RELIGION and PHILOSOPHY
The Vhorani (or D'ravsai)-Mythology
There exist many forms of belief and mythology, and they changed over the centuries. But the most common basis is this: from Vulcan the Rihannsu brought an ancient mythology, in which is told that a very old spacefaring species named Vhorani (named D'ravsai in another major language - FASA-The Romulans) created the Vulcans and made them to the guardians of the universe. While following the teachings of Surak the old Vulcans had abandoned this aim laid out by the Vhorani, the Rihannsu think of themselves as only true heirs of the Vhorani. Therefore they see themselves as guardians, whos duty is to bring the universe and its various species from chaos to order and civilization (Star Trek RPG Sourcebook "The way of D'Era"). From the religious point of view every family, every ship, every group of individuals has own special D'ravsai, who care for them and guide them in the right way to dominate the galaxy and bring order to it (Star Trek RPG FASA Sourcebook "The Romulans").
The Four Elements<
In the fulfilling of this duty the harmony of the Universe is very important, and so is the philosophy of the "Four Elements" who are the basis of worlds and energy and their connection. The element of fire stands for energy, earth for solid matter, air for gaseous matter and water for fluid matter. Every part of the universe and every person has its specific element or a specific combination - only if the individual acts conform with this combination of elements the balance and harmony of the world an the universe can be found. (Duane, D., Morwood, P.: The Romulan way, and Duane, D.: My enemy my ally)
This teaching is very similar to the philosophy of elements found in ancient Greece and later medieval times on earth.
The Remans, or better Havrannsu, have own religious beliefs, and of course the various species on the colony worlds of the Empire.
A state cult for the imperial family existed until the assassinaten of the last emperor, Shiarkiek, in 2374. The center was in the temple at the Firefalls (Sherman/Shwartz: Blood Sacrifice, in: Tales of the Dominion war). After the end of the dynasty, the cult became obsolete.
Family and Clans
In the Rihannsu society the common goal of the state outranks always personal ambitions - but nonetheless there are those ambitions. Obedience, disciplin and loyalty are basics in which every young Rihanha is instructed (Star Trek RPG Sourcebook "The way of D'Era"). It is said "Romulans are creatures of duty"(Star Trek RPG FASA Sourcebook "The Romulans"). An individual must not hesitate to give his life if it will benefit the whole people and the empire. It's a highly hierarchic society, what finds its expression in a complicated language with different articulations for inferiors, superiors and people on the same level as the speaker. There are equal rights and treatment for men and women, the problems the humans had with this subject are completely incomprehensible for Rihannsu (Star Trek RPG FASA Sourcebook "The Romulans").
(Picture by Sareth)
Every family is part of a greater "house" or clan, which is defined via parentage and adoption. The leader of a "house", called Hru'hfir, is the manager of his clans social life, economy and politics. Every house has to provide a certain military contingent to the Empire (Duane, D., Morwood, P.: The Romulan way). The family and the family's home are the only places in which Rihannsu normally show their emotions, especially the more private ones. It is considered very bad manner displaying them in the public, on the streets (Star Trek RPG FASA Sourcebook "The Romulans").
Marriages are for lifetime. In the ceremony the couple changes the symbolic bracelets (Duane, D., Morwood, P.: The Romulan Way). Married and unmarried couples can link together in some sort of mind meld (Marshak, S., Culbreath, M.: The Fate of the Phoenix / The Price of the Phoenix). Having children is supported by various backings from the state. However, the Romulans followed the practice of euthanasia, if a child was born defective (Star Trek RPG FASA Sourcebook "The Romulans" and Star Trek TNG Episode "The Enemy").
The 'mnhei'sahe' - code of honor and behaviour
The 'mnhei'sahe' influences the whole private and official life of the Rihannsu and works as reglementation for contacts with other Rihannsu or Aliens. Outsiders often have difficulties understanding this complexe code of honor (Duane, D., Morwood, P.: The Romulan Way). It has nothing in common with the warrior code of honor cherished by the Klingons. Some deeds that for Humans or Klingons may represent the summit of dishonest behaviour and the display of treacherous, evil minds, are honorable for a Rihanha, if the Empire and the duty to dominate the galaxy are fulfilled. A word given to another Rihanha is always of high importance - a word given to an Alien practically means nothing. Violating the 'mnhei'sahe' brings great dishonor and can lead to duel or feud.
In the military and war campaigns the"mercy-killing" is considered a duty, because no wounded should fall into enemy's hands, what would be a great dishonor.
Left: Giving final honor to a friend during a battle (mady by Sareth 2009)
CELEBRATIONS and CUSTOMS
(including some developments by fans)
The complete ritual can be found at the "Rihannsu Encyclopedia".
A royal wedding ceremony as pictured in the IDW comic "Hollow Crown"
Memorial Service (Source: Duane, D.: My enemy, my ally)
To honor the memory of a deceased person, his/her flag with the armorial of the family is raised, and then his/her secret name spoken five times: four times for each of the four elements, and a fifth time for the conjunction of it all.
Anniversary of the Settlement (Source: USS-Saipan-RPG, Section Ch'Rihan, Author: Sareth)
This celebration takes place in wintertime at the closest conjunction of the sisterplanet Ch'Havran to Ch'Rihan. This is not the historical date, but some emperor of the early times chose it for greater solemnity. It's the greatest holiday for all Rihannsu. They start long in advance with their preparations, similar to the Terrans for Christmas. In the streets and houses are light sets and paper lanterns in the shape of the two planets. People also wear jewelry in planets-shape. Flags and Banners are everywhere.
At midnight all family members come together at their appartement or house in order to celebrate the traditional light ritual. First the artificial lights are off, and the head of the family tells the story of how the exiled forefathers of the Rihannsu discovered the two planets. If he/she arrives at the words "Light", said Kevratek, "we have discovered the light of a new star. And two planets orbiting ist." - "Two hopes for a new home", answered S'Task, the heir of the house lights a candle, and then the other illumination is set on again. Now begins the more relaxed part of the holiday with a banquet.
Etreih'hveinn - Thanksgiving (Source: Duane, D., Moorwood, P.: The Romulan way)
This is a traditional celebration for the natural products, with markets and dancing festivities. But the merchants selling on this day must be approved by the priests.