Bajorans, a race of aliens in the fictional Star Trek universe, were introduced in the Next Generation series and played an integral part in the Deep Space Nine series. In their TNG debut episode "Ensign Ro", they were referred to as the Bajora, but this term was only used twice more. Captain Jean-Luc Picard met and served with Bajoran Ro Laren, while Captain Benjamin Sisko served Starfleet near the Bajoran homeworld, Bajor, and worked with Major Kira Nerys.
Like many aliens on Star Trek, the Bajorans are human-like in appearance, but have a distinctive symmetrical facial feature: ridges on the nose between the eyes. Despite their human-like appearance, there are several biological differences between the two species. During pregnancy, Bajoran women suffer from uncontrollable bouts of sneezing rather than morning sickness. Bajoran women gestate for five months, as opposed to the nine months of human women, due to high vascularization between the fetus and the mother. During childbirth they must be extremely relaxed, and they feel little or no pain during the process.
As noted by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Bajoran people are an ancient one, having reached an advanced level of technology long before humans had learned to walk upright. Precisely why 24th-century Bajoran technology, even prior to the Cardassian Occupation, was nowhere near as comparatively advanced as that of other species was never addressed; the most likely explanation is that at some point they reached a certain state of contentment with their culture. In one episode, Jake Sisko expressed incredulity at the notion that Bajorans had even achieved space travel several centuries before humans did, let alone hundreds of thousands of years ago, indicating that the full extent of Bajor's technological history is not common knowledge to the average 24th-century citizen.
Bajoran names are structured with their surnames preceding their birth names, a practice common on Earth in many societies (particularly in Asia). For example, Kira Nerys is "Major Kira" professionally and "Nerys" to friends.
Bajorans wear large, chained earrings and ear cuffs called d'ja pagh as symbols of their religious faith. Before the war against Cardassian occupation, the earring also symbolized one's d'jarra, or caste. After war began, however, castes became obsolete and most people became soldiers. The symbols on the earring cuffs can be used to determine the family line of the wearer, in a similar way to the Klingon cranial ridges.
Bajoran funeral rites are complex; their traditional death chant is rumored to last over two hours.
A little known fact is that on Bajor there are pearls of significant quality of silica, and serve as transits for the special properties similar to computer chips. At the time of death of a Bajoran, it is possible to transfer what the human calls a soul to the pearl. A Bajoran will wear this pearl on his or her d'ja pagh, and commune with the ancestor's soul this way, and as mentioned already it reflects one's caste by family.
A traditional Bajoran dish called hasperat is an important part of Bajoran cuisine, and is one of Major Kira's favourite foods. The exact nature or contents of the dish have not been revealed, but it has been mentioned to be considerably spicy.
Bajor (or) is the homeworld of the Bajorans. Bajor is a Class M planet that has five moons. Bajor's atmosphere has a greenish tint; as a result, oceans viewed from space will appear more green than blue.
Bajor orbits the star Bajor-B'hava'el in the Bajoran sector. The other inhabited planet in the Bajoran star system, Andros (Bajor VIII), is Class K.
The period began in 2328 when the Cardassians shed their image of benevolent advisors and forcibly subjugated the Bajoran authorities, brutally enslaving the inhabitants. The Cardassians also apparently suppressed knowledge of Bajor's early achievement of spaceflight, using means such as removing and hiding ancient space relics from Bajor.
The Cardassians formally annexed the planet in 2339. All Bajorans were summoned to fight the Cardassian invaders regardless of their social status. As a result, the D'jarras, or Bajoran castes, were abolished.
The Federation could not intervene in the situation, due to Prime Directive considerations; since Bajor had formally aligned itself with the Cardassians some time before, it was considered an internal matter between the Cardassian Union and a member/subject planet. This caused some resentment towards the Federation by the Bajoran people, especially when the Federation was initially invited to administer Deep Space Nine.
The Occupation was the most brutal period in Bajoran history, damaging the highly advanced Bajoran culture. Many people ended up in concentration camps which were euphamistically called "refugee camps" by the Cardassians. Bajor's natural resources were mined at notorious labor camps such as Gallitep, commanded by the cruel Gul Darhe'el. Only their faith in the Prophets (embodied by Kai Opaka) made sure that the Bajoran people and, most importantly, the Bajoran culture survived.
As a result of the call to arms in 2339 many resistance cells were formed, collectively known as the Bajoran Resistance or Bajoran Underground. One prominent group was the Shakaar resistance cell, under the lead of Shakaar Edon, a local farmer from Dahkur province. Major Kira Nerys joined this resistance cell in 2355 and was involved in terrorist attacks.
The Bajoran Resistance launched their first off-world attack against the Cardassians at Pullock V.
In 2352 Gul Dukat became the last prefect of Bajor. He resided on the orbital mining station Terok Nor which was built a year earlier. The station greatly increased Cardassian mining operations and soon contained a sizable community of Bajoran forced laborers.
