Culture in Russia

 

Culture in Russia
Culture in Russia

Culture in Russia, or the USSR is rich and many faceted.  Russia is a vast country with and estimated population of 150 million people.  Approximately 81% of the people speak the official language of Russia as their primary language.  There are more than a 100 minority languages but the most popular spoken language is Tartar.

Proud and hardworking, Russians value family and the connection it provides.  Most families live in small apartments, often with 2 or 3 generations sharing the same space.  In modern times the typical family has only one child because of the necessity of women to work outside the home to help support the income of the family. Very patriotic, they love patriotic songs and events that support their country’s patriotic efforts and they expect others to also recognize this also.

Russian life today centers around the collective spirit. This first began many years ago when life centered on the agricultural village commune, where the land was held in common and decision-making was the province of an assembly of the heads of household.

Several interesting traditions the Russians have when greeting a friend or family member is for men giving a firm, almost bone crushing handshake and for women kissing the other person three times on the cheek alternating the cheek each time. Men give a less firm handshake for women.  Friends may give a pat on the back and a hug.

Gift giving is a tradition that is observed on birthdays, New Years and Orthodox Christmas between close friends and family. If you are invited to the home of a Russian family you should take a small gift.  Men are expected to bring flowers but don’t bring yellow. Don’t give a baby gift before the birth.  It is considered bad luck to do so.  Russians typically will refuse a gift when it is first given but will usually accept it if you ask again to please accept the gesture of kindness.

According to Wikki, “Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the ensuing civil war, Russian cultural life was left in chaos. Some prominent writers, like Ivan Bunin and Vladimir Nabokov left the country, while a new generation of talented writers joined together in different organizations with the aim of creating a new and distinctive working-class culture appropriate for the new state, the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1920s writers enjoyed broad tolerance. In the 1930s censorship over literature was tightened in line with Joseph Stalin’s policy of socialist realism. After his death the restrictions on literature were eased, and by the 1970s and 1980s, writers were increasingly ignoring official guidelines.” Art and music have also have flourished since restrictions eased in recent years offering artists a more relaxed approach to their creativity. This has also contributed to an increased interest to culture in Russia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion in Australia

Religion in Australia

In previous blogs, I explored the topics of culture and education, but it is important to also to consider religion in Australia.  The statistics seem to fluctuate widely depending on the source of information. One source reported that 94% of the population were Christians, but according to Wikki, “In the 2011 Census, 61.14% of the Australian population were recorded as adhering to Christianity. Historically the percentage has been far higher and the religious landscape of Australia is diversifying, along with multicultural immigration and 22.3% of people with no religious affiliation.[1] 22.3% of Australians declared “no-religion” on the 2011 Census, and a further 8.55% did not answer the question.[1] The remaining population is a diverse group which includes Buddhist (2.46%), Islamic (2.21%), Hindu (1.28%) and Jewish (0.45%) communities.”

The Catholic religion is predominate Christian denomination, followed by Anglican and then the Uniting Church of Australia.

Christian Denominations in Australia
Christian Denominations in Australia

Religious organizations have played a significant role in public life and Australia has a strong tradition of secular government.

 

 

 

Education in Australia

 

Education in Australia

Education in Australia is considered to be advanced and is broken down into basically three categories that includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or Vocational Education and Training). There is another classification according to the sources of funding and administrative structures which includes government schools (public schools or state schools), Catholic schools, and independent schools (private schools).

Private schools usually have religious affiliations and public schools usually are secular but may offer optional religious affiliations.  64% of children in Australia attend public schools and  34% attend Catholic schools. Uniforms are customary.

Education in Australia with students in uniform
Education in Australia with students in uniform

Education in Australia is the responsibility of the states or territories.  The Australian federal government helps fund the  public universities, but does not set the curriculum. According to Wikipedia, “The Education Index, published with the UN‘s Human Development Index in 2008, based on data from 2006, lists Australia as 0.993, among the highest in the world, tied for first with Denmark and Finland.”