It is Friday, World Music Friday!
Today we travel to the Antipodes, to Australia. Since 1788, the basis of Australian culture has been strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic Western culture. Distinctive cultural features have also arisen from Australia's natural environment and Indigenous cultures. Since the mid-20th century, American popular culture has strongly influenced Australia, particularly through television and cinema. Other cultural influences come from neighboring Asian countries and through large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking nations.
Founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers and brave soldiers; of sporting heroes, working heroes and plucky migrants. It’s all about a fair go, the great outdoors and a healthy helping of irony. Today Australia also defines itself by its Aboriginal heritage, vibrant mix of cultures, innovative ideas and a thriving arts scene.
The oldest surviving cultural traditions in Australia—and some of the oldest surviving cultural traditions on earth—are those of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Their ancestors have inhabited Australia for between 40,000 and 60,000 years, living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The Dreamtime is the sacred ‘time before time’ of the world’s creation. According to Aboriginal belief, totemic spirit ancestors emerged from the earth and descended from the sky to awaken a dark and silent world. They created the sun, moon and stars, forged mountains, rivers, trees and waterholes and changed into human and animal forms. Spirit ancestors connect this ancient past with the present and future through every aspect of Aboriginal culture. Rock art, craft and bark painting reveal Dreamtime stories, mark territory and record history, while songs tell of Dreamtime journeys, verbally mapping water sources and other essential landmarks. Their special lyrics have been passed down virtually unchanged for at least 50,000 years, and are often accompanied by clap sticks or the deep throb of the didgeridoo. Similarly, traditional dances reveal creation myths; enact the deeds of Dreamtime heroes and even recent historical events.
Here is a sample of the traditional music of the native people of Australia. Enjoy this masterpiece of aboriginal folk music and the fascinating sound of the didgeridoo (the traditional aboriginal wooden "drone pipe")!
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro
What to have for breakfast?
Even the most seasoned expat used to living abroad and getting used to different cultures, will tell you that breakfast will have to be something they are comfortable with. Breakfast helps us to start the day, is very much habitual and constant, and who wants to experiment with their taste-buds first thing in the morning??
This article mentions the changes in American breakfast habits in recent years. It used to be that a box of cereal and milk with orange juice was a staple in every American household. Now, cereal sales are struggling and people are changing their habits! What is your family’s typical breakfast like these days?
As a foreigner living in China, we have come across many different types of breakfasts. In the north, people like to grab freshly steamed wheat buns with filling (baozi) or without filling (mantou). Some will go for a fried dough version (youtiao), which might resemble a straight doughnut, but a little salty. All these breakfast options can be washed down with fresh, warm soy milk. And then there is porridge, that can pretty much be found anywhere. You can add any condiments or pickles of your choice.
My personal favorite breakfast so far in China, is the rice noodle soup from Yunnan province. It’s a simple broth with slippery rice noodles, with all the condiments your heart can desire. When you walk up to the window, you must make a choice of the type of rice noodle (flat, wide, thin, etc.) and choice of meat (pork chop, ground pork, pork with ginger, pork blood, beef, chicken, etc.). They are usually about $1. The condiment table is filled with different herbs, sauces, hot pepper sauce, bean paste and pickles. My favorite is chopped herbs, hot pepper sauce, freshly pickled vegetables and if I don’t have to meet with anybody, chopped garlic. As you can imagine, each bowl of noodle becomes a completely different item with your customization.
After being exposed to many different types of flavors and breakfast options, I still cannot wake up without my coffee. I can’t imagine coffee ever being replaced by tea or warm soy milk.
- Yumi Zaic
It is Friday, World Music Friday!
Today we travel to Canada. Canada's culture is a product of its ethnicities, languages, religions, political and legal system(s). Being a settler nation, Canada has been shaped by waves of migration that have combined to form a unique blend of art, cuisine, literature, humor and music. Today, Canada has a diverse makeup of nationalities and constitutional protection for policies that promote multiculturalism rather than cultural assimilation.
In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy to protect and promote diversity, recognize the rights of Aboriginal peoples, and support the use of Canada’s two official languages.
Multiculturalism is used to refer to a society that is characterized by ethnic or cultural heterogeneity; to refer to an ideal of equality and mutual respect among population’s ethnic or cultural group’s; and to refer to policies implemented by the federal government in 1971 and subsequently by a number of provinces.
The declaration of Canada as a bilingual and multicultural nation resulted in an explosion of multicultural research. Publications and literature were developed, many national research surveys were launched, ethnicity identity research escalated, and organizations were established to support diversity. Multiculturalism was celebrated as a new vision of Canadian identity, which would foster a global understanding of all ethnic communities.
Despite the official policies, segments of the Canadian population are critical of the concept(s) of a cultural mosaic and implementation(s) of multiculturalism legislation. Quebec's ideology differs from that of the other provinces in that its official policies focus on interculturalism, which involves moving beyond mere passive acceptance of a multicultural fact of multiple cultures effectively existing in a society and instead promotes dialogue and interaction between cultures.
Leonard Cohen, the legendary Canadian Singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist, is an example of this country shaped by waves of immigrants. Born in an English-speaking area of Montreal, Quebec, of a Lithuanian Jewish decent mother, and of a Polish decent father, here a beautiful song of his, So long, Marianne,
Enjoy the song and the weekend!
- Alba Serrano-Miro
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.