From UFStarfleet LCARS
The species is humanoid in appearance, with no noticeable differences. It is extremely rare to meet a Risian anywhere other than their home planet, for the simple reason of its beautiful, relaxing environment. Further, since so many other species visit the resorts, and tour the planet, as one Risian put it, "Why go out there, when everybody comes here?"
Risa's early history was one of grief and misery, of a daily struggle to survive. In a world of tropical storms and volcanic islands and continents, communities were isolated from each other. Tribes steeped themselves in superstition and bloodthirsty warfare. Peace washed over them on occasion, like breakers, and during these times, the genetic lines mingled.
In the 1380s, a mysterious man, known only as the Navigator, was the first to circumnavigate the globe, visiting each of the ten continents. His voyage and his teachings, and his crew, comprised of students he gathered along the way, united most of Risa in the Covenant of the Song. By 1453, even the barbarians of the Tumut Isles joined the Covenant, taking the Ja'Risa disc on their foreheads.
The result was a sudden flourishing of civilization, due to the peaceful exchange of ideas, tools, and genes. Many technological and cultural advances were made. By the 1700s, the Eerihlan philosophers and their language dominated education and society. This was the equivalent of Earth's "bronze age" at the time of the Greeks. Starting in 1876, athletes from all over the world gathered together every nine years for the Great Games.
In 1966, Risa made "First Contact," with the Orion Syndicate. The Syndicate's exploitation of the planet enraged the natives, but a plan was crafted to out-Risan them. What few acts of violence against Syndicate occupiers followed, were blamed on rivals within the Occupation force. Rumors were spread of great treasures in the remote parts of the continents. Passive resistance to attempts at enslavement persisted. As the Syndicate drained resources pursuing phantoms and turning on each other, and dealing with a seemingly obtuse and impossibly primitive people, they gave up and left Risa.
From then on, Risa received a number of visitors, and some of them were inspired by a notion that Risa would make a better tourist spot than anything. It had no military or industrial value, so what else was there? The first humans to visit was the crew of the Enterprise NX, in the 2150s. In 2200, the 36th Games were attended by a large delegation from the Federation, whose athletes were allowed to participate. Risa became a Federation member in 2249.
The Ja'Risa disc is covered under religion. Current Risian culture is very relaxed and accepting of all people, and all beliefs, at least to the point of hearing them out. One popular expression that delights or alarms tourists is "Everything I have is yours." This openness to physical intimacy with complete strangers is a development from ancient times, when communities were isolated by the tropical storms and frequent earthquakes. Visitors were not simply guests, but opportunities to avoid genetic bottle-necking.
Generally speaking, Risians prefer natural foods, with very little fat, to anything processed or replicated. They value their hygiene greatly, bathing once or twice daily at least, and they love physical activity of all sorts.
Some communities maintain their ancestral villages and practices, such as tending to herds of medium-sized ruminants, and fishing.
Prior to the occupation, Risa's most advanced civilization was in its bronze age, with expertise in herbal medicine. Within fifty years of meeting the Federation, Risa acquired enough weather systems and seismic stabilizers to eliminate the debilitating storms and earthquakes.
Risa has had a number of different currencies over the years. Prior to the Navigator, each culture had its own systems, ranging from simple bartering and trade to shells to stones to jewels to various coined metals. Under occupation by the Orion Syndicate, only bartering was allowed. After liberation, Risa adopted a united currency, the primary coin of which was the Pakla, with one side being a fish, and the other a trident, and a laissez faire capitalism. On admission to the Federation, Risa adopted the current economic model.
The Risan religion centers around a belief in the Maker and the Song which unites the universe. The Maker sings, and the universe dances. The symbol on a Risian forehead is a stylized tattoo indicating an individual's initiation into adulthood and full agreement with the covenant of Risa. At the first "Red Moons" after the signs of adulthood, Risians give away all their possessions of childhood, are tattooed, and then spend the weekend in Jamaharon with the partner of their choice. Afterwards, they receive gifts from the members of their community.
Jamaharon means "intimacy by agreement." There are a number of ways to indicate one's openness to the ritual, but the most common for tourists is carrying the Horgahn. This primitive idol was a fertility demon appeased by some cultures, and while most Risians have abandoned the superstition, the tradition of the idol carries on. It should also be noted that there are various kinds of Jamaharon as well. White Jamarahon is purely spiritual. Red is the very first time. Gold is monogamous, and green is for having children. Blue comes after trade or diplomatic agreements have been reached, and violet is for group encounters. Orange is the most common--for pleasure. Brown is considered as unhygienic and uncomfortable. Black is not merely taboo, but illegal, as it takes the form of intimacy that is not by agreement, which is the only crime on Risa punishable by death.
Death on Risa is seen as moving from the islands of life to a distant shore that no one ever returns from. If there is an opportunity, the community will ask the dying to take messages with them.
Anciently, Risa always believed there was life among the stars, for each point of light was regarded as a distant island, where people might be found. The Risian term for all sapient life-forms is "H'nau," which is defined as "an ensouled creatured with a physical form, capable of reproduction."
Just relax and have fun. If you feel like you're in over your head, or pressured to do something you don't want to do, just politely inform them. They're generally very understanding and non-judgmental.