An Overview

What is Culture

Culture helps to identify who a person is and how they live. The things that help define a culture are music, art, food, clothing, money, government, language, traditions and holidays.

"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people."

Mahatma Gandhi

Aspects of Culture

Food (Italy)

Food is important in peoples culture because it affects the health of the country's people, lifestyle, and it also gathers people from different cultures together.

Food is one of cultures biggest aspects. Depending on a country's location, food can be be different. Countries bordering the ocean usually use seafood as a food source. Landlocked countries grow and harvest more foods to supply people with food.
Italian cuisine is acknowledged through out the world for its seafood, pasta, and tomato sauces.

Italy has 3 "Food Regions". This means that there are different parts of Italy that use different Natural Resources to feed themselves. The three regions are called the North,Central, and South.

Northern Italians eat more dried pasta, vegetables, rice and meatballs. Dried pasta is made with more flour water and salt as opposed to egg pasta which is made with egg, flour, salt and water and is thicker. An example of a dried pasta is spaghetti. Examples of Northern Italian dishes are cheese fondue and pumpkin stuffed ravioli's.

Central Italians eat more lamb, cheese,and soups. Central Italians also cook with more saffron a spice, that makes Central Italian dishes such as lamb and pesto a basil sauce (usually eaten with bread or pasta),equally salty but sweet.

Because of Italy bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Southern Italians eat more seafood than Central or Northern Italians because Southern Italy is closer to the Mediterranean. Popular Southern Italian dishes include Scuttle fish, Oysters ,Clams, and Shrimp Scampi. Southern Italians are also known for pasta, mozzarella, olives and almonds.

Pasta is one of Italy's most acknowledged dishes. Pasta was first created in Sicily in 1154 and is commonly eaten with meat or vegetables.

Italy also has a wide variety of desserts. Many of them consist of fillings, nuts, chocolate, fruit or alcohol. One of Italy's most recognized dessert is the canoli. A pastry with a hard shell and a cream filling full of chocolate chips.

Hundreds of years ago Italians created dishes using only their surrounding natural resources and today these dishes still represent Italy's culture of with savory meals.

Clothing (Russia)

Clothing fits into culture because it expresses new ideas, represents national heritage and also national colors. Clothing can have many vibrant colors and can also tell the story a countries history, introduce new ideas or even represent their nationality with the colors of the national flag.

In Russian culture, traditional clothing is a very important aspect. Today many people still wear some articles of traditional clothing everyday. Such as school girls wearing huge bows or flowers in their hair on ceremonial school occasions.

Ushanka's also are still very popular apparel choices. Ushanka's are fur covered and leather lined hats which prevent people's heads from getting cold and when somebody slips on ice and lands on their head the Ushanka will prevent the impact.

Peasant women dressed in jumper dresses called Sarafans and also wore a closed back headdress called a Kokoshnik to depict if they were married. Single women wore Povyazka's. A popular color in these peasant costumes is red because the Russian word for beautiful originates from the Russian word for red: kransy.

Men wore white robe like shirts that reached down to the thigh called Kosovoratka's. These shirts can still be found in present day Russia.

All of these articles of traditional Russian clothing have made a way into modern day Russian clothing and are still representative of Russia today.

Religion (India)

Religion is one of Cultures biggest aspects because it identifies what a person believes and what traditions they celebrate.

In India the most popular religion is Hinduism. Hinduism is a polytheism religion meaning that Hindu's worship more than one god. Hindus are required to show respect and have manners to everybody especially there elders. Other signs of respect are:

  • When meeting somebody they say namesate or namestar to greet them.
  • Before worshiping, Hindus place a red dot on their forehead called kumkum.
  • Hindu are not allowed to eat meat on Monday's, Thursdays, or Saturday's
  • It is considered disrespectful to go inside a home or step on holy ground with shoes.
  • It is considered a sin to enter a temple after eating meat or consuming alcohol.
  • Women are required to wear a beaded necklace called magalsutra, bangles in hand, toe rings, and kumkum to depict if they are married.
  • Before moving in a house a special ceremony called Vastushanti is preformed to remove all the negative spirits.
  • Hindu's also annually celebrate the festival of Lights. This festival marks the victory of good over evil.

Today many people in Asian countries practice Hinduism and have found ways to stay faithful to their religion and spread their practice of Hinduism all around the world.

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Agriculture/Obtaining Food (Brazil)

Agriculture and obtaining food fits into culture because it shows what a countries first inhabitants did to access food. The techniques go down from generation so food can be accessed. A countries climate also determines what type of food can be grown and raised. Foods and livestock that cannot be found in a country can be imported from other countries.

Brazil's tropical climate allows variety's of fruits to grown such as beans, citrus fruits, cacao, plantains, bananas, guarana, and açaí. Mainly Brazilian fruits can be found high up in the rain forest canopy and cannot be accessed by people without a tool. To access these hard to reach fruits a long stick that can reach up to the tree is used to pick the ripe juicy fruits. By tapping the fruit with the stick the fruit will come flying down from the tree.

Another way of gathering food is to raise it. Many traditional Brazilian dishes consist of meat, so it is very important to grow livestock such as; cows, chickens, and pigs.

Going to the market is also another very popular way to obtain food. Foods that can not be grown locally are shipped from other countries.

Hunting is not a very popular practice to gather food because Brazil is in the Amazon Rain forest which is home to many endangered animals so it is illegal to hunt in the Amazon Rain forest. The only people allowed to hunt in the Amazon Rain forest are the Native Tribes residing there.

