|Leeta, a Bajoran female (2374)|
|Vedek Bareil Antos, a Bajoran male (2371)|
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; Arbiter Els Renora stated her age to be such, though she looked and acted as a healthy 21st century Human in her seventies. (DS9: "Dax") Given her apparent good health, it is quite possible Bajorans lived even longer.
Ancient Bajor Edit
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 was 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") Prior to the Cardassian occupation, Bajorans followed a strict system of castes, known as D'jarras. (DS9: "Accession")
Cardassian Occupation Edit
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. Almost everywhere, they remained separated from other peoples, living under the poorest circumstances, in refugee camps like those on Valo II.
Independent Bajor Edit
In 2369, after forty years of terrorism by the Resistance, the Cardassians finally withdrew from Bajor. As the Occupation had left Bajor devastated and politically fragile, the newly formed Provisional Government requested Federation support. Starfleet established joint administration with the Bajoran Militia over the former Cardassian space station Terok Nor, which was renamed Deep Space 9. Bajor also applied for Federation membership, which was accepted five years later, in 2373. However, the Chamber of Ministers voted to defer membership after the Emissary Benjamin Sisko warned that Bajor would be destroyed, unless it stood alone. The Federation remained hopeful that Bajor would one day join. (DS9: "Emissary", "Rapture")
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: "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 Edit
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 came to be known as 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 also Edit
See main article: Bajoran language
Culture and society Edit
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.
Funerary customs Edit
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")
Holidays and festivals Edit
Food and beverages Edit
- 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
Parallel universes Edit
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 the Bajorans thought that Starfleet had been using it to spy on them. The next day, the same Bajoran ship attacked the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain William T. Riker, causing damage to the Enterprise's 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")
See also Edit
See also Edit
- All episodes
- Star Trek films:
Background information Edit
Name and concept Edit
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) Kira actress 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")
After the Bajoran backstory was originally developed by Rick Berman and Michael Piller while they wrote "Ensign Ro", the depictions of the species continued to evolve on Deep Space Nine. That series portrayed the Bajorans as having a highly religious culture, a contrast to the atheistic, secular humanism evident in Gene Roddenberry's view of the Federation. "I don't think it goes against Gene. He's still with us [mentally] [...] as we think about these conceptual issues," Piller explained. "I don't think it would bother him one bit [....] What we have done in creating an environment that will bring conflict to our people, which we want desperately to do, was put them with a group of aliens who are different. Giving the Bajorans a strong spiritual, mystical orb and prophet worship forces our people to deal with another alien race that is as different from us as are the Klingons." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 20 & 22)
One of the earliest DS9 details which was revealed to the majority of Star Trek: The Next Generation's writing staff (those writers who weren't involved in the early development of Deep Space Nine) was that the new series would largely focus on the Bajorans. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 222)
Ira Steven Behr was pleased with how the Bajorans are developed in DS9: "The Storyteller", approving of the way they are depicted as religiously unusual compared to the Federation. Behr said of the installment, "It [...] gives a nice little feel for the Bajorans." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 102)
The nationalism evident in Bajoran characters including Major Kira Nerys was appealing to Quark actor Armin Shimerman, since he felt this issue was prevalent in Star Trek's production base of Los Angeles. "We had our riots because neighbourhoods felt that they weren't getting a fair share of the wealth of Los Angeles, and there's the Bajorans who are fighting because they're not getting a fair share of what they think they deserve," said Shimerman. "That's very intrinsic to the life we live in Los Angeles, so when it's represented on television, I feel for that." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 55) Similarly, the Bajoran racism exhibited in DS9: "Duet" changed Nana Visitor's perspective, as she had been "familiar with" the issue of racism but had "never had to deal with it in any real way." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 64)
Bajoran spirituality was further explored in DS9 Season 1 finale "In the Hands of the Prophets". "I think it enables us, as a specific television series, to explore the Bajoran spiritual life, which we haven't done too much of," opined Ira Steven Behr. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 56) The season ender established a basis for much of what viewers later came to understand of the Bajoran political/religious system. Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe suspected that some of that evolved from him having had a Catholic upbringing, though even more came from him having an interest in history. "The system isn't specifically Catholic as we think of Catholicism today," he reasoned. "It's fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Catholicism, when the pope held much more of a political office than now, and when the Medicis and the Borgias and the French kings and every other powerful family in southern Europe was fighting to get their guy to be pope." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 68) Ira Steven Behr offered, "We're dealing with the fact that Bajor is a culture where people basically vote for their pope and sleep with their priests. I think it's just fascinating." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 75)
The DS9 writing staff hoped to continue establishing the Bajorans in the second season of the show. "We're going to do a lot of things with the Bajorans and their spiritual and political sides," Ira Steven Behr promised. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 108) One Season 2 episode which demonstrates the plight of the Bajorans was "Sanctuary", in which their argument for refusing the Skrreea a home on Bajor was meant to be portrayed sympathetically. "The Bajorans [....] have a very serious problem," Michael Piller mused about the episode. "They have an economy that is broken and problems of their own, and how do you take care of a whole new group of people when you need to take care of yourself?" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 66) At the end of Season 2, Behr summarized, "In the course of the year we've made the Bajorans much more interesting than they were in the beginning of the series." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 98)
During the final couple of seasons of The Next Generation, the TNG writing staff was encouraged to bring Bajoran characters aboard the Enterprise. This was an attempt to essentially reinforce the reality of Deep Space Nine and help weave the fabric of the Star Trek fictional universe together, though the TNG writers obviously also had to avoid contradicting what was being established on DS9. ("Lower Decks" audio commentary, TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)
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) Westmore agreed. "Part of the reason the Bajoran makeup's so... spare," explained René Echevarria, "is because [...] he said, 'Well, this is a pretty gal; I don't wanna cover up her face with putting some elaborate prosthetic on her forehead.'" ("Preemptive Strike" audio commentary, TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)
The Bajoran 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 Michael Westmore and Rick 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)
When Nana Visitor was auditioning for the role of Kira Nerys, the idea of the Bajoran make-up was introduced to her. She later remembered, "Rick Berman told me, 'At least the prosthetic is one of the least we have.' And I said, 'What prosthetic?' And he said, 'It's nothing. It's just a small elephant nose that you wear.' He had me going for five seconds." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 38) Once Visitor started playing Kira but had an accident that caused minor injury to her back, the ER doctor's prognosis was influenced by the fact Visitor was in full Bajoran make-up and costume at the time, despite the actress believing her wound wasn't serious. "The doctor said, 'Well, in that case, I think we better get you to X-Ray right away to check out that broken nose.' He was a good emergency room doctor, but didn't know Bajorn anatomy as well as Bashir," quipped Visitor. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 103)
According to Frances Praksti, the Bajoran nose prosthetic "took about an hour" to be applied and was extremely comfortable to wear thereafter. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 51-52)
A crowd of Bajorans had to be depicted in DS9: "The Storyteller", about which David Livingston noted, "We had thirty extras." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 51) He also stated, "There were a lot of people–not enough people, actually." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 48)
For the foreground of a matte painting of Bajor in DS9: "Cardassians", Illusion Arts, Inc. staff were filmed as Bajorans, strolling along a path. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 72) Two similarly miniaturized-on-screen Bajorans, Dekon Elig and Ches'sarro Seeto, were "played" by Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry. For the former role, Bajoran nose wrinkles were digitally added by DS9 Scenic Artist Doug Drexler. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 25)
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."
The Bajorans join the Federation in the novel Unity.