The theme of the Kingdom of Dawn's Anniversary contest was Superstitions and Old Wive's Tales. I was thinking that perhaps it can be used for roleplay, or maybe even can be added to and explanded (which would be awesome). Here's a sampling of what I wrote for a few of the cities:
In Trinsic, there is a game called "playing the purples." On the day of the year when the tides are the highest, the maidens will take the petals from a purple rose and cast them into the sea. They say that the when the petals wash ashore, they will spell out the first letter of the name of one's true love.
All Trinsican brides always wear a bit of purple, even if it is only a flower in her hair, or something worn beneath her bridal gown.
Before the paladins ride out from Trinsic for battle, they wash their hands three times and perfume them with a bit of purple rose water.
While others personify death as a figure known as the Grim Reaper, in Vesper, death is referred to ]as The Midnight Bridgekeeper. Vesperians are always certain never to be on a bridge at the exact stroke of midnight. If a Vesperian does accidentally find himself on bridge at the midnight, then he will drop three coins into the water below him to appease the Bridgekeeper. If he has not three coins, he will stay on that bridge until dawn, lest he lead the Bridgekeeper home to his loved ones.
A Vesperian will not drink from a chipped cup, nor will she drink from a chipped plate. To do so will bring bad luck.
Vesper is a city of merchants, and they believe that the dead are still involved in commerce in the hereafter. On the night of the new moons, Vesperians will often go to the cemetary and leave piles of gold for the departed. The Vesperians call this practice "paying the good tax."
Naughty Covish children are told to behave "or the Orc Queen will come and take them away and grind their bones for bread."
To dream of an open doorway is a bad omen in Cove.
The people of Cove believe that the South Wind causes people to grow angry.
Jhelomite brides tuck a newly forged iron coin in their left shoes on their wedding day.
Jhlelomite men will not have their hair cut by a female hairdresser.
Blemished, bruised or rotted fruit in the home is considered bad luck in Jhelom. Jhelomites will immediately remove any fruit from their homes at the first sight of any imperfection, and send it to the farm for the animals to eat.
Sheep herders are not allowed to bring their flocks into the city through the south gate. The Island Folk believe that doing so will cause the sky to grow dark and the Gods to descend upon them in terrible wrath.
There is a tale of old in a land(GL) far, far away of how 2 young shepherds brought their small (200) flock of sheep to Moonglow on Market Day(to battle reds at the gate). When they reached the south gate the sky suddenly went black(server crashed) and after some time the Gods (GM's) appeared before those poor young shepherds and rained down fire and brimstone upon them. The Gods made them swear to never foul this entrance to this city again.
Names have been omitted to protect the innocent.. or the guilty as the case may be.
It is custom that a Magincian Bride and Groom - Wed on the Northern Beaches of the Mediterranean Isle - remove their shoes and allow the sands of their homeland to cover their feet. It emphasizes their shared heritage and promises that their sacred bond will never be broken.
Those to with to join in the celebration also remove their shoes. (Derived from the Wedding of Joanna Weaver and Athlon Isk.)
It is considered bad luck to give a child the same name as a deceased person known to the parents without permission. Umbrians believe that names are sacred and that the ghost of the deceased, offended by their presumption, will return and cause harm to the baby if their name is used lightly. Before naming a baby, the father will go around to everybody he knows and ask if the name has been given before - and, if it has, if he may use it again. (If the person in question was unpleasant or died under particularly traumatic circumstances, the name will be rendered taboo for many years.)
However, if permission is granted, naming a baby after a dead person is an enormous honour. Noble families often politically name their children to endear themselves to their peers; consequently, noble children can end up with a ridiculous number of middle names (the record is sixteen). Nobody is sure why this happens, because nothing can stop Umbrian nobles from killing each other and it doesn't quite seem worth the effort.
