Culture of Kelssek
The culture of Kelssek is in general instinctively egalitarian and community-minded, and Kelssekians have a passion for sport and the arts. Modern art, in particular, has manifested itself greatly since the 1980s and forms a major part of Kelssek's international cultural profile, along with many other significant contributions to popular culture in film and music.
Kelssekians in general are liberal and community-minded, valuing education, artistic creation and sport. Just as social responsibility and compassion are valued, selfishness and greed are often met with both disdain and incomprehension; wastefulness and profligacy are often held in outright contempt. Individual identity is respected and independence is held as a virtue; although normally friendly and hospitable, Kelssekians can generally be rather introverted and there is a recognised seperation in Kelssek culture between "lone time" and "social time".
Little emphasis is placed on the accumulation of material wealth or possessions in Kelssek culture, rather, social life or artistic and sporting activities tend to take precedence. Given a choice most Kelssekians choose leisure time over greater income, a choice made possible by the strong power of organised labour in the nation. The culture, however, has been criticised at times for encouraging mediocrity and not adequately rewarding ambition. In the words of one observer, "Kelssekians just want to live comfortable lives and once they've got a stable income and a decent place to live they don't seem to care about making more out of and for themselves. And if you threaten that, they can get violently angry."
Care and handling: a visitor's guide
Kelssekians are normally very warm and friendly to strangers and will take a curiosity in foreigners, often almost interrogating them about their home country. There is usually no need to fear unless you have been escorted to your present location in handcuffs, or the building you are in appears to have something to do with the intelligence service.
Many Kelssekians have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humour which can be very difficult to catch even for other Kelssekians. If someone says or does something that appears absurd, blatantly and outrageously rude or offensive, or completely idiotic, they are almost always joking, very drunk, or both. They are also often self-deprecating. Laugh along with such jokes; you are not expected to offer sympathy, although buying others a drink is always a good idea in any situation.
It is best to avoid stereotypes or oversimplification of political ideologies, particularly those on the leftist side of the scale, as this may prompt lengthy and often very boring lectures.
The territory of the Guedian Kingdom, precursor to modern Kelssek, was relatively unexplored and wild, with an economy founded on trapping and hunting. Harsh winters were spent in community areas like village long halls and food was usually grown communally due to the random and arbitrary manner in which the feudal lords collected taxes, which would have left families without any food for themselves if their neighbours did not share with them and eventually led to the harvests being pooled communally. The nation's history, with many people gaining their living from being in the forests, perhaps also contributed to the appreciation of natural beauty and the fiercely protective attitude taken toward wilderness in Kelssek today.
The revolution which led to Confederation also entrenched socialism in the political culture, led as it was by socialists. The 1964 Riots, which stemmed from utility privatisation, are hence both symptomatic of the Kelssekian attitude towards what is regarded as public, common trust, and a source of that persisting concept today which also manifests in a cynical attitude towards capitalism. Whether the culture's low priority on material wealth caused, or is the cause of this is often a subject of academic debate.
"In other countries, people ask, 'Do you play sport?'; in Kelssek, people ask 'What sport do you play?'". Sport is a major feature of Kelssek's culture. Ice hockey is almost universally popular and phrases related to it are a common part of the lexicon (I fanned on it - "I allowed an opportunity to slip by"), while rugby union, soccer, tennis, water polo, lacrosse and curling are also widely popular. Major sporting events like the Desjardins Cup Final series or the KRU Cup Final often paralyse the nation, and this is even more so in the case of international events where Kelssek is taking part such as the Olympic Games, World Cup of Hockey, or the Rugby World Cup.
Language and bilingualism
Official bilingualism has been in place since 1978, and all school children are taught both English and French from primary school level regardless of where they live. It can also be taken as an elective in secondary school onwards, but many students are content with the basic knowledge of the second official language after six years of learning.
All federal government documents and notices must be in both English and French. Provincial and lower-level governments may choose which languages to use; for example, the city government of Kirkenes, which has large immigrant populations, routinely uses English, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian in its communications. Significant minorites of Celtic language speakers also live in parts of Haligonia and Noua Cymru.
Immigration and multiculturalism
Kelssek is extremely open to immigration and it is estimated as of 2006 that almost a quarter of its population is foreign-born. Multiculturalism is the norm in most cities and is itself what immigrants are expected to "assimilate" to, particularly in the major urban centres of Kirkenes, Outineau, Neorvins, and Burnaby. Multiculturalism is also enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a constitutional document which demands that all laws be interpreted by the judiciary with this concern in mind.
