Culture of Candelaria And Marquez
'Candelariasian', 'Candelarias', 'C&M' and 'Candelaria And Marquez' culture are umbrella terms all used, generally interchangeably, to encompass the artistic, musical, literary, culinary, political and social elements that are representative of both the islands of the Candelarias group, and the modern state of Candelaria And Marquez.
Initial Candelariasian culture was overwhelmingly British and Spanish in nature, split almost completely with the predominately Marquez-based Hispanics (the usual preferred term for Candelariasian Latinos) and the majority British population on the rest of the islands. There was no aboriginal inhabitation prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late eighteenth century, nor is there any evidence of there ever having been.
Over time, the initial two communities have become more integrated; though still maintain a significant degree of cultural separation. An arguably greater impact on the dominant Candelarias British (or 'Anglo') culture has been the arrival of many waves of immigrants - from the Italians and Czechs in the very earliest days, to the modern communities of Chinese and Muslims, of various backgrounds. Modern C&M culture has therefore been shaped by waves of migration that have combined to form a unique blend of cultures, customs and traditions; though it must be stressed that whatever the ethnic heritage of the islands' inhabitants, the country to this day retains a distinctly British feel despite its generally left-leaning politics and outlook.
- Main article: National identity of Candelaria And Marquez
The early decades of British colonisation of the Candelarias were marked by a notion of building a "second England". Even with the advent of partial self-rule, many inhabitants saw the country as a continuation of Britain overseas, with its own government at times being seen as something of an unnecessary annoyance to proper relations with the United Kingdom. Despite the mass immigration of non-Britons that began in the second half of the 19th century; this attitude persisted greatly and to some extent, particularly in the under populated west of Candelaria, continues to this day. Culturally, the new nation long not only remained indistinct from Britain, but grew closer to it; a phenomenon which managed to thrive throughout a time when public opinion was turning rapidly against the British government, monarchy and the institutions of the motherland.
The process was all but completed by the early twentieth century, though it would not be until the end of the Second World War that all formal ties with the UK were severed. However, a real sense of Britishness - or certainly that of a historical variety - is greatly retained in the islands today, despite all the many and varied influences of world and regional culture on the islands. Though multiculturalism is a fondly considered concept on the islands; the Candelarias and modern C&M have predominately avoided the idea of 'multi-communitism', with new immigrants: individuals, families and their cultural heritage, being consistently well integrated into the whole; with the cuisine, music, dress, traditions and less tangible values being assimilated into the country's pre-existing culture and identity rather than supplanting it nor, in general, acting as a distinct set of traditions alongside it.
Though an undeniably tolerant, open people; Candelariasians of all backgrounds have struggled in adapting to the realities of the modern world. The fashion in which large nations may slip in and out of existence, and the presence even within C&M's neighbours of sentient, intelligent non-humans; are concepts among many which have proven difficult to gain common acceptance both among the people and government. When the journalist Davey Stockton used the phrase, "an extraordinarily average nation of really rather above average people," in the early 1990s he was being quietly ironic, but the notion has appealed very much to the C&M psyche. Natives tend to be greatly proud of what they see as their sheer normality in the face of a world of weirdness; seeing themselves as a compassionate, pleasant people against a backdrop of increasingly bizarre anarchy slowly engulfing the multiverse.
C&M's multiculturalism is enshrined in the Second Constitution and a concept much trumpeted by successive governments as central to the islands' modern identity. In cities such as Albrecht, Arrigo, Bove, Clotaire and Melin, multiculturalism itself is the cultural norm and diversity the force that unites the community. In most of the rest of the country however this diversity is rather less in evidence. In these areas, the varied cultures and attitudes of the many different groups to have been assimilated into Candelariasian society still survive only to a modest extent, with non-British surnames often the only obvious signs of the peoples’ complex heritage. More recent immigrants, particularly those of non-White ethnicity, have tended to marry - though not necessarily live - within their own communities, retain their mother tongues as a first language for several generations, and hold more closely to the culture of their home countries. There has been some degree of state encouragement for them to do so, an issue that remains a hot topic in C&M with the right-wing of the country in particular. Many such "new Candelariasians" also complain however that state encouragement for them to preserve their historical identities represents an insidious, if probably unwittingly, form of racism.
