|Leeta, a Bajoran female (2374)|
|Vedek Bareil Antos, a Bajoran male (2371)|
Bajorans resembled Humans in appearance, and were distinguished by a series of four to seven horizontal creases across their noses. Bajorans also featured light and dark skinned variants, although the dark skinned Bajorans appeared to be a very small minority. (DS9: "The Homecoming") The Bajoran heart was mirrored along a horizontal axis, unlike the Human heart, which is mirrored along a vertical axis. A puncture in the lower ventricle of the heart would cause instantaneous death. Bajoran women gestated for only five months, forming an intricate network of blood vessels between the mother and the fetus. During the pregnancy, Bajoran women were frequently afflicted by bouts of uncontrollable sneezing. (TNG: "Descent"; DS9: "A Man Alone", "Body Parts", "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places") Bajorans had a lifespan of at least 100 years; as arbiter Els Renora stated her age to be such, and looked and acted as a healthy 21st century human in her seventies (DS9: "Dax"). Given her apparent good health, it is quite possible they lived even longer.
In the 24th century, Bajoran civilization stretched back more than half a million years. The ancient Bajorans were renowned for their accomplishments in science, mathematics, philosophy, and the arts. The greatest of these early Bajoran civilizations was the First Republic, which flourished between 20,000 and 25,000 years ago. During this time, magnificent cities such as B'hala were built.
The next great phase of Bajoran civilization began approximately 10,000 years ago, when the first of the Tears of the Prophets were discovered above Bajor. These artifacts ushered in a new era of spiritual connection with the Bajoran gods, the Prophets. By the 16th century, the Bajorans had developed sublight space travel and were exploring their home star system with solar-sail spacecraft. Some Bajoran explorers even reached the Cardassian system, several light years away. This period came to an end with the annexation of Bajor by Cardassia sometime before 2319. (TNG: "Ensign Ro"; DS9: "Rapture", "Emissary", "Explorers")
The Occupation of Bajor (usually simply referred to as the Occupation) was a period from 2328 to 2369 during which the Bajoran homeworld of Bajor was under the control of the Cardassian Union. During the Occupation, the Cardassians perpetrated a coordinated scheme of strip-mining, forced labor, and genocide across the planet. The Occupation gave rise to the fierce Bajoran Resistance, which used guerrilla and terror tactics to eventually force the Cardassians to withdraw. Many Bajorans also fled the occupation and settled on planets all over the known galaxy, but almost everywhere they remained separated from other peoples, living under the poorest circumstances in refugee camps like those on Valo II.
In 2369, after over forty years of domination over Bajor, the Cardassians finally left, no longer willing to stand against the relentless terrorism of the Bajoran Resistance. As the Bajorans established an independent government, the United Federation of Planets moved into the system and, along with the Bajoran military, established joint control of Terok Nor, a mining station, which they renamed Deep Space 9. Bajor applied for Federation membership in 2373, but retracted their application at the last moment because their Emissary told them this would be disastrous for Bajor. The two governments maintained a cordial relationship, however.
Prior to the beginning of the Dominion War in 2373, Bajor signed a nonaggression pact with the Dominion, choosing to remain neutral. This saved Bajor from coming under the rule of another foreign power when the Dominion captured Deep Space 9 later in the year. Bajor finally joined the fight against the Dominion in 2374 after the Allies recaptured Deep Space 9 in Operation Return. The Bajorans continued to fight against the Dominion until 2375, when the Treaty of Bajor was signed on Deep Space 9. Following the war, Bajor resumed its attempts to become a member of the United Federation of Planets. (DS9: "Emissary", "Rapture", "Call to Arms", "Sacrifice of Angels", "What You Leave Behind")
Following the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, the interim Bajoran Provisional Government was set up to administer the planet and its various colonies. Bajoran politics is balanced between the secular Chamber of Ministers, led by the First Minister, and the religious Vedek Assembly, led by the kai. It is possible for one individual to be both the kai and the first minister simultaneously, as Winn Adami was for several weeks in 2371. (DS9: "Shakaar")
Religion and spirituality
See main article: Bajoran religion
Bajorans have a deeply spiritual society, and the Bajoran religion is a major unifying force on the planet; the spiritual leader, or kai, wields a great deal of moral and political authority, advising and influencing the planet's political leader, the First Minister. The kai is chosen from a council of vedeks, the title given to Bajoran religious leaders. Other religious titles are ranjen and prylar. The Bajoran religion is based upon the revelations of the Prophets, who come to be known as the timeless beings residing in the Bajoran wormhole, or as it is called by the Bajorans, the Celestial Temple. Since Starfleet officer Benjamin Sisko was the first to make contact with them, he is acclaimed by the Bajoran spiritual leadership as the Emissary of the Prophets. Part of the Bajoran religion involves the use of the Tears of the Prophets, reality-distorting energy orbs produced by the Prophets. Several of these were stolen by the Cardassians during the Occupation, though a number have been recovered.