The great majority of Kelssekians consider themselves unbelievers, if not atheists. In a 2006 survey, only 10% agreed with the statement, "I consider myself religious", and in fact, religion is viewed with suspicion, if not outright disdain, by most Kelssekians; in the same survey an overwhelming 74% agreed that "religion today has a negative effect on the world". Although the 2004 census shows that the majority do profess a religious faith, in practice few are observant of religion and are part of a religion in name only. An increasing number of people are declaring themselves as atheists on census forms, as of 2004 the proportion was 28%. It can be said, however that the god that Kelssekians disbelieve in is the Christian one, as 48% identified themselves as either Protestants or Roman Catholics in 2004.
The Christian religious holidays of Easter and Christmas are official public holidays at the federal level, although the latter is more often celebrated in a secular manner than in a religious one.
The maple leaf has long been a symbol associated with Kelssek, while red and blue are the national colours. Motifs using a combination of these elements are a common feature of logos.
Modern Kelssek has a complex relationship with symbols of the monarchic past. Although the late 19th century continues to be considered a dark period of exploitation and poverty, achievements of the kingdom up to that time have seen a recent rehabilitation. Some of the castles from that period, previously left neglected and considered as symbols of monarchy and dictatorship, have been restored recently, rehabilitated as part of national heritage, and have become tourist attractions.
Even during the Guedian Kingdom, the arts formed an integral part of life for all classes. Trade unions usually operated theatres for their members, allowing the working class access to a variety of artistic performances, and set up the famous Workingmens' Libraries from the early 19th century as the basis of their social functions, and later, to organise rebellion. Even though the average Kelssekian remained relatively uneducated before Kieran Pearson took power in the 1950s, they were able to appreciate the literary and theatrical arts thanks to the efforts of the trade unions.
However, the culture and arts were mainly imported at this point and Kelssek had little artistic creation of its own. It was not until the mid-1970s, when the generation first benefiting from Pearson's universal and free education policies reached adulthood, that Kelssek began to produce its own real culture in a prolific and sustained manner. No doubt aided by the supportive environment for artistic endeavour and the Kelssek Broadcasting Corporation, the 1970s produced an explosion of successful playwrights, painters and novelists, and also saw the beginnings of Kelssek's film industry as modern arts gained prominence. The architectural landscape also began to change with revolutionary new designs making themselves known. The cultural observer Chuck Roger observed, "We want everything to be beautiful and thought-provoking now. Our next revolution is going to come from a paintbrush."
Today, Kelssek is a major source of popular culture through a reputation for authenticity and understated style, often centred around university districts in its cities and the numerous spaces for artistic expression created by the profusion of galleries, coffee houses, music venues and studios, creating a vibrancy and a unique flavour which often is a defining point for Kelssekian cities more than economic significance, which tends to be marginalised in Kelssekian culture. Intelligence and originality are valued in artistic creation of all kinds.
Food and drink
- See also: Kelssekian beer
Food is a passion in Kelssek and good food is very important to the people. Public food markets featuring local produce can be found in every community; supermarkets are nearly non-existent in Kelssek outside of major cities; the great majority obtain their groceries from these markets or from butchers, wholesalers, and retail outlets of farming cooperatives which each sell a specific type of produce. Most fishermen are members of the Eastern Seafood Cooperative, which provides areas for them to sell their catch directly to the general public and also packages and transports fresh seafood for sale in the interior and for export. Local farming cooperatives serve similar functions in rural areas and supply produce directly to consumers, restaurants, and retailers. Many Kelssekians subscribe to "green box" (or "boîte verte") services which deliver an assortment of produce to their homes on a weekly basis.
Various certification programs exist to certify foods as organic or authentic to a particular traditional method (Wenerdere cheese, for example) and to guarentee quality. The street food scene is also a feature in some cities, where hawker carts often bristle with award certificates and laudatory newspaper clippings. Kelssek's cosmopolitan society means that there is no real indigenous "Kelssekian" cuisine; it is a fusion of Italian, French, Japanese, and Southeast Asian influences and the foods of various ethnic groups proliferate in urban restaurants - Japanese and Mediterranean foods are the most popular. The traditional roast, a cut of meat roasted in an oven with a variety of spices and seasonings - is also a food rooted in the country's rural traditions.