The relative geographic isolation of the islands from many of their inhabitant’s homelands has no doubt helped the process of integration. With the advent of the internet, allowing citizens not only to stay in regular contact with relatives abroad but have easy access to newspapers and other cultural outlets; it remains to be see whether new Candelariasians will adapt to the 'indigenous' culture of the islands at a slower rate.
Whilst the majority of immigrant groups of all colours and creeds live in a thoroughly Anglophone and Anglo-Saxon world, the statehood of Candelaria And Marquez embraces the Hispanic cultural element that makes up nearly one half of the population of the island of Marquez, a people who settled the island some time prior to the arrival of other foreigners, and have long been marked by their refusal to integrate fully into the Anglo-centric society of most of the rest of the country. Children of this group are permitted to be taught solely in Spanish at school (though as with English-speaking C&M children they are expected to be proficient in both national languages of the country), and similarly conduct their work and social life in concordance to their pre-British heritage. Many Hispanic Marquezians, and particularly supporters of the Marquez National Party, refer to themselves as "indigenous Candelarians", though this claim is hard to sustain; the original Spanish settlers having arrived on the islands between the 1770s and 1870s, with the British arriving between the 1820s and early 1900s. Precise figures of the country's Hispanic population are readily bandied about by groups and individuals of various political leanings, but are in truth hard to come by. Those who claim Spanish as a first language make up around 18% of C&M's population, though this group includes people living outside of Marquez and well as many individuals not of Spanish ethnic origin - most notably South Americans arriving in the early 20th century but also western Europeans, including Britons, who settled in Spanish-speaking areas of the country. Equally, there are many citizens of Hispanic origin across the Candelarias, including Marquez, with no particular affinity to their ethno-cultural heritage, as well as those who are not Spanish-speaking nor of Hispanic ethnic origin that still support the cause of Marquezian "nationalism".
Whatever their numbers, Hispanic Marquezians remain a highly influential group in C&M society with their own distinct culture and attitudes. With the exception of the large towns of Castillo and Miranda, which are both dominated by Spanish-speakers; most Latino Marquezians live in the cities of Arrigo, Bass and El din, or in small villages and hamlets in the north-east of the island that are often entirely separate in feel from the rest of the Candelarias.
Though the country's bilingualism and dual-culturalism was officially recognised in the earliest days of the Dominion; the Candelarias' Spanish-speakers have long suffered from a degree of discrimination verging on outright racism. Prior to the late twentieth century, there was a very obvious lack of Hispanic names and faces within the country's government, law makers, and top businessmen etcetera; whilst despite specific laws against such an occurrence, a number of public entities openly practised anti-Hispanic segregation well into the 1970s. Certainly the worst outlet of this was the National Eugenics Council of the 1950s and '60s, a semi-governmental body operation to encourage abortions and sterilization among young, lower class, and unmarried and/or mentally retarded women, particularly of non-Anglophone parentage. It should be noted that much of the NEC's activities were often carried out with the tactic support of Hispanic community leaders - particularly those of a religious background.
The situation has improved beyond all measure in recent years however, with the educational achievements and occupational status of Hispanics well in line with their social background and measured intelligence. They are well represented in government and business; most notably the motor vehicle tycoon Eduardo Morales.
With the obvious exceptions noted above; C&M's culture is fairly uniform across the country, even allowing for inevitable differences between urban, suburban, subrural and rural communities; while the economic and class status of the country's people is similarly such. Indeed, the country operates no structured regional, provincial or county boundaries; with smaller towns and villages being referred to as, e.g. "Melvorne, near (or “nr”) Abiodun" or "Scottisvillla, north-east Candelaria". There has emerged however a definite disparity between the south- and north-east of Candelaria itself; with cities and towns such as Albrecht, Allemali, Bove, Dyce and Warne (as well as many of the cities of western Marquez with whom they constitute "the Strip") showing a consistently more socially conservative consensus among their inhabitants that the "Gang of Four" in the north-east; Alvery, Caires, Clotaire and Khatib, where there are far more nightclubs and casinos, and, for example, rather more children born out of wedlock to single mothers. All the cities on the eastern half of the largest island are however more ethnically and culturally diverse, and generally more internationalist in outlook that those of the less-populated west in cities such as Brayton, Hanlon, Maidment, Saurin and Vo.
