Culture of Urcea
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The culture of Urcea is primarily of Occidental origin and formed from its predominantly Christian religious life, its interaction with the cultures of Levantia including those it incorporated, and the impact of the Holy Levantine Empire. Based on the joint legacies and cultural inheritances of the Gaels and Great Levantia and its Adonerii ancestors, a unique culture blending the cultural traditions of both legacies emerged by the 10th century. Although Urcean culture is a distinct entity, the individual cultures of the various regions of the country - such as Canaery and the Ionian Highlands are diverse and have varying degrees of overlap and distinctiveness. Many Urcean cultural elements, especially from popular culture, have spread across the globe through modern mass media.
- 1 Influences
- 2 Social class
- 3 Heritage
- 4 Education
- 5 Attitudes and worldview
- 5.1 Social ideals
- 5.2 Politics and statecraft
- 5.3 Philosophy
- 5.4 Urceanity
- 6 Kinship
- 7 Cuisine
- 8 Religion
- 9 Arts and Literature
- 10 Media
- 11 Sports
- 12 Music
- 13 Symbols
- 14 See also
The culture of Urcea is influenced a great deal by the cultural legacy of the Latinic people and Great Levantia, which existed for nearly a millennia ending in 503 AD. During that time, Great Levantia became the primary cultural, military, and political force in Levantia.
Geography, climate, and immigration
In recent years, the culture of Urcea has been substantially influenced by cultural interaction with the peoples of Western Crona via Urcea's involvement in The Deluge. In particular, the growing prevalence of "crossover culture" in New Yustona has introduced new types of food and music into mainstream Urcean culture, though many social scholars have noted that it will take several decades before elements of Cronite culture are fully embedded in everyday Urcean life. Most prevalent by the late 2030s was the introduction of certain Cronite words as slang in everyday Urcean language.
See Also: Social class in Urcea
Urcea is a relatively class-mobile country without rigid social distinction, though the most common observation is that there are three "soft" classes; a lower or working class, a middle class, and an upper class. Historically, Urcea employed a distinct class system based on property requirements, inheritance, and heredity, and, during the high medieval period, serfdom. Much of the social structure was disrupted during the Saint's War and Great Confessional War, leading to a weakening of the class system and end of serfdom following the latter conflict. Formal class distinctions remained on the books until the end of the Red Interregnum, when they were functionally abolished by King Patrick III during the restoration.
See Also: Urcean people
The issue of Urcean cultural identity, sometimes referred to as "Urceanity", has long been a topic of discussion, especially among academics. Popular opinion, along with academic consensus, has established a few basic criteria of who Urceans are, especially including a joint Latinic and Gaelic ethnic and linguistic heritage. Many Urceans view neither Adonerum nor Gallawa as their direct ancestral state, and many national historians view Great Levantia with skepticism, although the Royal Institution for National Heritage along with the majority of scholars at the Collegium Scientificum argue that the hybridization of Celtic and Latinic cultures began under the auspices of Great Levantia or earlier, and that the so-called "Latin invasion" of Adonerum and Great Levantia involved a great deal of cultural mixing.
Although the majority of Urcea being populated by individuals describing themselves as ethnic Urceans, there are other groups in Urcea with similar ethnic origins that retain an individual identity. There is significant debate surrounding most of these groups, especially the Caenish and Gassavelian people; many Caens and Gassavelians, as well as sociologists, consider their identity to be under the umbrella of Urcean ethnicity due to the cultural admixture responsible for creating the Urcean identity. This position is disputed by nationalists in these groups, who are a relatively small minority, as well as historians and sociologists who view the groups to be distinct enough to not be considered an offshoot of the Urcean identity. There are also Ænglish and Latinic peoples, descendants of people who lived in areas acquired by Urcea in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Not included in this listing are Carolines, who are widely agreed to be an extension of the Urcean ethnicity.
Main Article: Caenish people
Caenish people are the descendants of Gothic people who migrated out of Gothica to the southern parts of Levantia in the late 3rd and early 4th century. Following initial efforts by Great Levantia to defeat the Caens, they were eventually settled as Foederati in modern Canaery. After further raids and wars, the Caens eventually settled in and rapidly intermarried with the local Gaels and Latins, forming a unique culture similar to that of the Urcean people by the 800s. Incorporated into the Holy Levantine Empire, Caens became increasingly exposed to the culture of other South Levantines such as the Urceans, increasing cultural exchange and integration. The Urcean Crown received Canaery in 1144, though it would remain separately governed for centuries. Despite this, the Caenish nobility increasingly adopted Urcean styles and customs, strengthening the cultural ties between the two peoples. By the time Canaery was fully integrated into the Apostolic Kingdom, there was very little resistance as the Caens and Urceans saw each other as brothers rather than that of conquered and conqueror.
