Hobaism is a native religion of Hobrazia and is the co-state religion along with the Hobrazian Orthodox Church. It was also one of two state religions in Darnussia, once again alongside the the Hobrazian Orthodox Church.
Hobaism is an ancient native Hobrazian religion based around the belief in the Lord Hoba and the Spirits of the Land. Hoba is taken from the ancient Hobrazian Hob-A (pronounced Aŕ) meaning Land God (Hob in ancient Hobrazian being land and Aŕ being God or Spirit).
Modern Hobaism, as practiced throughout Hobrazia, as well as some other Countries within the Hobrazian sphere of influence, both past and present, is actually a combination of two differing religions that came together some 3000 years ago when the first Deltarians arrived on Hobrazian shores. As explained in the ancient Hobrazian history, the ancient Deltarians belief in their God Hoba translated perfectly into the religion of the Hobratz whose belief in the Spirits of the Land, or roughly translated, the Hob-A, merely provided a catalyst for the birth of the extended modern religion, with the Lord Hoba (pronounced with a soft a) presiding over the many Hob-A.
The modern Hobaists believe that the Lord Hoba created the world, the planets and all life in order to provide a home for the Hob-A. The Hob-A in turn, through their love of the land and of all life upon Terra helped shape Man in the image of the Lord Hoba in order to bring joy to Him. He in turn raises both Man and Hob-A through following His teachings to share in everlasting enlightenment by his side.
Reaching Enlightenment Edit
In order to gain this enlightened state Hobaists believe that they must teach all peoples the way of Truth. This is laid out through the Teachings of the book of A (pronounced Aŕ), although few modern Hobaists believe that the text is a literal translation as doing so would require that all other religions, which are commonly referred to as false or mistaken religions (depending upon how staunch the believer), be suppressed in order for the teachings of the Lord Hoba to be learned and understood. The standard teaching of the modern Hobaist religion actually accepts the beliefs of other religions and takes the position that those religions are there as a necessary guide for people to move toward the True Path and the Lord Hoba. This might take many lifetimes for a person to reach enlightenment, but through following even mistaken religions shows a willingness on the part of the person to accept a greater knowledge into their heart and so allows them, in time, to accept the teachings of the Lord Hoba and the Hob-A.
The belief in land and spirituality is crucial to the belief system of the Hobaists. There are a number of religious festivals within Hobaism, three of which are directly related to the land. The most important, and one that is most often enjoyed by those who are not believers, is the celebration of the New Year. Most Hobaist celebrations last over several days, and the celebration of the New Year is no exception.
In ancient times this celebration would be the one time when all the Hobratz tribes would meet and join together in joyous bounty to welcome the New Year and to learn from each other of the successes, and failures, of the past. Great songs would be sung and copious amounts of food and drink shared, with each tribe bringing at least one specialty food with them to join the celebration.
The high point of the celebration would be the burning of a Sacred Tree from the Sacred Forest. The tree was always the largest tree that could be cut and transported, itself a feat of monumental proportions with many historians still unsure of exactly how it was accomplished in ancient times due to the size of the tree and the distance it was carried.
The Sacred Forest, near the village of Krupskaya (20 miles outside of the current City of New Krupskaya), was where the tree was cut and would be brought to the centre of Hobratz community life (near what is now Astoria City). The tree, a Hobrazian Oak, would have been roughly 50 – 60ft high and almost 10ft in diameter (the largest single plant to grow in Hobrazia) and would be prepared almost 2 weeks in advance of the celebration.
On the night of the 28th December all of the Tribes would gather around the Tree and pour on the ashes of the previous years celebration (this is to show the lifecycle, with both life and death as one and the belief that the mixture of life and death as one would help with the rebirth of the land and to show the interconnectivity of one life to another).
Once this was completed, the Head of the Hobaist Faith, the Skayalast (pronounced SkayA-last or Sacred Teacher), would read from the book of A before lighting the tree which would burn throughout the celebration (whether the tree would last the whole 10 days is never made clear. Hobaist believers say that the Hob-A made it so it would last, thus the size of the tree, whilst some skeptics, whilst agreeing that the fire itself lasted the full 10 days, say that further fuel must have been added and point to the recordings of a Skayauni, or Sacred Man, that further logs were added to the fire, although these reports have never been verified).