The writer, philosopher and - briefly - Prime Minister; Reuben Merchant has come to be seen by many as the "father of the nation". Though far from widely known outside of the Candelarias; in his adopted country Merchant's works, principally Discussions on the Past and Future of the Species came to be seen in the late 19th century as the country's unofficial constitution. In modern times, there is a general consensus among C&M historians and philosophers that his writings retain very little merit in and of themselves; and whist his era continues to supply a large part of National History on the country's curriculum at all age groups; Discussions and his other well-known efforts are seldom read in any form outside of universities.
With all this said, however, as a figure he retains a sense of the Candelarias embodied. 'Reuben' re-established itself as the most popular name in the islands for newborn boys in the mid-seventies (it has also become modestly popular for girls), and his Three Central Precepts for Better Living appear framed on the walls of many offices, schools and homes; and on t-shirts. These are horribly wordy, as was the style at the time, but can best be summed up according to the modern-day writer Joseph Ness as;
1. Do unto others as you believe to the best of your abilities they would wish to be done by providing this doesn't greatly impinge of the wishes of any third party or parties.
2. It is highly improbable that there is an afterlife or any form of end-time judgement, and it is wise not to consider there such. Be good, because it can only be the right thing to do, not because you will be rewarded or punished for your behaviour be it in this life or the next. If it gets you into heaven, that's just a happy bonus not a means to an end.
3. Try not to be a dick.
This is generally agreed to be distressingly accurate.
The Name of the Nation
The matter of the country's official designation is worth noting, since it has long proven a sticking point in the country's unity. Prior to the Civil War and Second Constitution, when the country was known as the Dominion (and later Republic) of the Candelarias; the terms "the Candelarias" and "Candelaria" were used pretty much interchangeably, few seeing a real need to give the island group's largest island a distinctive name. The concept of a 'Marquez' distinct from 'Candelaria' (i.e., everyone else), began to come into use among Marquezian Hispanics in the early 20th century, and was soon adopted equally by many Anglophone Marquezians, angered by economic policies coming from Albrecht which they saw as strongly in favour of those living on the 'main' island. At some point in this century, those living on the largest island began to adopt the term 'Candelarian' as being exclusive to themselves, leading in due course to the revoltingly unwieldy national adjective of 'Candelariasian' to describe all people of the islands, be they from Candelaria, Marquez, or the Outlying Islands.
Following the Civil War, the short-lived Republic of Marquez returned to the newly re-established country of the Republic of Candelaria and Marquez (later Candelaria And Marquez). The sentiments at play that resulted in this new name are far from clear - it will likely forever remain uncertain as to whether those involved saw 'Candelaria' as referring to all the islands bar Marquez; or whether they were acknowledging the declarations of independence from the majority of the Outliers, and not officially including them in the new Republic.
Whichever, the Outliers would become represented on the new flag, send representatives to the House in Albrecht and accept the general direction set by the government on the largest island; while the term 'Candelaria' as referring exclusively to that island soon came to stick.
Generally, the accepted short form of the modern Republic's name, C&M, is also used as the national adjective, where it seems appropriate. 'Candelariasian' is still in regular use, particularly among the elder generation; while 'Candelarian', though now strictly speaking incorrect and highly offensive to certain Marquezians, is regularly used; particularly by foreigners. Foreign media has also been known to use a wide variety of other adjectives in general use, such as the Kura-Pellandi Candelasarian, the Lowland Clans' Candalian and the Vephrese Candleariasian.