Obtaining food effects culture because it determines what food can be made and this also affects the health of the people in that culture.

Music/Dance (Colombia)

Music represents culture because of the rhythms and dances that are made to celebrate, tell a story or show an important event in history. Colombia is acknowledged mainly for the vibrant Latin based rhythms and fast motioned dances.
Dance in Colombia is very popular and is mainly known for Salsa dancing, a Latin influenced dance mainly danced with two people at a very fast pace.

Colombia is also well known for Bambuco, an up tempo version of the the European Waltz.

Most Colombian music has a faster tempo including instruments such as drums, western guitar, hand percussion, and other percussion instruments. Other genres of music are Bachauta, Reggaeton, and Vallenato.

Dancing costumes are known for the vibrant color, flare, and represent the freedom and passion salsa dancers have for salsa.

Colombian's have used dance and rhythms to express themselves for hundreds of years and have spread the fast rhythms and iconic dances around the world.

Baile deportivo (Salsa) World Games Cali 2013 - Colombia

Government (China)

China's government comes into culture because it shows how much freedom it's citizens have, how well defended the country is and the laws. China is a communist government meaning that the government believes that all economic activities should be controlled by the government.

Such as;

  • education
  • well fare
  • healthcare
  • political structure

China's education system has a consistent teacher development system which makes the teaching profession a highly regarded profession.

Chinese healthcare and welfare is controlled by the government. The Government determines where all medical supplies go, where doctors can practice thier profession and the government ultimately determines the structure of how doctors practice medicine.

Chinese citizens enjoy the right to vote however they don't have freedom of the press or speech. Unfortunately, if Chinese citizens go against the government they will be jailed for integrity against the motherland.

Children that have become of age are required to work to support their parents and family.

Government effects many facets of a persons life and culture in China.

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Education (Luxembourg)

Education plays a big part in Luxembourg's culture because it prepares children for their adult life, having responsibilities, and having knowledge for a career.
Children start school at the age of three years old and are required to speak
Luxembourgian, English, German, French by the age of 8.

There are 3 types of school levels:

  • fundamental
  • secondary
  • higher education
  • university

Instead of grades children have cycles. Cycle 1 is ages 3-7, cycle 2 is ages 8-9, and cycle 3 is ages 10-11.

Fundamental Education is known as cycles 1-3. During fundamental education children learn 3 languages, arithmetic, writing, reading and science, and social studies.

Secondary education last 6-7 years. These years for the Luxembourgian children are the most vital because if they want to get a higher education also known as a university or college they need to obtain certain grades.

If a child decides to go to university and study in the fields of research they must have a masters degree to start their own career.

For children studying in other fields at a university, to get a higher profession in Luxembourg you need to have a masters degree. Its very important for children in Luxembourg to get an education because in Luxembourg you have to have a higher education to get a job.

Education is vital for children because it prepares them for the responsibilities of having a job, a family, and living a profitable lifestyle. Countries all over the world have a education systems that help their future generation succeed.

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Economy (Germany)

Germany is one of the leaders in the world's economy. Some of the areas they contribute to the economy are automotive, telecommunications, and chemistry. This affects German culture in a positive manner by motivating business owners to expand their companies. In doing so Germany's wealth and economy grows.

This affects the culture because it leads to better education, wealth, and welfare. It also reduces unemployment.

Germany has many successful businesses such as Volkswagen, Bosch, and Bose. These companies contribute to the economy, by improving living conditions in Germany and improving the lifestyles of German citizens.

Holidays/ Traditions (Spain)

Holidays and traditions make up a culture because they bring people from different places together to celebrate an important event. Spain has a variety of unique holidays and traditions celebrated through out the year. One of Spain's most popular holidays is Christmas. However, they do not celebrate Christmas like American's do. Instead Spain starts their Christmas celebration early on December 22nd with a lottery drawing known as Loteria de Navidad. Spaniards will have a jackpot and other cash prizes for the lucky tickets that are chosen from the big jar.

Another tradition from Spain which is acknowledged around the world is Bullfighting. Bullfighting is a violent sport that consists of 6 men dressed in fine clothes known as matadors. They also have brightly colored capes. The bull will attack the moving cape by charging towards it. At the final moment the matador whips away the cape. The matador repeats this action until the bull is weak, then the bull is killed quickly.

One of Spain's most important holidays or fiesta's is Semana Santa. This is celebrated the week before Easter. It has many traditions and many of them cause great emotions. Many candles are lit and musicians dress up as hooded figures and process down a street playing mournful songs following a cross and a statue of the Virgin Mary. This is supposed to represent Jesus's last days alive.

On the week of Semana Santa during these processionals flower petals and confetti are thrown and people chant Guapa meaning beautiful. While they see the Virgin Mary . Semana Santa is celebrated throughout the world in many other Spanish countries.

Spain's citizens are mainly Catholic and Christian. This causes many holidays to be based off of Saints or an important event in Catholic or Christian history. One of the many holidays based off of a Saint is San Fermin (Running of the Bulls). This holiday is celebrated in Pamplona, Spain and has many fairs, bullfights and the famous bull running.

Bull running has been a tradition for hundreds of years. This has been a technique to get bulls in rings for bullfights. Each year on July 6th hundreds of people run in front of charging bulls leading them all the way to the bullfighting rings. Spain has many different holidays and traditions that make up their unique culture.

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