Not all Bajorans opposed the Cardassian occupation and a Bajoran occupational government existed consisting of Bajoran collaborators led by Kubus Oak. The Vedek Assembly was led likewise by Prylar Bek. Collaborators were often given better quarters to live in and food to eat than the average Bajoran. In 2365 a collaborator named Vaatrik was killed by Kira Nerys.
Being a Collaborator is considered a high crime in Bajoran law, on par with treason. Those Bajorans who were (or are discovered to be) Collaborators are usually hounded mercilessly by any Bajoran that they encounter, and exile is a common fate for those so guilty.
In 2369 despite the objections of Gul Dukat and other members of the military, the Cardassian civilian leaders led by Kotan Pa'Dar decided to withdraw Cardassian troops from Bajor. The end of the occupation left behind a devastated planet and the space station Terok Nor (previously used as a mining center crewed by Bajoran slaves). Before leaving, the Cardassian troops brought about as much destruction as they possibly could; some even purposely left behind the children of Cardassian civilian leaders (such as Pa'Dar's son, Rugal) so that they would be raised by Bajoran families.
The effects of the Occupation remained visible, but Bajor slowly recovered from the Occupation. Federation worlds contributed to reconstruction efforts. The discovery of the Bajoran wormhole, or the Celestial Temple, also contributed a great deal towards the economic recovery of Bajor through the establishment of trade routes through Bajoran space, as well as making it a diplomatic center.
Former Resistance fighters were formed into a military arm of the Bajoran government, known as the Bajoran Militia.
The structure of the Bajoran militia is similar to that of a traditional Earth army, with similar ranks (with one exception: their counterpart to lieutenant colonel is called "Field colonel"). Officers are usually graduates of the Bajoran Military Academy, although many field commissions were granted to individuals that led and aided the resistance.
It was said in the episode "Rapture" that when Bajor joined the United Federation of Planets, most of the Bajoran Militia would be absorbed into Starfleet. In the non-canonical relaunch novel Unity, this happened in 2376.
Deep Space Nine's producer, Rick Berman, claimed that the Bajorans were not modeled on any particular group: "The Kurds, the Palestinians, the Jews in the 1940s, or the boat people from Haiti; unfortunately, the homeless and terrorism are problems in every age." The Bajor story arc was originally broadcast around the same time as the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, leading to comparisons at the time of the Cardassians with the Serbs and the Bajorans with the Albanians; in fact, at least some DS9 writers drew inspiration from real-world figures in the 1990s Balkan conflicts. 
The Bajoran religion, also called the Way of the Prophets, is a major unifying force on the planet. This religion, unlike so many others in the galaxy, is unique in that the religious figures are in fact physical (but non-corporeal) entities, although not on the same plane of existence; see Bajoran Prophets.
The Prophets, or "Wormhole Aliens" (as they are referred to by Starfleet) exist within the wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants, the Alpha end being located within the Bajoran system. This wormhole, and home of the Prophets, is referred to as the Celestial Temple by the Bajoran people. The Prophets exist as timeless beings, with their first (known) encounter with corporeal beings (specifically, Benjamin Sisko) resulting in a long and confusing conversation as to how linear time works. Their motives remain unclear; on several occasions they proclaim their disinterest in the physical world, while at other times actively participate in the physical world, most often in the general interest of Bajor and its people.
The Prophets are also believed to be the providers of sacred objects called Orbs or "Tears of the Prophets". These Orbs exist as crystalline, hour-glass shaped, glowing objects apparently floating within their containers. Though the Orbs defy scientific analysis, they stimulate what are known as "Orb Experiences", visions and images which have a measurable effect on the nervous system of humanoids. It is debatable, however, whether the Orb Experiences are, in fact, actual experiences, or merely dreams or hallucinations. Orbs known to exist include the Orbs of Wisdom, Prophecy, Change, Time, and the Emissary. The Orb of Time has an effect on physical matter, as shown by its interactions with the Starship Defiant in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations"(DS9). Additionally, the Orb of the Emissary seems directly tied to Benjamin Sisko, who is seen as the Prophets' Emissary to Bajor.
Another aspect of the religion is that of the Pah (roughly translated as 'immortal soul'). If a person has followed the will of the Prophets, his Pah is 'clean' and he will be permitted to enter the Celestial Temple and dwell with the Prophets.
Religious practices are unclear. The Bajoran religion involves regular services which are intended to teach the "Will of the Prophets". Meditation and prayer (either in groups or privately) are commonly used, but not strictly observed.
The hierarchy of the Bajoran faith has never been explained in great detail, though a certain amount is known:
Titles in the Bajoran religion include a "Prylar" (roughly equivalent to a Christian monk), "Ranjen" (a rank falling between Prylars and the next rank, and responsible for a variety of tasks), "Mylar" (priest or minister, mentioned in "Ties of Blood and Water"), "Vedek" (cardinal, bishop) and "Kai" (equivalent to the pope in Roman Catholic theology). All of these ranks seem to be open both to men and women.
A Vedek is the second highest level, and also make up the Vedek Assembly, the committee which is responsible for the spiritual issues of the Bajoran people.