C&M's modern flag, in official use from the Declaration of Independence in 1947, was designed by Clotaire schoolgirl Annie Pannel as part of a nationwide competition earlier that year; a decision which rankled professional flag designers at the time and to some degree still does to this day. Essentially an update of the former colonial flag; the Union Jack was removed while the three green stars became two circles and an oblong (altered by general agreement to an oval shortly before its official adoption). The original stars represented a major company involved the establishment of the British Candelarias, but were long taken to represent Candelaria Island, Marquez and the Outliers, and the new shapes have continued to be considered such. Likewise, their green colouring is now taken to refer to the country's (theoretically) lush foliage. The navy blue background of the original flag, used by many British colonies, was changed to a brighter blue more reminiscent of the islands' surrounding waters.
The islands' most celebrated poet is Luis Fernando Fernandéz Rodriquez, a lowly bank clerk for most of his life, self-published a single volume of his work, The Spartan Slope and Other Odes in 1862. It failed to sell all twenty printed copies, and he died a pauper eight years later. His work was popularised by the islands' self-proclaimed laureate, Thomas Paige, who devoted many years to the search for Fernandez Rodriquez's lost works. In 1944, one such poem, O, Sweet Nation was set to music by the composer Kenneth Park, and was officially adopted as C&M's national anthem in 1961. Unfortunately, O, Sweet Nation is generally agreed to be an over-long, tuneless, dirge. It doesn't help that the original poem upon which it's based was, alongside the odd bit of social commentary, a wistful ode likening a country to a woman of such beauty that the poet could never hope to make her his. The second verse gets a more lusty treatment from sports crowds, being positively carnal in nature, including several thinly-veiled references to breasts. Most people's favourite bit is when he likens her 'prized rosettes' to the hill-forts once built by the British as a base from which to attacks Spanish-held territory.
There have been innumerable attempts to create a more tubthumping anthem following the end of British rule, including the amusingly jingoistic Stand up Straight, Thee of the Candelarias, in use officially between 1947 and 1961 and the most popular choice of the most patriotic. More recent efforts have similarly failed to capture the public imagination, with the country's most popular themes remaining the late nineteenth century; Sing, Little Fanny and Brave Men of the Candelarias, Stay Not at the Rear!, though possibly not for the right reasons. Most Candelariasians just can't bring themselves to sing any song, particularly about a country, too seriously.
The country's official motto became Solidarity of the Nation in 1931. Nobody knows who exactly coined it or what, when all's said and done, it actually means. When has that ever been important, though?
The size of the nation
A significant discrepancy exists between the stated population of C&M by the United Nations, and that suggested by national censuses. It remains highly debatable who is actually right, but it's the Candelariasian government. Really. It’s ever so important.
A matter of time
Eddies, or something, caused by the positioning of the Rushmori continent, or something, cause time in C&M to flow at a rather slower rate than in much of the world. This disparity has not until recently caused major problems; but has now become more apparent thanks to the country’s involvement in international football. A further issue has arisen with the introduction of ‘time dilation’ devices that allow, for example, entire domestic league seasons to be completed in a matter of a couple of months. It remains unclear whether Time in the islands is being expanded to take in more events than would otherwise be appropriate; or if said events are moving backwards in time at a much faster rate than usual, to the point that they overtake what might be termed ‘normal’ events some time around last Tuesday. The social and mental effects of this are far from fully understood, and the long-term implications for the country seldom discussed.
- Main article: National character of Candelaria And Marquez
Most of the earliest Candelarias British place names came from the usual sources of settler's surnames, descriptions of the terrain and Old World towns and cities. A great many settlements in the islands still carry such names; it being largely down to chance that most of the modern country's largest cities carry some of the most disfigured names in the Candelarias. Many of these are deliberate, late 19th century, concoctions created to help provide the new nation with a clear and separate identity. The likes of Bove (formally Bovington), Abiodun (Abingdon), Clotaire (Clement's Town) and Lesperance (Leicester) possess such bastardisations. Certain place names have however come from opposite sources; the Albrecht former municipalities of Lexaton and Hoxton, for example, both coming ultimately from German surnames.
Many place names of Spanish origin, not only on Marquez and the Outliers but Candelaria island itself, were altered to more English-sounding words, or simply messed around with by ignorant Anglophone outsiders; these new identities having largely become the most common in general usage but still inspiring passionate opposition from Spanish-speakers.