In addition, great varieties of alcoholic beverages are made in Kelssek and often are strongly linked with local identities; for example, Haligonia and Kieffers beer, or Wenerderian wines. Kelssek is a major producer of all kinds of alcoholic beverages, and as with food, Kelssekians in general demand and appreciate quality products, although Kelssekians tend to be markedly more picky about beer than with other beverages, except in Beaulac and Wenerdere where wines are also taken seriously.
The Kelssekian expatriate often finds it incomprehensible that people in other nations care little about the origin of their produce or know the name of the farm their fruits were grown in. Enthusiasm about the fact that their grocery bills can be reduced by as much as half tends to wear off quickly; and they often be found retreating into the premium foods section, muttering about the reliability of foreign "organic" certifications and 100-mile diets.
The main outpost of the typical Kelssek dining and drinking experience overseas is the "Kelssekian bar". Apart from a wide variety of beers from Kelssek, it would also offer these popular Kelssekian dishes:
- Bobbies - Prawn heads fried in batter and served with a wedge of lemon. While purists will insist on Kewatin prawns, any large prawn is suitable for this dish.
- Poutine - A Beaulac-origin dish; thick-cut French fries served with gravy and cheese curds.
- Prawn and tomato cocktail - Shelled boiled prawns cut lengthwise and served in a chilled mixture of diced and pureéd tomatoes. A typical food of the Haligonian coast.
- Matthusah - Cream of chicken soup, baked with a puff pastry covering the bowl.
- Outineau smoked meat (Viande fumée de Outineau) - While many will claim the "real thing" cannot be obtained outside of Outineau, that doesn't stop people from trying. Typically served in the form of a sandwich with pickles and coleslaw.
- Latrobe soup - Clear beef broth served with chunks of stewed beef.
- Oyster shooters - Although now largely considered a delicacy oysters in Kelssek were historically considered working-class food in coastal areas. Small oysters are used for Kelssek shooters; they are usually served in shotglasses with similar toppings as used for eating larger ones such as lemon juice, hot sauce, cold tomato pureé, or a dash of white vinegar and spring onion.
- Bangers - A dish eaten across the country with infinite combinations of local variations: sausages, which will vary by region, served with scalloped or mashed potatoes. For example, the Grongérie region of Beaulac will have tripe sausages and scalloped potatoes with mustard (saucisson Grongériase), while in Burnaby the sausages will likely be a blend of beef and pork served with mash, and Haligonians will demand veal sausages with potaotes au gratin.
- Pancakes with maple syrup - There is no more Kelssekian breakfast.
- Suronan stew - A hearty country meat stew of oxtail and other cheap beef cuts, made with Porter or stout.
It is said, particularly in comparison with other societies, that other people live to work, while in Kelssek people work to live. Work is seen as a necessary evil in order to allow one to live comfortably and enjoy one's leisure time through cultural events, participating in sports, or socialising.
The attitude to work is a complex one. A history of socialism has created a cultural disdain for people perceived not to be pulling their weight, or those "leeching off the dole" by abusing the welfare system, accompanied with respect for "hard" work, i.e. involving manual labour or "dirty" jobs like sanitation. At the same time, Kelssekians across all industries and sectors work among the fewest hours in the developed world, although they have very high productivity. Federal legislation mandates a maximum 40-hour standard workweek and a minimum of 21 days paid vacation for full-time workers, but many businesses set shorter hours and in 2008 the average number of hours worked per week was 35.9.
|Main article: Kelssek|
|Topics: Culture, Economy, Education, History, Kelssekian beer, Time zones, Universities|
| Major cities: Kirkenes, Outineau, Burnaby, Neorvins, Mazinaw, Vickery, Saint-Remy, Clayquot,|
Breton, Ulyanov, Langlois, Latrobe, Colwyn
|Politics and government: President of Kelssek, Prime Minister of Kelssek, Parliament of Kelssek|
| Sports: Kelssek Hockey League, Rugby Superleague, Kelssek Water Polo League,|
Kelssek Football League, KRU Cup, Kelssekian Olympic Committee
| Other: Air Kelssek, Celestar, Kelssek Broadcasting Corporation, Kelssek dollar,|
National anthem, Trades Union Congress, Velocit
|Other articles within Category:Kelssek|