Main Article: Garán people
Garán people, sometimes also called "Carolines", are the people native to the lands of the Grand Duchy of Carolina, now split into the provinces of Lower Carolina and Upper Carolina. During the collapse of Great Levantia, many Gaelic people were pushed south into modern Carolina by advancing Gothic people, overwhelming local Levantine authorities and creating a large demographic shift away from previously Latinic majorities, especially in the cities. Despite their common heritage, the Gaels in Carolina resisted the advance of Gallawa until they were overwhelmed and added to the new Levantine Empire in the 8th century. Carolina became the center of the Southern Kingdom of the Levantines, when it earned its name. The establishment of the Kingdom saw an influx of foreigners from throughout Levantia as the territory was divided into fiefs, creating a large landowning class primarily of Latinic and Gothic people among others. The noble classes eventually integrated with the mostly-Gaelic peasant class, evolving into the unique Garán culture. The Garáns spoke varieties of Ábciwidar and Julian Ænglish until their incorporation into Urcea after the War of the Caroline Succession. Many Urcean people relocated to Carolina before and after the war, creating yet another blend of traditions and cultures. The similarity between the Garáns and Urceans lead to a kinship that transcended the loss of the territory during the Second Caroline War, and many locals welcomed the final annexation of the territory into Urcea during the Third Caroline War. Unlike many of the other post-Great Levantine cultures in south Levantia, the Garán retained a mostly Gaelic identity rather than that of a mixed identity or a Latinic identity, despite their common Latinic heritage.
Main Article: Gassavelian people
Gassavelian people are descendants of Uzdehzani people, Nestorian refugees who fled from Audonia during the rise of Islam and the Oduniyyad Caliphate. The relatively small group of refugees founded the Principality of Hištanšahr, establishing themselves as the small ruling caste over the indigenous majority, a mix of primarily Gaelic and Istroyan people with a few Latinic settlements to the northwest. The Kingdom of Gassavelia succeeded Hištanšahr, incorporating the area into the Holy Levantine Empire and breaking down the boundaries of intermarriage between the Uzdehzani and the local gentry and peasant classes. The mixing of these three primary cultures established the Gassavelian people, who, like the Caenish people and Carán people, are considered by some to be related to the Urcean people with a unique Audonian influence. The Uzdehzani people gradually faded away by the sheer weight of demographics, but their influence - and, in some cases, family lineage - remain to this day, giving the Gassavelian people a distinct culture from their neighbors. Urcea acquired the western half of the Kingdom of Gassavelia following the Great Confessional War in the 1500s. Given some autonomy behind local Dukes, the Gassavelians nonetheless were partly integrated into Urcean culture, adopting the Julian Ænglish language of their new Kingdom and abjuring their previous Protestant faith to embrace Catholicism. Gassavelians have held positions of prominence in Urcean society since, and Gassavelia is one of the largest subdivisions of Urcea.
Main Article: Ænglish people
Like the Caenish people, the Ænglish people were descended from Gothic people who settled on the northern mountain region of Great Levantia in a region approximately including northeastern Urcea and the southeastern portion of the United Kingdom. The Ænglish people are relatively closely related to the people of the United Kingdom. Loosely recognized as foederati but mostly keeping to themselves, there was no unified Ænglish realm but rather a network of petty kings recognizing the loose suzerainty of a high king. The Ænglish embraced the Christian religion of Great Levantia in the late 5th century. The Ænglish were conquered by King Conchobar of Gallawa in the mid 8th century and were organized as the Ænglish March in the Holy Levantine Empire, a name that would remain associated with the territory even as it was elevated to a Kingdom in 1278. Many of the Ænglish in northern Angla embraced Protestantism while the southern minority - those in closer proximity to Urcea and Carolina - retained their Catholic heritage. The Protestant-dominated Kingdom of Angla was destroyed in the Nordmontaine War, and several decades later part of the territory was assigned to Urcea at the end of the Great Confessional War. Like Gassavelia, the Ænglish were governed with some autonomy by local Dukes until the territory was reorganized in the 19th century into Ænglasmarch. Unlike most of the other minority groups, the Ænglish do not see themselves as part of the Urcean people but nonetheless view themselves as a distinct culture of Urcean Ænglish, who pride themselves on their Catholic faith and history of military service to Urcea. Also unlike the other minority groups, the Ænglish integrated into Urcean society with somewhat ease due to the common language and religion they share, though the Ænglish of Ænglasmarch has differences from Julian Ænglish.
