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Klingon Rituals & Traditions

This section will guide you through the fascinating aspects of Klingon rituals, traditions and ceremonies. All are listed in alphabetical manner and include hyper-links within the database itself. (More entries will be added later as time allows.)

A Adoption | Age of Ascension | Arbiter of Succession | Assassination
B Black Fleet
C Challenge Rituals | cha'Dich
D Death Howl | Death Related | Discommendation | Dishonourable Killings
F Fek'Ihr
G G'now juk Hol pajhard | Gre'thor
H Hegh'bat
J ja'chug | Jat'lyn | jinaq
L Laws and Justice
M Manhood Tradition | Mating Ceremony | Mauk-to 'Vor | MajQa | Mek'ba
Q Qab jIH nagil
R Rite of Passage | Rite of Succession | Ritualized Killing | Ritualized Suicide | Ruus'tai
S Sonchi | Sto-Vo-Kor
T Tea Ceremony | Tlinghan jIH

Adoption Ceremony

See listing under Ruus'tai for a more detailed description.

Age of Ascension Ceremony

This ritual, also known as the Klingon Rite of Passage, marks the attainment of a new level of spirituality for a Klingon warrior. First the ascendee proclaims "DaHjaj SuvwI'e' jiH. tIgwIj Sa'angNIS. Iw bIQtIq jIjaH." - Today I am a Warrior. I must show you my heart. I travel the river of blood. Then the ascendee walks between two rows of warriors who subject him or her to painsticks. The ascendee is expected to express his or her most profound feelings while under this extreme duress. The ceremony can be repeated as the warrior grows in maturity. Worf repeated the ceremony as a celebration of the ten year anniversary of his Age of Ascension.

Arbiter of Succession

This position is established by Klingon law. This individual is responsible for administering the Rite of Succession which involves the selection of a new Klingon High Council Leader. The Arbiter was responsible for selecting the challengers for leadership of the Council.


The assassin is considered to be an honorable profession. However, to carry out an honorable assassination, the assassin must show his or her face to the victim and they usually use a primitive simple weapon. The honorable assassin kills at close quarters.

Black Fleet

Reference to a Klingon afterlife by author John M. Ford in his novel The Final Reflection. When a Klingon dies an honourable death, they are believed to go on to serve in the Black Fleet, where they fight a continous battle against their most worthy foes.

Challenge Rituals

When a Klingon Warrior is accused by the Council, he has the right to challenge them. He presents evidence to the Council which then passes judgement. While being heard, the challenger appoints a cha'Dich (a second) who stands with him during the challenge or trial. Results of challenges can be exoneration, discommendation or even death.


The cha'Dich is an individual appointed by a warrior to stand with him during a ceremonial challenge or trial. The cha'Dich must defend the one challenged because he or she is denied the right of combat while accused. The cha'Dich is given a ritual knife and stands along side his warrior during the challenge.

Death Related

a) The Black Fleet
(according to John Ford in the novel The Final Reflection)

b) Fek'Ihr
Mythical Klingon beast that was the Guardian of Gre'thor.

c) Gre'thor
The place that the dishonored go when they die.

d) Klingon Death Ritual
A ceremony involving the death of a comrade. The fallen warrior's eyes were pried open and his comrades gathered around him. Then they "howl". This is a powerful howl that is not one of sorrow, but of victory for the fallen warrior. Klingons believe that the howl warns the dead that another Klingon warrior is about to arrive.

e) Klingon Death Howl
Part of the formal Klingon Death Ritual. (see above)

f) Jat'lyn
Klingon term for "spiritual possession". Translated it means, "The taking of the living by the dead".

g) Sto-Vo-Kor
Mythological place of Klingon afterlife.


The ritual shaming of a Klingon. When an individual receives discommendation, he or she is treated as if they didn't exist. The individual loses his or her honor and the family is disgraced for seven generations.

Dishonorable Killings

Klingon belief holds that an individual should show his face to an enemy when he or she kills them. To kill an individual from behind, with poison or with one's face concealed is considered dishonorable. The individual shows his or her face so that the dying warrior will know who to curse.


Literally translated as "The time to die", this is a Klingon ritualized suicide. When a Warrior can no longer stand and face his enemies, he brings himself an honorable death thru this ceremony. The eldest son of the individual, or a close friend would bring a ceremonial knife to the warrior who would plunge it into his or her chest. The son or friend would then remove the knife and wipe it on their sleeve.

Laws and Justice

a) Mek'ba
The Mek'ba is the name given to that part of a trial or challenge in which evidence is presented. The Mek'ba has strict rules for the presentation of evidence and for the conduct of both the accused and the accuser (much like Terran courts).

b) G'now juk Hol pajhard
Klingon law of Heredity. A son shall share in the honors or shame of his father.

Manhood Tradition

A Klingon youth was considered a man on the day he could first hold a blade.

Mating Ceremony

a) Selection and commitment to a mate
The words "jIH dok" (my blood) are spoken to one's mate and the mate replies "maj dok" (our blood). This exchange seals a marriage vow.

b) Tlinghan jIH
These words complete the oath between husband and wife during their marriage ceremony. It translates as " I am a Klingon".

c) jinaq
This is a traditional amulet studded with jewels that is given to a Klingon daughter when she is old enough to take a mate.

Mauk-to 'Vor

Ritual killing of an individual so that his honor can be restored.

Rite of Passage

Another term for the Klingon Age of Ascension Ceremony.

Rite of MajQa

This rite is similar to practices of Terran primative cultures in which an individual is subjected to either drug or extreme hardship to induce visions. In the Rite of MajQa, the Klingon meditates in the lava caves of No' Mat. The long exposure to the heat produces a hallucinatory effect. The visions seen by the individual are considered very important. Special significance is attached to any visions of one's father.

Rite of Succession

This is the process by which a new Klingon High Council leader is chosen. First the Sonchi was performed, next the Arbiter of Succession chooses the challengers for the position of Council Leader and then the two strongest challengers would fight for the position.

a) Sonchi Formal certification of the death of the previous leader.

b) Arbiter of Succession see link for a more detailed description

c) Qab jIH nagil
Translated this means " Face me if you dare". This was a ritual challenge made during the Sonchi in which a contender for the position of leader would challenge his rivals.

d) ja'chug
An ancient aspect of the Rite of Succession. In the ja'chug, the candidates would list their victories in battle, the prizes they had won, and their prowess in battle to make their claim for the Leadership of the council. It was considered obsolete because it was so time-consuming.

Ritualized Killing

Also known as the Mauk-to 'Vor

Ritualized Suicide

Also known as the Hegh'bat


The R'uustai is a ceremony in which two individuals bond together to become brothers or sisters. It is a solemn ceremony which includes the lighting of ceremonial candles, the wearing of warrior's sashes and intonations honoring the individual's mothers.

Tea Ceremony

This is a ceremony to test one's bravery. In this ritual, two friends share poisoned tea served on a tray decorated with simple flowers. This ceremony gives the friends a chance to share each other's mortality and to remind them that death is an experience best shared - like the tea.


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