A hvoir (Xynder: Hvöir [ˈθvøɪɾ], pl. Hvöiren "main tree") is a park centered around one or multiple ceremonially planted trees, called a hvoir tree or alternatively city tree, that are intended to be the focal point a settlement. Hvoir trees are renewed regularly every several years in a tree planting ceremony, traditionally to commemorate the founding of the city. Settlements may define their anniversary day to be "the day of the first tree planting ceremony" or set said ceremony to take place during the city's anniversary.
Tree planting as a traditional practice is prevalent in Rietic cultures although its ethnic groups treat hvoiren differently. A typical hvoir serves as a monument and a site for the town square. They may also become a place of worship; A number of hvoiren are considered sacred sites to several religions, and in Delism and some sects of folk Xynden religion, hvoiren are sites where they meditate as well as to wish for protection of the city and their people. Some cities may integrate or co-locate the hvoir into their temple or sermet, making it part of the site.
Tree Xynden (Kwang: Hi Ji Whoun 羲木蓋, Old Kwang: *hjỹ ri whuŋ) is the name of a Qonklese historical record written around the 7th century BCE during the reign of the Mor Dynasty. It recounts a Qonklese merchant who visits a town while he stayed in Xynden Island. There he met the eponymous hvoir caretaker, to whom the merchant learns about the hvoir; as described by the caretaker, "a towering, however lone tree in its heart" that serves as a place of meditation and remorse for their citizens. People of the town maintained the hvoir together, typically by watering the tree and the garden that encircles it.
Within the hvoir the two continued to converse. As both left the hvoir, the merchant invited the caretaker to travel by his ship to Qonklaks to plant a hvoir tree there with sapling retrieved from the caretaker's town.
Tree Xynden's hvoir is the earliest one known but which town it took place is unclear. Xynden popular belief places the hvoir at modern-day Helvey.
A simple, typical hvoir consists of three parts. The tree garden or simply hvoir garden is the innermost portion of the hvoir which contains the tree and the ground around it. This area is often decorated with plants, flowers or shrubs, and are always enclosed. Each tree has their own gardens and are separated from each other. When a hvoir has multiple trees, these are placed in an arranged manner, either symmetrical to each other or in a row.
Park hvoirs usually have only one hvoir tree. Surrounding the tree is a wide, open field of grass, symbolizing the people's strong connection with nature. This type of hvoir does not necessitate the use of intricately arranged "accompanying plants" and garden design and are the simplest.
Its lower maintenance cost and simple construction made hvoir parks commonplace among types of hvoirs, particularly in small cities and villages. Such hvoirs are often used as a local monument, and communal ceremonies such as marriage, mayor inauguration, and certain prayers take place in the park. Park hvoirs are sometimes, but more rarely, made into a local tourist site. Hvoir of Dukrone is one such rare example as it is the oldest known hvoir in the world.
Having always more than one hvoir tree, garden hvoirs are a hvoir whose concept was developed in Ancient Lugida on around the 5th century BCE, integrating few elements from Lugid gardens. Characterizing the garden hvoirs are its extensive use of "accompanying plants" and garden design, in which the plants including hvoir trees are planted in an intricate and ordered manner. Garden hvoir's main trees are planted carefully to ensure proximity between each other while keeping it at a safe distance to prevent possible cases of fire rapidly spreading to the other. As with park hvoirs, a field of grass is often built encircling the garden.
Most common "accompanying plants" include bushes, small trees, and notably, flowers. Accompanying plants are often ornamental, coupled with lesser quantity additions such as herbs and even vegetables and fruits. Edible plants are particularly popular for sale by modern-day hvoir keepers to fund the garden maintenance, since sale of flowers and other ornamental plants in the garden are otherwise traditionally prohibited or heavily discouraged.
Garden hvoir's high construction and maintenance cost originating mainly from the intricacy of plants' arrangements made it only used by few cities. Intricacy of garden hvoirs additionally made it often popular for recreation and to some extent co-function as tourist sites (see Role).
Candidate hvoir trees are selected from saplings of trees that meet certain criteria. This includes its lifespan, size, significance to the locals, and expected maintenance costs. Typical Hvoir trees have an average lifespan of 40 years and the height of 5 meters. Extreme examples exist, such as the old hvoir tree of Dukrone which is claimed to be three thousand years old and the hvoir of (some city) whose measured height reaches 30 meters. The selected tree would then have one of its saplings taken and be pre-maintained for upcoming ceremonies, typically for at least 10 days.
Selection of early hvoir trees are not as strict as modern-day hvoirs, largely as much of the hvoirs at the time use (some tree)s and knowledge for the measurement of tree lifespan was very limited. Some early hvoir trees are taken from already mature trees, in which such trees are designated and goes through a different ceremonial process.
The planting itself is preceded with a ceremony held in situ, attended by city builders and the founder, also bringing the chosen sapling to the site. Assuming the position of ceremony leader is the city founder. Planting ceremony begins with prayers to the spirits or other spiritual beings to wish good luck and prosperity for the city. Attendants then proceed to touch the sapling before planting, symbolizing the bond between the citizens and the tree. The hvoir sapling proceeds to be planted to the ground, thus marking the groundbreaking of the city—symbolizing the city's birth—and the hvoir garden. From this event the Xynder word for groundbreaking, Ohvöir, and its Lithian word counterpart Faigoneimoth, is originated – both of which literally translates to "tree planting".
Upon finishing tree planting, the land around the tree is treated differently according to the type of hvoir. In park hvoirs, land surrounding the tree is cleared to allow open space for grass field. Garden hvoirs have its surrounding area be gardened in accordance to the planned garden design, making it take longer to complete. Some of which have it be encircled by an open grass field in a similar manner to park hvoirs.
Any accompanying plants used for the hvoir follow height restrictions, in which plants other than hvoir trees can not be higher than around 1.2 meters, to avoid any plants from potentially blocking the view of Hvoir trees from eye level.
Hvoir tree planting symbolizes the city's birth, and the city construction and development symbolize the city's germination. Being the container of the city's history, honor, and pride, and where city festivals and ceremonies including marriage are often held, Hvoirs are considered highly valuable by its citizens and are designated as the traditional heart of the city. Hvoir trees are sometimes seen as the "protector of the city", and is a focal object of worship in Hvoirism whose origin is as old as the concept itself. Other representations of Hvoir trees and the gardens holding it include peace, prosperity, and unity – values prevalent in Soltennan symbolism.
Due to the great local significance of hvoir trees, its destruction warrants the city to a mourning and a minute of silence. In rarer cases if the said hvoir is that of the major city or the capital, mournings and a minute of silence is held nationally. One such example is during destruction of Natlia's hvoir trees caused by the 1947 bombing, initiating a wave of mournings across Lugida at the time whose participants even include Imperial soldiers and leaders.
A hvoir can have aesthetic, recreational, and ceremonial uses. To the citizens, their hvoir contains a historical value, described as "containing their memories of the past, present, and future." Hvoirs serve as the site for citizens to gather, socialize, relax, and to meditate, and as the traditional site for city-wide ceremonies and festivals. It also serves as the city monument – Hvoir trees are constantly maintained, and intentional destruction of the trees often result in the perpetrator's immediate arrest. Historically in extreme cases, the perpetrator is charged with a sentence equal to treason.
Intricate arrangement of plants along with its symbolic and historical significance made some hvoirs popular as tourist sites. Examples include the Hvoir of Dukrone and the Garden of Melon.