A tuhuir is a Vegan cultural instiution and froms the primary method by which Vegans socially organize themselves, one of the prime features of sentience.
The tuhuir can be described as a culture, philosophy, or tao. It is a pervasive mindset. Some human cultural sociologists describe a tuhuir as a tribe, clan, or even a family mentality, but all of those human terms come a little short of the far more unified mindset that the members of a tuhuir share. While tuhuir do argue and even occasionally fight (...and require mediation to compromise), the Vegans possess a racial unity and like-mindedness that few other sophonts can match.
Vegan society is divided into hundreds of different tuhuir, which might be roughly translated as a culture, philosophy, or Tao. Each tuhuir has its own customs and traditions and its own interpretation of the proper way to live.
Tuhuir Search: Tuhuir are not hereditary; when a Vegan nears sexual maturity, he or she enters a period of search, which may last for many years. Eventually, the individual chooses a tuhuir; once made, the choice is for life.
In practice, about half of of all Vegans join the tuhuir of their parents, the exact percentage varies with each tuhuir; about 0.5% find that they enjoy the search as a way of life and never join a tuhuir.
There are three primary types of tuhuir:
1. Civil Service tuhuir
The civil service which governs the Vegan District is a tuhuir which oversees and mediates among all the other tuhuir.
2. Tuhuir "Interest Clubs"
The vast majority of tuhuir consist of "Interest Clubs" that are organized around interests, philosophies, cultures, religions, lifestyles, scientific pursuits, and the like.
They bear a vague similarity to the Hiver practice of forming committees or "Interest Clubs" although with a far more long-standing nature than the chaos and transitory nature of Hiver social groupings.
3. Rebellious tuhuir
Although rare, heretical and rebellious tuhuir have been known to exist.
History & Background (Dossier)
Archeology shows that the tuhuir were once separate societies, each associated with a particular geographic location, like countries on ancient Earth. Now, however, they are mixed together in complex patterns.
Despite years of study, few humans truly understand the nature of the tuhuir. The Vilani of the First Imperium saw the tuhuir as an equivalent of their own caste system, and attempted to place restrictions on the Vegans that were similar to caste-based restrictions on themselves. This led to extensive Vegan passive resistance against Vilani bureaucrats posted to their worlds, followed by the Vilani informally allowing the Vegans to administer their own affairs on their planets.