The Air Acolytes are an order of monks and nuns who live on the Southern Air Temple and the four original air temples that belonged to the extinct Air Nomad clan. While they are not actually benders, they preserve the practice, culture, traditions and teachings of the Air Nomads, taught to them by the late Tenzin.
The Air Acolytes were founded in 2 AG by Tenzin, one of the very few survivors of the Air Nomad Genocide. Tenzin himself taught the Air Acolytes about the background of his clan in the hopes that the culture and tradition of the Air Nomads would never cease to exist.
After the end of the Third Great Shinobi War small group of Air Acolytes traveled with Tenzin and Asuma Sarutobi in an attempt to revive a celebration extinct ever since the Air Nomad Genocide about the coexistence of human and spirit.
The Acolytes' numbers eventually grew, leading them to settle in the four abandoned air temples and Tenzin's drew became fulfilled.
The Air Acolytes were at the Fire Temple when Naruto Uzumaki arrived to complete his airbending training, and they then assisted Tenzin in reconstructing the two-thousand-year-old airbending gates after Naruto destroyed them during his airbending training. After Mako and Bolin became homeless, some Acolytes assisted them into moving the trio to the Fire Temple and transferring all their luggage off the boat to their rooms.
At the request of Asuma, Tenzin had Air Acolytes help Kurenai Yuhi give birth to her and Asuma's child, Mirai. Not long after, they evacuated the island via flying bison during the Equalists' attacks on Konohagakure.
One month later, the Air Temple Island was attacked by Akatsuki members Kakuzu and Hidan, who sought for Tenzin in order to acquire a mass sum of money in the black market. After a massive battle that all but destroyed the temple, Tenzin was killed by Hidan's sacrificial technique.
Male Air Acolytes monks wear yellow robes with a red sash, while female nuns wear red robes with a yellow sash. Duo to his position as abbot, Shung wore a red robe in conjunction with a yellow and orange sash.
Male Air Acolytes either completely or partially shave their heads, although not all of them received the custom Air Nomad tattoos across their bodies. Most female Air Acolytes do not shave their heads.
While the Air Acolytes carry most traditions of the Air Nomads, they completely abandoned the practice of gender segregation to the same extent as their predecessors; while the Acolytes have separate areas for personal use based on gender, both genders inhabit all air temples together.