High-class Umbrian girls do not cut their hair or their fingernails after marriage. Long, unblemished nails are considered a sign of wealth and opulence, as it means that the woman has never had to do her own work. Some noblewomen of a certain age interweave their floor-length braids with the ribbons of their robes, and pay serving-girls to carry the train, which can reach several metres long, behind them as they walk. The disparaging term "patchwork princess" is a reference to the practice of buying hair from several different girls and interweaving it into one's own, which, when done less than skilfully, results in a motley braid consisting of several different shades of grey; elongating one's hair artificially like this is considered to be rather tacky.
Red is the colour of life, luck, and wealth. It is associated with blood, which is what separates the living Umbrian citizens from the dead, and is considered attractive. Back when Umbra was frequently at war with Luna, soldiers would daub themselves with grey paint to disguise themselves amidst the mindless zombies. They would wear a red article of clothing, a cloak or a scarf or a pair of gloves, to stop their own people from mistakenly using them for meat shields (a primary function of zombies). Umbrian culture is very military, and the red-and-grey colour scheme has become symbolic of fortune and patriotism; red is a popular choice for clothing, especially amongst women, and many citizens daub themselves grey with diluted charcoal solution in a show of solidarity, leading some tourists to believe that Umbrians are naturally grey-skinned.
The white hair is a natural racial feature; some citizens are born dark-haired, but the vast majority go grey by adolescence. (People who do not go grey are treated with suspicion and often accused of being part Lunarian.) After Malas was reconnected with the wider world, hair-dye became popular. Young men and women have developed a complex system of colours with various social meanings, which they refuse to explain to anybody because sixteen-year-old Umbrians are just as secretive and uncommunicative as sixteen-year-olds anywhere else.
Feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body in Umbra, and are very rarely washed because, due to the ever-present fine black dust that blows in from the desert, to do so would be a waste of water. On a lady's wedding day, her mother (or a close female relative) will wash her feet ceremoniously to symbolise her discarding her old baggage and starting afresh, and will paint the soles red with henna for luck.
Edit: Well, that turned out about three times longer than I intended. Sorry about that.
The dead are neither buried nor entombed in the lands south of the Serpents Spine. The Virtuous have long recognized the Touch of Mondain upon the Forest - a malignant force that causes dead men to rise from their graves and hunt down all the things he once loved - therefore the bodies of the dead are cremated. Their ashes are then consecrated and spread in the Sea of Easteros.
Witches - Magicians and Alchemists - were one executed for their abhorrant use of what the people of Trinsic perceived to be Demonic Powers. See the Corrupting Influence of Sosarian Magic. Alchemists and State Sactioned Thaumaturgists are now tolerated but with a hint of loathing. Sorcerers tend to be forced underground and those who take up the profession in earnest are often disowned.
It is custom for each man bearing a surname to design a Coat of Arms.
The Paladins of Trinsic participate in a dual crusade against the Undead Plague that has ravaged the Northern Cemetaries for decades and the Pagan Savages of the West.
The Papuans practice Ritual Scarification. Being worshippers of the Great Crocodile - upon whose ashes the Papuans believe the Creator made the World - the people attempt to imitate their patron through imitation.
Some believe the Papuans and the Savages share a common ancestral origin. Their Rituals. Their Religion. However Papuans are disgusted with the notion and refuse to acknowledge a shared heritage.
Zento Customs by Yalp of the Covenant of the Dark Moon.
The people of Zento believe it is a bad omen to have doors on your homes and shops. Being a land of warm breezes and pleasant weather, doors present unnecessary obstacles and draw suspicion on those that use them.
The people of Zento believe that it is a sign of great compassion to receive visitors at any hour of the day, and a sign of great disrespect to refuse to host someone that comes to your door. (private residences)
The people of Zento celebrate at the public sake fountain on the last and first day of every month. Gratitude for what was, and an honoring of what will be. It is considered extremely rude to be naked at this event! (hee. sorry Xel)
It is considered a sign of moral weakness to take more than your household needs from the public sake fountain on a daily basis.
Picking of the flowers in Zento is punishable by death.