The Kai is the spiritual leader. She/he has a great deal of influence on the Bajoran government despite having no official power in that way. After Kai Opaka departed in 2369, the election of a new Kai from the members of the Vedek Assembly led to the election of Kai Winn, who remained Kai until her demise in 2375.
The central figure in the Bajoran faith is known as the 'Emissary', a being believed to be sent by the Prophets to aid Bajor. Benjamin Sisko, a human Starfleet officer, filled this role when he made first contact with the beings believed by the Bajorans to be the Prophets, and the enigmatic beings spoke to him on several other occasions, either to deliver a message or fulfill a task. Although his role was never entirely clear (and Sisko himself was visibly uncomfortable with it for the first few years), the Bajorans respected and admired Sisko as their Emissary, and he carried Bajor through several hardships. In this respect, the Emissary nominally holds even more religious and secular power than the Kai or the First Minister. For example even the politically ambitious Kai Winn sought religious guidance from the Emissary, and Akorem Laan was able to single-handedly reinstate the observance of the obsolete D'Jarra caste system in 2372 when he briefly claimed the title of Emissary.
Similarly to Christianity's Lucifer, Kosst Amojan ("The Evil One") was a Prophet who was forced out of the Celestial Temple after a failed attempt to seize control, with the other Pah Wraiths. In several other incidents, the Pah Wraiths attempted to leave their physical prison (the "Caves of Fire") and return to take control of the Celestial Temple, but none of these attempts succeeded. There continues to be a minority group on Bajor who worship the Pah Wraiths as the True Prophets, but they are generally shunned as outcasts and heretics.
In another similarity to Christianity, the non-canon Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels reveal the existence of a form of 'excommunication' from the Bajoran faith: when Kira Nerys interferes in a growing civil war, despite being ordered not to do so by the Vedek Assembly, she is declared 'Attainted' and can no longer attend Bajoran services, set foot in a temple, or study from an Orb or the Bajoran sacred texts.
The Kai is the supreme religious leader of the Bajoran faith.
This individual could be either male or female, could be married, and could even have children. The Kai is chosen in an election held by the entire Bajoran people, though typically candidates come from the Vedek assembly of high-ranking clerics. He or she also seems to hold a fair amount of political influence on Bajor; the government is headed by a First Minister although Bajorans typically will listen to whatever the Kai says (it is unclear whether a Kai actually holds any political power).
When Starfleet forces initially arrived at Deep Space Nine, the Kai was a woman named Opaka. She introduced Commander Sisko to an Orb or Tear of the Prophets. In time, two leading candidates emerged to succeed her. One was Vedek Winn Adami - a member of a small conservative order on Bajor who harbored anti-Federation feelings. The other was Vedek Bareil Antos, a kindly man who had a relationship with Major Kira. However, Bareil withdrew, so that Winn became the next Kai.
Bareil became a trusted advisor to Kai Winn, influencing her to adopt a more friendly stance towards the Federation and Commander Sisko, and to conclude a peace agreement with the Cardassians.
Kai Winn later tried to consolidate her hold on power after the death of the Bajoran First Minister. Her actions nearly caused a civil war. Major Kira of DS9 convinced her old friend and resistance cell leader Shakaar Edon to run for election to the post to head off a civil war. Kai Winn withdrew, and Shakaar was elected to the post of First Minister.
Later, at the beginning of the Dominion War, Captain Sisko convinced Kai Winn as well as the Council of Ministers to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion. Sisko felt the time was not right for Bajor to choose sides in the war - if they did they would be destroyed.
With the end of the Dominion War in sight, Kai Winn was tempted to join with Dukat - who had been surgically altered to appear as a Bajoran - in worship with the Pah Wraiths. Kira advised Winn that she could be redeemed if she stepped down from the post, but Winn refused.
Kai Winn turned away from the prophets, and became a tool of the Pah Wraiths. In the final moments of her life, Kai Winn turned back to the Prophets and tried to throw the Book of the Kosst-Amojan in to the pit of fire. She was then consumed and killed by the Pah Wraiths, leaving the post of Kai again vacant at the end of the Deep Space Nine television series.
The First Minister of Bajor is a role analogous to Prime Minister, a separate office from the religious leader, the Kai. In the mirror universe this role is non-existent, as Bajor is under the administration of Intendant Kira Nerys.
The Bajoran written language consists of square symbols. They are fluid and are composed of thick lines. There are a large number of different symbols that can be used in any of eight rotations (normal, horizontal flipped, vertical flipped, 2 ways of diagonally flipping, 90 degree rotation, 180 degree rotation, and 270 degree rotation). This gives approximately 200 symbols in the written language. As with other forms of alien writing in Star Trek, no translation for these symbols exists. Bajoran can be written both in vertical top to bottom columns arranged right to left or in horizontal left to right lines arranged top to bottom.
In the Deep Space Nine premiere episode "Emissary", Captain Picard informs Benjamin Sisko that one of his tasks as commander of DS9 is to develop a continuing evaluation of Bajor for potential membership in the United Federation of Planets. In the non-canon Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, Bajor finally joins the Federation, with most of the Bajoran Militia being absorbed into Starfleet, and Kira Nerys receives the Starfleet rank of Captain.