It is also worth noting that the existence of names such as Albrecht, Allemali and Di Alfonso speaks volumes for the multi-national make-up of the Candelarias' original settlers; never mind later waves of immigration.
As a country with multicultural sympathies from the off; most immigrants to the Candelarias of non- British or Spanish origin have felt it acceptable to retain their original surnames, with few alterations for ease of pronounciation. That said; Angalizations have not been uncommon, as witnessed by the high percentage of Anglo-Saxon Occupational and Patronomyc surnames within the population. Surnames are invariably handed down through the father's (or step-father's) line: double-barreled names have found little currency while the use of the unmarried mother's name still retains a socially undesirable overtone. Non-British surnames are believed to make up a slightly larger percentage of the modern population than is reflected in its actual ancestral make-up; rather more than half of such settlers being male whilst the country appealed for female arrivals predominately from Britain.
Choice of first names has been influenced by most of the world's preemininent historical English-speaking cultures, and as a result there is no obviously settled pattern for Candelariasian Christian names. Affectations such as the integral middle initial or initialisations of several forenames, or a suffix of eg. 'IV' and 'Jr.'; have been used throughout the decades without gaining mainstream popularity. In general, English-speaking Candelariasians chose between the very traditional, names popular in the British Isles at the time; and more inventive concoctions, mostly the transferred use of surnames. Candelariasians of non-British origin generally chose from the same group of names as their Anglo neighbours. In later years, C&M natives have become more adventurous with their choices; often now using names from their ancestral heritage, be they ones which clash with or complement the surname.
Despite - or perhaps because of - the significant influxes of non-Anglophones over the decades; the form of English spoken and written in the islands has diverged relatively little from its British origins. The media and publishing industry have remained almost ludicrously loyal to the "correct" forms of the 'Old Country', retaining traditional British spellings and resisting the creep of many New World words.
In accent, CE varies not inconsiderably across the country, being influenced by pockets of late 19th and early 20th century immigration. Many Candelariasians, particularly those of an "upper-class" bearing, pride themselves on their "cut-glass" English accents, though these are often complimented by the over-enunciation of certain syllables, particularly t. In general however, the Candelariasian accent most closely resembles that of the English West County. However, many of the grammatical and syntactical notables have all but disappeared outside the most rural areas in recent years, undoubtedly as a result of a certain amount of social stigmatism. These included the use of thee and thou, the use of to to denote location (i.e. Where's that to? = "Where's that?"), the use of be in the present tense (i.e. Where you be going to? = "Where are you going?"), and the swapping around of an "r" and the following vowel in words such as gurt (great) and chillurn (children).
Small amounts of the traditional vocabulary of that part of England is retained such as "acker" (friend), "hark" instead of "listen", "beast" instead of "animal" (particularly cattle) and "ooh, ar?" (for "oh, yes?").
The etymological reason for all this remains somewhat obscure, since it was the north-west and midlands of England that supplied the original Anglophone settlers in the greatest numbers. It seems probable however that those from the south-west that did arrive tended - by blind chance as much as anything - to remain in communities of their own rather than participate in the melting pot of elsewhere in the islands, thus helping to retain their speech patterns. Quite how they became so prevalent however remains uncertain.
The equally inexplicable influence of the Cockney accent and dialect - including its "rhyming slang" - has also often been noted, with expression such as "giz a butchers" (let me have a look), and words such as barnet, syrup, berk and cobblers still commonly heard today, particularly in medium-sized towns.
Also worth noting is the common Candelariasian habit of dropping redundant "I mean"s into a stream of consciousness.
The influence of other languages, even including Spanish, has been relatively low and, besides the obvious siesta, guerrilla, macho and other Spanish words adopted into world English, only a smattering have entered common Candelarias English; among them:
- Linda ~ the archetypal Candelarian woman featuring in the country's culture from the late 19th century onwards - blonde, tanned from a lifetime spent in the sunshine, demure and chaste yet quietly spirited and independent. Now more generally used to describe any "hot" woman, the word almost certainly comes from the Spanish feminine form of lindo, pretty.