See main article: Bajoran language
Culture and society
Bajoran culture and customs are closely tied with Bajor's religious beliefs.
The traditional Bajoran birthing ceremony is attended by the woman's family and a midwife. The objective of the ritual is to induce complete relaxation through a combination of breathing exercises, rhythmic percussion music and incense, allowing the woman to give birth without pain. However, the birth must take place in a certain period of time, or the level of endorphins within the mother's system will build to toxic levels.
The Bajorans generally bury their deceased in graves marked with a decorated arch. Bajoran funeral rites can be quite elaborate; for example, the Bajoran death chant is over two hours long. However, the preservation of the body itself is not of particular significance to the Bajorans, who believe that after death a person's pagh joins the Prophets in the Celestial Temple, leaving only an empty shell. To mourn the death of a loved one, Bajorans light duranja lamps. (DS9: "Shakaar", "Indiscretion", "Ties of Blood and Water")
Bajor, as an advanced society, was well-known for its music both before, and after, the Occupation. The Jalanda Forum was a popular performance venue. The belaklavion was a Bajoran musical instrument.
Holidays and festivals
Food and beverages
- Bajoran shrimp
- Deka tea
- Hasperat souffle
- Jumja stick
- Jumja tea
- Kava juice
- Koganka pudding
- Larish pie
- Mapa bread
- Moba fruit
- Synthale or Bajoran ale
- Tuwaly pie
In the mirror universe, the Bajorans were a race conquered by the Terran Empire. They were liberated by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and became leading members. Some, however, joined the Terran Rebellion. (DS9: "Crossover", "The Emperor's New Cloak")
In another quantum reality, the Bajorans had overthrown the Cardassian Union prior to 2370 and had become increasingly aggressive towards the Federation. On Stardate 47391.2, a Bajoran warship destroyed the Argus Array as they thought that Starfleet was using it to spy on them. The next day, the same ship attacked the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain William T. Riker, causing damage to its power systems. The warship later disengaged after the appearance of approximately 285,000 near duplicate Enterprises which appeared following a series of quantum incursions into that reality. (TNG: "Parallels")
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Name and Concept
The introduction of the Bajorans in TNG: "Ensign Ro" seemed to suggest that the episode's writers, TNG Executive Producers Rick Berman and Michael Piller, sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians. "The Bajorans are the PLO but they're also the Kurds, the Jews, and the American Indians," Piller responded. "They are any racially bound group of people who have been deprived of their home by a powerful force [....] When you talk about a civilization like the Bajorans who were great architects and builders with enormous artistic skills centuries before humans were even standing erect, you might be thinking a lot more about Indians than Palestinians." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, p. 38 & 43) Berman, discussing "Ensign Ro", similarly emphasized that the Bajorans were not modeled on any particular real-life group; "The Kurds, the Palestinians, the Jews in the 1940s, the boat people from Haiti – unfortunately, the homeless and terrorism are problems [in every age]." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
Regarding parallels between the Bajorans and real-world cultures, Ronald D. Moore commented, "Depending on the episode, you could also call Bajor Israel, or Iran, or even America and the Cardassians could be Germans, or Russians or several other examples. While these parallels do enter our discussions and sometimes are more overt than others, we don't really try to make Bajor a direct analogy to any specific contemporary country or people. Blending the experiences of many Earth peoples and races into our storytelling allows us to comment on these subjects without advocating a particular political point of view, while at the same time allowing us to view the topics in a different light without the baggage of contemporary politics." (AOL chat, 1997)
As Bajorans are provided with much-needed blankets in "Ensign Ro", Jonathan Frakes jokingly referred to the group as "the people who needed towels." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, p. 43) Nana Visitor compared the strong Bajoran women with the Celtic women who fought along with their men. (DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys")
Judging by Akorem Laan's familiarity with the Cardassians in "Accession", it seems that the Bajorans knew about, or had contact with, the Cardassians by at least the 22nd century. This is consistent with ENT: "Observer Effect", which establishes that the Cardassians engaged in interstellar space travel prior to 2154.
Michael Westmore's inspiration for the Bajoran makeup came from Rick Berman, who, after hiring Michelle Forbes to play Ro Laren on TNG, told Westmore, "We've hired a pretty girl and I want to keep her that way. Think of something that we can take and make her look a little alien, and still get the idea she's from another planet, but she's still gorgeous." (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season One, DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) The nose design was partly "influenced" by Dave Rossi, who had accidentally damaged the original plaster casts by strapping them down on his bicycle while transporting them between Westmore and Berman. Westmore repaired the damage and used some of the indentations caused by the strap to add to the design. (Star Trek Magazine issue 123)
According to the DS9 Pocket Books novel Warpath, the Bajora were an "ethnic subgroup" who "became a nation-state, and eventually dominated the planet culturally and economically, subsuming other ethnic identities. Thousands of years later, despite the persistence of regional and ethnic variation among the people of Bajor, they now share a common identity as Bajorans."