During the celebration, the main thrust of the feasting was to promote a ‘togetherness’ between the differing tribes and for each tribe to teach each other of the new skills they had learned (a major tenet of Hobaist life is that of sharing knowledge to quicker gain the wisdom for enlightenment) be they improved farming techniques, or better hunting skills, or even something as simple as an easier way of producing arrows for hunting bows or, in regards children, new games to play.
Another large part of the celebration, which is still to be found in modern Hobrazia, although it has been expanded into a larger tournament, was the playing of Hastall, or Hunting Ball (ball is not a direct translation however the exact translation has, sadly, been lost over time).
Celebratory Games Edit
Hastall is a game played by opposing sides of up to 9 players. Each player is armed with a club made by tying straw or long grass together to form a fairly solid, though slightly padded, weapon. This weapon can be used to either hit or throw at an opposing player, although if thrown the weapon can be picked up by that player thusly arming them twice. Their opposite number is disarmed until such time that they can retrieve a new club from an opposing player.
A club may only be used against an opposing player should they have the ball and it may only be used to strike a player either above the waist or below the ankle. They chase a large wooden ball hewn from a tree and must hit, throw, or kick the ball through an opposing teams “goal”. A goal is similar to a rugby goal, with the ball being either thrown/kicked/hit over the crossbar or into the lower section. ½ a point is awarded for over the goal with 1 point being awarded for in the goal.
The reason for the increased score for the lower goal is due to it being protected by a specialised player (modern parlance would be Goal Keeper, although the original name has been lost through time). This player, like the others, is armed with a straw club, however there is no limitation as to when the club may be used (either against a player with or without the ball). This makes this player an extremely dangerous adversary.
The modern version of the game is similar, although the major difference is the change from the wooden ball into a leather one (making kicking easier and interceptions less dangerous) and improved padding on the clubs in order to make the game safer, although there are still many injuries reported each year. At the end of this celebration each tribal leader collects a small amount of the ash from the burned Sacred Tree and this is taken back to the village to be replaced onto the tree the following year.
The modern version of this celebration is much less grandiose with many families preferring to celebrate within the family group rather than uniting as a spiritual whole with each family burning a smaller log cut from a Sacred Tree and collecting the ash for the next year, although a central burning ceremony is still held each year near Astoria Haven in Astoria City.
Many families still split the collected ash between members of that family to provide a link between them whilst they are apart with some mixing ash remains with others after marriage to bring the two families together.
Hobaism and the Family Edit
The family, as can be seen above, is an important element to Hobaists and Hobaism. Through the growth of the family, and the caring and nurturing of each member of the family, more is learned of the nature of life than would be possible alone so each member brings the others closer to enlightenment through their shared knowledge and experience.
Within Hobaist families there is no differentiation between male and female roles, with each caring for each other and any children and/or grandchildren as much as any other member of the family, or in many cases community. Hobaist communities are often very tightly knit groups with people knowing the business of each other and the free sharing of knowledge and information in order to guide the others toward enlightenment.
Collective Worship Edit
Within Hobaism there is no form of directed form of collective worship. Each person is expected to find enlightenment their own way and, unlike religions such as Hosianism or Ahmadism, there is no central building in which to worship. Hobaists only tend to congregate in large numbers for collective worship during festivals and celebrations and during such periods there is no requirement to “pray” to the Lord Hoba or the Hob-A as their actions through caring for each other or educating each other lead them to enlightenment.
Hobaists believe that every person’s journey is different and that collective worship merely attempts to control a person’s journey to enlightenment, which is impossible to do and so wastes time. They do, however, teach their children of the ways of Hoba through the book of A when they are young and so many families request that their local Skayauni visit them to educate their young in the ways of the Lord Hoba, should they feel it necessary.
New Hob-A Edit
Most families do, however, have a small shrine somewhere in their house to give thanks to their Hob-A. It is believed that there could be as many as 2000 accepted Hob-A already within the Hobaist religion as each Hob-A is merely the Spirit with which that area of land is controlled by.
In order for a Hob-A to be accepted a visitation by either a Skayauni or the Skayalast themselves must must take occur to the place where it is believed a new Hob-A has been found. It often takes many days for a new Hob-A to be confirmed, or denied, veracity during which period the Skayauni will be in a deep trance and will speak to no-one, often not eating or drinking anything, whilst attempting to commune with the Hob-A.