- Makker ~ one who consistently makes a fool of himself, a lovable simpleton. From majadero, a fool.
- Liron ~ an early-evening siesta, from lirón, dormouse (and colloquially, "sleepyhead".)
- Surcar ~ with the emphasis on the first syllable; a snow plough or, latterly, any obnoxiously large vehicle. From the verb "to plough".
- Bisbisaring ~ to spread rumours. From the verb bisbisar, "to whisper".
- Ongo ~ really bad luck. From hongo, fungi.
- Cuatro... tres... dos... uno... Despeque! ~ the countdown for a rocket's lift-off. Used instead of the English equivalent for reasons no-one has plausibly explained.
- Main article: Literature in Candelaria And Marquez
As a small country; C&M and the Candelarias before it has derived much of its culture, 'high' and 'low' from the outside world; particularly, though not exclusively, through English-speaking authors, musicians and even painters. The country's own output is in comparison small, and seldom given overdue praise and attention by native critics; though the general public feasts on the limited output of their countrymen and women.
Candelarias literature is rooted in the literary traditions of Britain and Spain, but reached its zenith in the late nineteenth century when several of its authors gained international recognition, particularly in Britain. Georgina Guillaumin was, and remains, arguably the most infamous, her 1889 work The Birth of Beatrice being proudly thought of by many Candelariasians as containing some of the worst sex scenes in the English language, but is still thought of as a triumph of feminist authorship and a major influence on the development of a Candelariasian consciousness, particularly in Hispanic Marquez where her novels were widely read.
A number of her contemporaries also gained and have retained notoriety; Lionel Vickery's Wilderness Walks considered the Great Candelariasian Novel, while Shelby Ross's tragi-comic Several Irishmen of 1902 is a masterful examination of the impact of tiresomely extended periods of peace on the human condition.
More recent times have brought rather less success, though Candelariasians are justly proud of novelist-cum-playwright Joseph Ness, whose semi-autobiographical works The Quality of Being and On Being Wrong have attracted rave reviews in the renowned regional theatres of Rothera and Wigu, along with his most recent play Wicked Children, a satirical critique of righteous warfare. The country's more affluent classes remain keen theatre goers with large theatre districts in Albrecht and Arrigo.
C&M's most celebrated poets are the aforementioned Fernandéz Rodriquez and his contemporaries Homer Jones and Amy Boots-Gaunt. Internationally however, the country's most successful and prolific poet is Andrew Nuffield.
- Main article: Music in Candelaria And Marquez
Candelariasians nave never held much truck with "traditional" forms of music and dance and the islands possess no distinct "folk" culture of this nature. Classical music remains modestly popular, and domestic and foreign folk or 'alternative' music has a significant following. "Popular" music is also heavily influenced by English-speaking world culture, with quietly alternative rock predominately. After decades of chart domination by foreign acts; domestic C&M bands and artists have begun to make inroads not only in their own country but the wider region, through bands including Big Foot Social Club, Patsy's Magic Bullet and The High Court, singer-songwriters Guy Hirsz and Natasha Norman and the winner of the 2005 C&M Idol; Bryony Evans.
C&M has no particular history of film making, though a small number of notable international features have used the country’s both rural and urban areas to film. Domestically, the government provides funding to a small number of low-budget art house thingies. The islands’ most celebrated director of recent years is Krasimir Cook. He won the 2006 National Film Awards Best Candelarias Film award for his movie Some Nights in Albrecht; a story following a young Sorthern immigrant and a struggling Candelariasian painter as they find themselves and each other amongst the more downtrodden areas of the capital city. In 2007 he continued his success winning the NFA’s Best Direction in a Candelarias Film for She Wept; a movie exploring the love affair between a young Ariddian painter and a Candelariasian waitress and single mother in 1970s Arrigo.
