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Martopia

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Martopia

Post by Birchbark on Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:12 am

Here's a cultural insight...

Customs
“Custom, then, is the great guide of human life,” wrote Scottish philosopher David Hume. Knowing the customs of a country is, in effect, a guide to understanding the soul of that country and its people. The following article is intended to provide a glimpse into the unique world of this nation’s customs: how people marry, how families celebrate holidays and other occasions, what people eat, and how they socialize and have fun.

Marriage and Family
Most Martopian girls have a party at age 16 to celebrate becoming a mina. Young people get to know each other at local parties, large family gatherings, dances, and so forth. Parents generally expect to approve of any marriage partners. For a marriage to be legal, a civil wedding must be performed, but couples may also have a church wedding. Many couples enter into common-law relationships, while others have children but do not live together.

Family ties and loyalty remain strong, but there has been a shift from the extended family to the smaller nuclear family. The average family has two to four children, and many children now leave home when they have finished school. There has also been an increase in the number of people choosing not to have children. Divorce is common, but second marriages are not.

Many Martopian women marry in their early 20s, but the men tend to marry later, in their mid-20s or early 30s. Although women have gained greater prominence and rights in recent decades, Martopian society is still largely male dominated. For the older generation, family, religion, tradition, and education are the core values. The elderly are respected and have considerable authority.

Eating
Martopian cuisine is influenced by the foods of France, Italy, England, and Georgia. The Martopians consider cooking an art. The first Martopian cookbooks date back to the 1800s. Regional traditions are strong. There are several types of cooking, ranging from hearty, inexpensive fare to sophisticated dishes with costly ingredients and rich, complex sauces.

The Martopians generally eat a light breakfast (petit wany), which may consist of hanoп (small chocolate cookies) or pancakes and coffee or tea. Lunch (wanoг) was once the main meal of the day, but now many people—particularly in urban areas—have a lighter lunch and eat their main meal in the evening. In Marla (the capital), lunch is usually eaten at around 1 PM and dinner (waser) at 9 PM or later. People tend to eat earlier in other areas.

Fast food has been resisted by the Martopians, although this resistance has not been entirely successful, and many hamburger restaurants operate across the country. In fast food’s most traditional form there are filled croissants and sandwiches that can be purchased in shops and cafés. Cafés also offer crow moni (toasted ham and cheese) and a plate of salad-type vegetables or a cold-meat assortment (leboni) for a light meal.

Popular dishes include Dor Dag (candied cashews in honey), which is popular with the children of Martopia, Fiгana (smoked dolphin), which is considered a delicacy and is very expensive, Tanaпa (pumpkin and squash paste), often eaten as a side dish, and Wala (chanterelle and truffles with pheasant), eaten on special occasions.

In informal gatherings, many hosts indicate that it is appropriate to begin eating by saying Nota Daica ('Eat with hunger'). It is considered bad manners to rest one’s elbows on the table or to put one’s hands on one’s lap, but it is perfectly acceptable to rest one’s forearms on the table. Even children are expected to stay at the table until a meal is over. It is considered inappropriate to eat with a fork only, and forks are not provided for eating dessert, just a small spoon.

Socializing
A firm handshake is the accepted way of greeting and parting from acquaintances, even children, although it is quite usual for friends to kiss each other on alternate cheeks—close male friends sometimes hug each other.

The standard phrases for greeting include Bana (“Good day”), Somisan (“Hello, Hi”) and Commi shoгa? Or the more informal Chi cha? (Both meaning “How are you?”).

By tradition, only family members and close friends address each other by their first names. In formal greetings, Martopians use surnames and titles, such as Wr (“Mr.”), Wri (“Mrs.”), and Mina (“Miss”). If someone sneezes, a person may say Taka! (“Good health!”). When parting, Martopians say Volyano (“See you again”) or simply Volya (“See you”). “Thank you” is expressed with Ranak. The use of Prolаз (“Please”) is considered polite before making any requests and is also used for saying “You’re welcome.”

“Yes” is indicated by shaking the head from side to side and “no” is expressed with one or two nods of the head. In a line or crowd, physical contact is common and accepted. Martopians often touch while conversing, and female friends might walk arm-in-arm down the street.

When visiting someone’s home, it is normal to wait outside the door until invited in; similarly, guests do not let themselves out but wait for the host to open the door. Most visits are prearranged, usually by invitation. Good friends visiting a couple who have just moved into a new home bring bread, salt, and a bottle of wine to wish them well. Guests invited for dinner normally take a small gift. Among younger people, the guests might bring dessert. People are seldom invited to the home to discuss business. Such matters are taken care of in offices, restaurants, or cafés. It is important to compliment the host on the cooking and the wine, because good cooking is a matter of much pride in Martopian homes.

Recreation
Martopian families enjoy taking walks, going to the park or the beach, and picnicking. Popular sports include basketball, soccer, rowing boats, volleyball, cycling, tennis, and skiing. Families enjoy camping, and those who live near the coast enjoy going to the beach. Other popular leisure activities include watching television, visiting, and gardening. Bridge is a favorite card game. Cultural events are usually well attended, especially ones involving national dance and song. Urban Martopians often have a loгalo (summer house) in the country where they generally spend weekends and holidays, and they often grow fruits and vegetables there. The local singers and groups are very popular. Some examples of them are; MariAnna, Yo-Yo, Todd the Great, and OhMyGod!.

Holidays and Celebrations
Feast of the Year (23 February) is a day when the government gets a big, long table in every city for the people so that they can fill it up with different goodies.

Today Day (1 April) is THE day when you celebrate the day that is today!

National Mourning Day (4 July). This day is when we joined World War I against Germany.

I Don’t Know We Have This Day (30 August) is a day when we remember all the times in the past 365 days when you didn’t know what to do.

Koliady (16 September) is a day when children go door to door asking for sweets or snacks. They usually wear costumes of different famous people from around the world. The people usually let in the “famous” for some hot chocolate with biscuits.

Day of the Cedar (21 October) is the day when we commemorate the time when we saved the Lebanon Cedar from extinction by having 80 saplings brought to the Grand Marla Botanical Garden.

Green March Day (6 November) is when we march around the city in green clothes to collect money to protect the environment.

Other official holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), Father’s Day (3 January), President Day (21 January), Easter (First Thursday of April through following Monday), Sophie Dreamer Day (23 March), May Day (1 May), Martopian Culture and Science Day (24 May), Flag Day (29 May), Army Day (30 June), Youth Day (9 July), Day of the Child (10 September), National Day (24 October), School Day (27 October), All Saints’ Day (1 November), National Farmer's Day (1 December), Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December) and Mother’s Day (28 December).
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Birchbark

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Re: Martopia

Post by emperordaniel on Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Interesting culture Smile btw, did you discover who killed Sophie Dreamer yet?
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Re: Martopia

Post by Birchbark on Fri May 06, 2011 2:49 am

Find out in my next number of the Marla Mag!
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Re: Martopia

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