You will get a different answer from each Freeholder as to what this means.
Basically it is an expression of high value for the individual and their own personal belief to be respected but not at the expense of the others or the group.
A Freeholder as an individual strives to be strong and content as a person Freeholders share freely and put the Freehold above themselves, striving for the group/hold to function with a minimum of problems. Personal conflicts or problems are solved as easily and quickly as possible with members striving for solutions that benefit all.
BRIEF LIST OF SOME OF OUR BELIEFS/PHILOSOPHY:
We tend to be composed of members from "non- traditional" cultures such as barbarians, Huns, Mongols, Vikings, Celts, Gypsies, but are not limited to any one group. All traditions/cultures including traditional European are welcome.
MEMBERSHIP: Is open to all. Members usually bring in new prospective members as guests, but Chieftains may recruit new members on the spot for some holds, or holds just starting.. These guests/prospective members are encouraged to participate with the hold, to see if this is a family they like and find compatible. It is then left up to the prospective member to ask the Chieftain for membership. There is no time limit for how long a prospective member has to participate prior to joining a hold or group.
In the past, some Holds have held elections for new prospective members (Ravenhold did this), or in the case of Freya's Hold, you had to attend at least three meetings, actively participate, and be willing to learn Freehold history and traditions.
New members have a special fealty ceremony to honor their membership. These persons kneel before the Chieftain, pledge their loyalty to the hold and Barbarian Freehold Alliance on the hold's sword, axe, staff, stand up before the group as freemen or freewomen and are formally welcomed into the hold's family.
GENERAL: We are a "doing" household. We don't sit and just talk. We believe in being self contained; each hold strives to have its members learn as much as they can/wish on a wide variety of subjects and art forms. Each hold has its own artisans, fighters, and service people. Tradition of 3's: We make items in threes, "One to use, one for spare, and one for sale" (idea invented and shared by Chief Alfred the Smith). We believe in holding fun events open to populace with lots of contests. We are an Open Household: You can belong to any other household you please; you don't have to join us and us alone. HOLD NAMES: Names of holds have in the past been Viking/Norse or Celtic style names such as Ekhamn's Fjord, Bjornsdaleholm, Ravenhold, Freya's Hold, Tyr's Hold, and House Bifrost. We don't know where this tradition got started, but new holds do not have to follow this tradition if they do not wish to. For example, two recent holds are Clan Dana, and Munin's Hold.
FEASTS: We traditionally have feasts that are the talk of the Knowne World, and pride ourselves on our cooking ability. For the past many years, and continuing today we hold a Harvest Feast, a private party for Freeholders, guests, and respected enemies on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. There are games, a HUGE smorgasbord dinner, awards given out, and a Bardic circle with professional and amateur entertainment until dawn.
BARDS: Bards are given special hospitality, and new bards are always welcomed around our Bardic circle campfires. We encourage the performing arts and are known for our Middle Eastern dancers and fighter-poets (skalds) and for having Bardic Circles 'til dawn. We have a reputation for throwing the best parties/Bardic circles around, with minimal drinking to boot. (In the Freehold. we don't discourage or encourage drinking but we do discourage drunkenness. You'll enjoy the party more if you're not falling into the fire or following the evening with a horrible hangover.)
PASSING THE HELM: Holds are self-supporting, and pass the helm (hat) at meetings to raise monies for their activities. Also, fundraisers can be done. In the past, the holds have held raffles for large items such as armor and pavilions, and awesome auctions in order to raise funds.
Freehold Officers: Traditionally, we have officers appointed/elected every 6 months, around the Spring and Fall Equinox. Each Hold elects or has appointed (whatever they decide) any of the following: