Kwabena (Zyanya Supplement)

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Kwabena clothing varies by age. Young children typically go naked, while young adults wear little clothing in an attempt to accentuate their physical attractiveness. Older adults wear full-body robes, while elders dress in whatever fashion appeals to them. Most of their clothing is made from either wool or animal hide. The hides of wild animals such as leopards, dire lions, and the like are especially prized. Clothing is usually accesorized with belts, headdresses, bags, waterskins, and other bulky items.

The Kwabena raise livestock, and take their animals with them as they travel. The majority of their diet consists of goat's milk and eggs. They supplement this with a variety of meats including chicken, mutton, goat, and on special occasions, lamb.

The Kwabena are not an aggressive people. Most of their combat is ritualized, making use of light throwing spears designed to inflict minimal damage.

Kwabena musicians and dancers are their most prominent artists. Drum dances are particularly popular. These fast moving dances are accompanied by a number of other percussive instruments, including small cymbals, triangles, marimbas, and especially bells. Dancers often wear bands of small bells tied to their wrists or ankles.

As a nomadic people, the Kwabena keep few personal belongings. However, they place great value upon what property they do own. It is not uncommon to find ostrich-egg drinking vessels, leather belts, sandals, and other similarly mundane items elevated to high art with paint, carving, or beadwork.

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The Kwabena are semi-nomadic, yet feel a need to remain close to their ancestors, so they carry the bones of honored elders with them on their travels. These remains are housed in round wooden boxes called reliquaries. Whenever a group of Kwabena remain in an area for more than a few days, they will build a small shrine to house the reliquaries, and protect the shrine with magical constructs called reliquary guardians. The Kwabena are one of the few human cultures that practice both male and female circumcision as part of the coming of age ceremony. Other human groups decry their practice of female circumcision as especially cruel, but the Kwabena steadfastly refuse to change their sacred rituals. Since they live in the desert, Kwabena rituals make frequent use of sand. Sand is used for washing in the morning, sand is ritually used to extinguish fires, and sand paintings are made to commemorate religious rituals. Kwabena also show a strong reverence for animals, and never kill an animal without a good reason such as food or clothing. When they do kill an animal, they always say a prayer for its spirit first. After an animal is killed and the useful parts are removed, Kwabena will cover the animal's remains with a large mound of sand.

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