not as strict with there caste system, and members of all castes can become respected and powerful members of society. However, intercaste marriage is still looked down upon by many, and the andevo are still often socially mistreated.
The Akaran culture also has Fady, or supernatural taboos. It is believed that by breaking these, one angers ancestral spirits. While the Akaran Church opposes these beliefs on the grounds of paganism, many are still observed by majority of the Afronesians, whether Orthodox, Protestant, or animist. Some fady and prohibitions include:
Complaining about the heat from the Sun
Pregnant women eating eels
Eating before a prayer of Grace
Grooming and Beauty
Akaran culture stresses appearances and beauty. Men are expected to keep their hair either cut short, or in a very spherical afro. Ideally, Akaran men should appear rugged, yet well kept. Over-grooming such as stylized hair is seen as effeminate and nearly as bad as unkept hair. The desire for short hair is largely due to the martial history of the Akarans, while the popularity of Afros stems from the fashion of the aristocracy. Women are able to style their hair, however, and often choose to don elaborate, tightly woven braids. However, afros and wavy hair are also common. Akaran women are also very fond of makeup and perfume, and will apply both for even casual situations. This has lead to Akara being the top importer of both beauty products in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Akaran women have a tradition of tattooing their hands and arms. While these tattoos do not display actual pictures, they do depict intricate patterns that have been passed on through generations. Tattoos are also often a display of wealth, and many Akarans consider it fady for a woman to have many tattoos without having the wealth to back it up. Tattoos have recently become popular among men, but are western-styled rather than traditional, and are used to display affiliation, accomplishments, and hobbies.
Silk is a staple part of Akaran clothing, and is often woven into elaborately designed robes, shirts, and dresses. However, it is not always available due to its cost. Cotton is a more common fabric, especially among the Akaran hova.
There are two main styles of traditional women's clothes. The first is the beyasi, a long-sleeve dress that flairs out at the waist. Beyasi are usually made out of silk, and worn by the hova for formal occasion, while more wealthy women may wear them regularly. They are also work with a cloth wrapping around the head. The second type is the parama, a short sleeve dress made from cotton. These are usually worn for everyday activities.
One of the most iconic pieces of Akaran clothing is the lamba, a blanket which is worn around the body. Lambas are worn by both men and women, and can be made from a variety of materials such as silk, cotton, wool, or rafia. People living in the lower areas of the country usually wear thin, light lambas, while highlanders prefer thicker materials to keep them warm. Lambas are often decorated in intricate, multi-color patterns which vary from tribe to tribe. Besides its daily use as basic clothing, the lamba is also used for tying children to mothers' backs or as a cushion when carrying a heavy object on top of the head. The lamba is also used ritually to wrap the remains of the dead before placing them in the family tomb. Which after the ceremony are then placed on the dead for an order of respect to their souls.
Another iconic piece of Akaran attire is the paika, a cylindrical fur hat based off of the Russian kubanka. Kubanka style hats were first introduced to Akara in the 1880s, by Russian soldiers sent to train and supply the Royal Merina Army. Over time, Akarans began producing their own hats in the same style, which they called the paika. The paika is mostly worn in rural regions, but is also part of ceremonial uniforms for the Akaran military.
Caztiloa refers to a dress style inspired by those worn by Spanish women during the 1600s. Informal caztiloa are often made from cotton, and made for everyday use. They can vary in appearance, with some being skirts or dresses, one piece or two piece, however they all retain the classical Spanish style. Their use is mostly found in the coastal areas, especially by the Sakalava. Formal caztiloa, however, are worn by women all over the island for major events. Formal caztiloa are much more uniform, with each dress typically having only two or three colors. They also feature enlarged shoulders and often a ruffled lower area. They are typically made from fine materials like silk.
Most men traditionally wear samparo robes made of cotton or silk, along with an often stylized barotse blanket wrapped around their shoulders. This dates back to the days of the Hashedan Empire, when soldiers would need to carry their sleeping material on campaigns. The barotse is often made of wool, and dyed with traditional patterns. Akaran men often wear satara straw hats. A more traditional hat is the beyasi, which is a cylindrical woolen cap. The beyasi is usually worn in the Semna highlands, where temperatures drop drastically due to the highland's elevation.
Akaran cuisine has been heavily influenced by the many different people's that have migrated to the island. Rice is the staple food, and served in nearly every meal. The rice is usually accompanied by an accompaniment called laoka, and a sauce called kori. Laokas can be made of vegetable and meats, including beef, mutton, pork, chicken, and potato leaves. The kori base is usually made from curry powder, but can also be made from peanuts or even chocolate. Potato bread is also an important part of Akaran cuisine. Rotay is a savory pancake which is dipped in kori, and pao is a steamed dumpling filled with meat and sauce. Both are made using potato bread. Akarans also makes use of noodles, known as eodon. Akaran noodles are made of wheat flour, and typically served in a soup. Despite fishing being a large part of Akara's economy, fish is rarely used in Akaran food.
Coming of Age
Akarans celebrate their coming of age on their 18th birthday. Coming of age parties are incredibly important in Akaran society, as it signifies the passing from youth into adulthood. As such, an Akaran's 18th birthday is considered their most important.
For girls, the coming of age celebration is known as the bitany. It is one of the most signify events in an Akaran girls life. The most important part of the bitany is the waltz, where the girl dances with her close male friends. Before each dance, the friend will read a letter of parting, symbolizing the end of childhood, then greet the girl with a formal Mrs. title, signifying her transition to an adult.
Traditional Akaran architecture varies between two main styles, harona and lebose. Harona style originated from Bantu traditions, and features a circular stone hut with a conical thatch roof. Lebose style came from the aboriginal polynesians, and has a box shaped house made of wood with a triangular thatch roof. For both styles, adobe and cob are sometimes used as substitute building materials. Lebose style is more popular in urban settlements, while harona is more popular in rural settlements. In modern times, these styles are less common with the rise of apartments and larger western-styled housing.