If a new Hob-A is indeed confirmed then its name (usually derived from the place in which it originates) is recorded within a Sacred Totem and kept within the only building that the Hobaists find even remotely holy (it is a small structure inside the Sacred Forest). This information is then released to the public and is usually met by much merriment and celebration, with further feasting and games played to celebrate.
Hobaist Holidays Edit
As mentioned above, there are four major celebratory periods, each lasting up to 10 days.
The Festival of Fertility (March 25th – April 5th) Edit
This is where Hobaists celebrate the coming of the new season and ask the Hob-A for a fertile crop and animals for food. It is often finalised with the pouring of drink upon the ground so as to allow the Hob-A to join with the celebrations and to thank them for past and future blessings.
Midsummer (20th June-30th June) Edit
A celebration of the time when the Sun is at its highest and the days at their longest. During this time the people have the longest ability to hunt for food and made it easier to care for their animals and crops. To this end they thank the Lord Hoba and the Hob-A for the provisions they gave. If the food was scarce, they would use this time to ask the Lord Hoba and the Hob-A what it is they could do better to please them, and again furnished the Hob-A with drink (and occasionally food) in order for them to join the festivities.
Feast for the dead (30th October-9th November) Edit
The feast for the dead allows the Hobaists the only time of year where they can communicate directly with their ancestors and so, hopefully, allow them to share with the living what they had learned before death in order for them to have reached enlightenment, or should they not have arrived at that point yet, to encourage them to return to Terra to learn from the living what they need to finally reach that final point.
Many outside observers have often reported strange occurrences during this period. Though many modern beliefs look toward this time as one to fear, the Hobaists believe that it is a time for great rejoicing.
New Year (28th December-6th January) Edit
As described in detail above. Many outsiders looking in on the Hobaist religion often do not understand the spiritual nature of these celebrations, instead seeing those involved as merely gorging themselves on food and drink, but the Hobaists believe that it is through these celebrations that one learns to enjoy life and so allows them to learn what else is required to move on to the next level of enlightenment.
New Hobaism and The Cult of B’stard Edit
In more recent times (approximately 200-300 years) a new group has emerged within the Hobaist communities and has been gaining strength year-on-year.
Commonly referred to as ‘The Cult of B’stard’ its beginnings are somewhat mysterious. It is believed that the Cult originated soon after the death of Alan B’stard, long time leader of the We Say So! Party and Chancellor of Hobrazia on more than one occasion. Shortly before his death he wrote a book which was his belief on how to live a better life and how government and the people should work hand-in-hand to provide for all through freedom and equality whilst guaranteeing security.
The book, which was handed out freely to We Say So! Party members, soon began to gain a cult following within the Party, with many notable Party Majesters following the doctrine laid out by Alan. This popularity soon expanded outside of the Party, whilst within many higher echelon members, who were also Hobaists, began to see a link between the words Alan had written and their own belief of ensuring as many people as possible reached enlightenment. It was agreed by many members at this time that the words Alan had written, unbeknownst to him, were actually him reaching enlightenment and that the Lord Hoba, acting through him, was trying to help those down on Terra and show them the correct path to enlightenment.
Many Hobaists following the more traditional path point out that this is impossible as ones journey to enlightenment is different for each person and so the book could not be a guide to reaching enlightenment as that would require that all should follow the same path, but those who follow the Cult merely point out that, like the book of A, this is just another way of helping guide people toward the path, but that they must still make that journey themselves.
It was agreed by the early Cult members that though Alan himself was not a Hob-A, how could he be he was a Man; he was still a profit and teacher, even though he did not state he was at any point during his life. To this end he has become known as The One True Voice. Within the belief of the Cult members, whenever the One True Voice is mentioned they pay respect to Alan in helping guide them by repeating the words “Alan be Praised”. They believe that in doing so they acknowledge the debt they owe to Alan in helping them in their journey toward enlightenment.
More recently, in Darnussia, a notable Hobaist writer and Cult member, by the name of Keith (last name unknown), translated the Hobrazian writings of Alan into Darnussian. In deference to this work many Hobaists who follow the path of the One True Voice in Darnussia have introduced a new title for Keith – “The Speaker of the Sacred Word” and often Praise Keith in the same way as they would Alan. This title has now been carried throughout this “new” Hobaism to any person who translates the teachings of the One True Voice, Alan be Praised, into other Countries.