- Main article: Sport in Candelaria And Marquez
Though not thought of as an innately athletic people, the watching and playing of various team and individual sports constitutes a significant part of both modern Candelariasian culture, and its national identity. Certainly, the Candelaria And Marquez national football team has rapidly become the institution for which the country is best known for around the world; while reports of international and domestic soccer matches, and incidents surrounding them, are a dominant feature of the country's broadcast media. The impact of international sport, and particularly football, on C&M national identity cannot be underestimated; with many is government and elsewhere offering concerns that the country’s increasing success on the world stage will come to damage the ‘average’ nature of the islands. Certainly, a number of media outlets and sportswriters are believed to have been pressured by the authorities to ‘tone down’ their reporting of heavy C&M victories.
Rugby Union, cricket and, among women, netball remain popular participation sports without maintaining great stadium attendances or media coverage. Largely solo events, such as golf, tennis, rowing, cycling and water sports, notably yachting, inspire more interest among the casual viewer.
C&M natives are also known for their love of table-top games; though the likes of chess and poker are subordinate to home-grown board games, many of which can last for days on end, often without a final result, and come with rule books that are frequently kept by the bed and are in part responsible for the country's very low rate of burglaries.
- Main article: Media in Candelaria And Marquez
- Main article: Religion in Candelaria And Marquez
The 2005 census indicated that Christianity was by far the largest faith with some 49% of respondents identifying themselves as adherents. Anglicanism was still the major denomination, though Roman Catholicism has showed signs of catching up. Islam and Buddhism accounted for 2% and 1.5% respectively, with adherents of both faiths maintaining a strong presence in C&M society.
The majority of the remainder identified themselves as 'non-religious', a fact which supports the limited impact of faith in public life. The secularist influence of the works of Reuben Merchant, and the country's natural quiet socialism, has led to an often militantly agnostic approach by much of the press, which regularly mocks politicians and other figures who express strong religious convictions. Those who commit themselves thus seldom manage great electoral success, in public or within their party. A notable exception of recent years has been the Christian People's Party, reformed in 1999 in the image of the once successful Christian Patriotic Party. Under the charismatic Joel Hopkins, they achieved an unprecedented 2.05% share of the popular vote in the 2004 election, garnering four MotHs. Joseph van der Woude's Humanist Party, created in 2001 largely to challenge Hopkins' group, gained 1.53% of the vote that year, giving them three MotHs. The Humanist's Party's status as a viable political force has been badly damaged, however, by the December 2006 revelation that several high-ranking party members -including two MotH - had been part of the Orange Nation Descendent Worshipping Cult during the early nineties (see below).
Due in part to the early secularisation and historical agnosticism of the islands; C&M has yet to experience the fall-out of the increasing lack of religiosity common to much of the West. New Age religions, and vague, trendy spiritualism, have yet to gain a real foothold in the country where they are generally treated with mild derision. Certainly in general, Candelariasians prefer organised religion for the communal aspect and reasons other than out-and-out 'spirituality' or claims of ultimate truth. For whatever reason, they have become a distinctly unsuperstitious people by nature, a 2006 poll suggesting that only 15% of citizens agreed with the phrase "Everything happens for a reason", while less than ten per cent reacted positively to the idea that "Prayer works".
"Orange Nation" is a term known only too well by most Candelariasians but clearly demands explanation to foreigners. The organisation first became nationally known in the late 1980s, where it was presented as a new, ‘secular’ religion. It was based around the idea of ‘descendent worship’; the notion that since technological, social and ‘spiritual’ progress will ensure that Humanity’s ability to make moral decisions improves will improve with every generation, humans at any one time must attempt to act and think in a manner than will have their, and their contempories’, descendents looking back on their ancestors’ behaviour in as positive a manner as possible. Personal satisfaction is therefore gained not from the approval – now or in the next life – by a God, gods, the spirits, the ancestors etcetera; but from the knowledge that people many years from now will approve of the decisions you made will such comparatively little understanding of the world and the human mind.
The faith therefore also encouraged environmentalism – since these future individuals could not be around to make these judgements if their world had been ruined by present-day humans; strongly frowned upon abortion and any form of child cruelty (including corporal punishment), and encouraged strict honesty with society’s children. Since the group also assumes that children are ‘innocent’ beings incapable of evil, and that there is no obvious dividing line between childhood and adulthood; no humans of any age can be considered ‘evil’ beings or ‘monsters’. Members were therefore encouraged to open their hearts and minds to even the worst of wrong-doers.
