The Air Nomads is a collective term for a nation of people who practice the discipline of Airbending, known as the Airbenders. The Air Nomads are wanderers by definition, but have four Air Temples, one at each corner of the globe, hidden away atop mountain ranges in the northern mountains of The Land of Earth and on three remote islands. The Air Nomads were home to a monastic order of men and women who practiced Airbending. Unlike the other Nations, the people of the Air Nomads were, without any seen exception, all benders due to the high level of spirituality of their people, giving them a near supernatural connection to the Spirit World.
The Air Nomads are a peaceful race with cultural and spiritual practices that closely mirror real world Tibetan Buddhism. The Air Nomads lived in large temples and traveled the world on flying bison. They were the most spiritual of all the cultures and lived in harmony with nature. They also were fun-loving and had a strong sense of humor.
Their economy is based entirely off of self sustaining agriculture. Population of the Air Nomads is small, in total numbering around the same as the Water Tribes.
The Air Nomads wear yellow, orange, and brown clothing. Young Airbenders wear orange shawls over long-sleeved yellow shirts, an orange sash, double-layered pants with brown underneath and a loose yellow layer on top, and high boots that reach just below the knees. Older monks wear long robes in shades of yellow and orange. Most Air Nomads have gray or brown eyes and a light complexion.
Young boys to be trained as monks have shaven heads, while monk elders grow beards and mustaches. They had the longest and most prominent facial hair of any nation. Female Airbenders do not fully shave their heads, just their foreheads so their arrow is visible. It has been shown that when not shaven, Air Nomads have black or brown hair.
Airbenders who have attained a level of mastery in the art are marked with arrow tattoos, based on the arrows of the Sky Bison, the first Airbenders. For male Airbenders, a primary arrow tattoo is placed on their shaven head that extends down their back, along with four others, one on each limb that terminates in an arrowhead at the hands or feet.
These arrows mark the paths through which chi travels through the body. Because of this, when an Airbender Avatar tattooed in this fashion enters the Avatar State, these tattoos are known to glow, along with the Avatar’s eyes and mouth. If the body has received an injury deeper than the tattoo then that spot will not glow in the state, but it is not known if re-tattooing the area (once the injury has healed) would enable it to glow again.
The Air Nomads are situated on remote mountains in large temples. There are four temples in all, one for each direction on the compass. Two are for and run by males and two are for and run by females. The young boys of the Southern Air Temple were known to travel to the Eastern Air Temple in order to choose their very own personal sky bison. This was considered an important choice as the intelligent animals would be with the choosing Airbenders for the rest of their lives.
While other nations possess royalty and are run by monarchies, the Air Nomads are led by the senior monks of the Air Temples.
The Air Nomads are the only nation comprised entirely of benders, due to the highly spiritual nature of their lives. Meditation is an important part of the Airbenders’ daily routines, as it helps them to focus their energies and understand the potency of their element.
It has been mentioned that they have a good sense of humor, a fact shown when Monk Gyatso employed a unique teaching method when tutoring Aang with his Airbending skills — accurately blowing fruit pies onto other monks’ heads. Useful training and a fun game combined.
The arrow tattoos adorning an Air Nomad’s body signifies that he or she has mastered Airbending. This is an emulation of the natural arrows on the heads of Flying Bison revered by the Air Nomads who can naturally Airbend and are the original teachers of the art, much like the Badgermole is to the Earthbenders. Aspiring Airbenders have no tattoos. In order to receive the tattoos as well as the title of a master, an Airbender must pass the thirty-six levels of Airbending along with engendering a new technique.
Each nation of the Four Nations is influenced by their own distinct, dominant season, in which their bending is at its peak. Autumn is the dominant season of the Air Nomad race. Airbenders are thus at their strongest in this season. More Air Nomad children were born during autumn than any other season, all retaining bending abilities.
Natural Resources and Foods
Fruit pies were a common treat among the Air Nomads.
As could be determined, air is the main and most significant power source and natural resource of the Nomads, as without it they would be rendered powerless. Luckily, air is everywhere, so depriving Air Nomads of their power source is quite a feat. With the power of air channeled under their control, the Airbenders can defend and protect their homes and way of life. It also made traveling much easier, since they could ride on their sky bison, or glide with the air currents using their gliders. The Air Nomads are peaceful vegetarians who believe that all life is precious and ate mostly fruits and vegetables. They do not seem to mind, however, eating eggs and dairy products. They are also known to make sweets, such as pies. The Air Nomads do indeed sell their pies for money, a reasonable one silver piece each, and all the money made from this is given to charity.
The Air Nomads are a tranquil race of people endeavoring to preserve the environment around them. Any industry that they engendered, such as farming and gardening, were powered naturally. They also produced their own food.
- Government System: Theocracy
- Head of State & Government: 2 Councils of Monks (1 Northern & 1 Southern) & 2 Councils of Sisters (1 Eastern & 1 Western)
- Religious Authority: 2 Councils of Monks (1 Northern & 1 Southern) & 2 Councils of Sisters (1 Eastern & 1 Western)
The Air Nomads do not have an army, or any form of military, as Air Nomads believe in peace and non-violence. However, the Air Nomads are skilled benders with unique and versatile skills that they will use to defend their lives, lands, and way of life if necessary.