The O.N. attracted much suspicion in the Candelariasian press, particularly in the most secular papers and broadcasters who were worried that the ritualised faith of the Nationers could come to co-opt the country’s traditional agnosticism. Equally, the often shadowy nature of the group attracted scrutiny; with members often seen to wear cloaks and keeping their organisation’s hierarchy and history under wraps – even the origin of the name ‘Orange Nation’ remains unclear.
However, most such outlets struggled to find ways of criticising the group too vociferously, since their claimed beliefs seemed little different to those inherent in Candelariasian Merchantism; while their charity work was clearly selfless and achieved notable successes.
In the mid-90s however, the O.N. was rocked by lurid allegations, and subsequent convictions, of three of its members on child abuse charges. In a country not used to such stories, the actions of the two 32-year-old men and 17-year-old girl dominated the national media for many weeks. Though the O.N’s hierarchy continually stressed that their actions were unconnected to their involvement in the organisation and utterly against the group’s beliefs; the faith was never-the-less subject to intense criticism and became ubiquitously labled as a ‘cult’. In the months that followed, a catalogue of reports emerged from former members of the group, detailing what they had seen, done or been subject to during their time with the O.N.
It must be said that as the years have gone by, most of these more recent stories have been withdrawn with several of the former members admitting they had been lying from the start. The mud however has well and truly stuck, the story taking a new twist when two parliamentary members of the small Humanist Party – Lewis Ambani and Libby Williams – admitted that they had been members of the O.N. in late 2006 – more than two years after they had entered the House. Their failure to disclose this earlier led to their immediate dismissal from the party; Williams resigning from the House altogether, Ambani remaining as an Independent. Dr. Williams has recently been appointed C&M’s Ambassador to Kura-Pelland.
- Main article: Cuisine of Candelaria And Marquez
The contents of typical meals in Anglo Candelariasian and Hispanic Marquezian communities inevitably resembles that of their respective British and Spanish heritage; and has often altered to adopt the changing eating habits of the mother countries rather than embrace genuine innovation.
The concept of barbeques as social events has never taken off in the Candelarias in the same way as many other former British colonies; but the evening meal is still considered a major communal - and particularly familial - event. Recent polls have revealed an almost 50-50 social split between households where the woman is expected to carry out the bulk of the preparation duties and strict table manner are observed; and those that take a more relaxed view where all family members are expected to play their part, and the 'correct' use of cutlery and saying of grace is largely forgotten. Most however reported that the family always sat around a dining table rather than embrace the 'TV dinner' of other nations, except when a major live sporting event is on.
As with Britain, numerous dishes of a variety of origins have been easily integrated into the Candelariasian diet often rapidly succeeding native meals in their popularity, such as the ubiquitous curry and spaghetti bolognese. Reflecting the country's own waves of immigration; Brazilian, Chinese and Turkish dishes are also not uncommonly found used in homes regardless of the ethnic heritage of the makers. Regular restaurant attendance has traditionally been the preserve of the wealthiest or 'foody', with a restaurant meal reserved for special occasions for the majority. The picture is somewhat different in the most urban, and particularly most diverse, areas; with Chinese, Italian and Pakistani restaurants particularly well patronised. The rise of the 'fast-food culture' has been very much evident in recent years, though in keeping with C&M society generally there are few major chain companies of this nature, and those that exist are almost entirely home grown. They, like all food outlets in the country, have had to adapt to C&M's increasing vegetarianism.
A 'pub culture' still exists in C&M, though the country's dislike of heavy drinking has led to the development of a continental-style 'café culture'. However, since the population's seemingly unending creep into social puritanism has made the ingestion of caffeine increasingly frowned upon; Candelariasians now drink copious amounts of fruit juice.
For all this however, a majority of Candelariasians rate 'fish n chips' as their favourite meal; and the 'full English' is still considered the basic breakfast.