Main Article: Derian people
Derians, the native people of the Deric States, historically integrated into the identity of the Urcean people as Urcea expanded eastward into lands traditionally part of the Kingdom of Latium. Despite this, the Derian identity survived in parts of Eastvale and Burgundie. Surveys have suggested that anywhere from 10% to 25% of people in Eastvale view themselves as Derians. The majority of Derians in Urcea, however, are immigrants from Latium from the last century; many Derians resettled in Urcea as refugees during the Second Fratricide. The Derian identity of the descendants of these refugees has been waning in the last few decades, and the number of Urceans identifying themselves as Derian people as opposed to Urcean people has declined precipitously since 1980.
Main Article: Cronin people
Cronin people are descendants of Urceans or other Levantines living in Crona, or ethnically native Cronites adhering to Levantine religion and culture in Crona. Most Cronin families in Urcea originated in New Yustona and immigrated to Urcea since its foundation in the 19th century, but the Cronin population in metropolitan Urcea and its overseas possession has been increasing dramatically since The Deluge and the exposure of Levantine culture to an increasing number of native peoples of Crona.
Urcea has had a somewhat diverse linguistic history, beginning with the earliest Latin-speaking peoples spreading throughout the land in the period beginning ca. 950 BC. Latin was the sole official language of state in Great Levantia. Gradually, the Latin of the ruling class began to mix with the language of the conquering Celts and Gaels, resulting in Urcea's first native language, Ábciwidar (roughly meaning "of the city", as in "language of the city", referring to Urceopolis), developed, and was the primary vulgar language for nearly a thousand years. It was eventually adopted alongside Latin as language of government in the 900s, though it replaced Latin even in government documents. Latin remained prevalent, however, in the Church and in learning (as it was controlled by the Church).
Ábciwidar is still considered to be the cultural language of Urcea despite its widespread use in some areas of the historical Holy Levantine Empire, so much so that some foreign scholars occasionally incorrectly refer to it as "Urcean". It has since been primarily replaced by Julian Ænglish. Many historians and scholars once believed the language came to Urcea during the High Middle Ages and especially during the Saint's War through the influence of mercenaries, merchants, and the neighboring realms of Angla and Helvianir - this model was called the "Replacement Theory". Modern scholarship, however, has indicated that some form of proto-Ænglish or Ænglish hybrids were in use in rural parts of Urcea well before the Saint's War. The majority of modern historians have discarded the "Replacement Theory" with the "Organic Theory" - namely, that Ænglish and Ábciwidar "grew up together", so to speak, in different parts of the country, and that increasing social and economic integration lead to the formation of Julian Ænglish, which is unique because of the distinct influence Latin and Ábciwidar had on the language relative to other versions of Ænglish. Whichever theory may be the case, in time, the Ænglish language became the default language of commerce for traders to use, particularly in regards to trade with the other states of the Holy Levantine Empire. The further reign of the House of Julio-Angloise and the influx of Ænglish refugees following the Nordmontaine War accelerated the acceptance of Ænglish as the government language of the Kingdom. It is the primary language spoken today, though some pockets of Ábciwidar still remain, especially in the Ionian Highlands.
In the southeast is the region of Gassavelia, a semi-autonomous part of the Apostolic Kingdom, wherein a type of Romance Vulgar Persianid, the Gassavelian language, is spoken, which is the third most spoken language in the Kingdom.
The Urcean name is, typically, a complete name usually consisting of a given name, commonly referred to as a first name or Christian name, and a (most commonly patrilineal) family name or surname, also referred to as a last name. The majority of Urceans under this naming convention also have a second given name, referred to as a middle name. Most Urcean names either derive from Gaelicized Latinic (such as Luciás and Patrick), Hebrew (David, Daniel), Istroyan (Nicholas), or Ænglish (Edward) origins. Urcea's variety of given and surnames are a result of millennia of cultural blending between Gaelic, Gothic, Latinic, and Christian influences, producing names which are neither entirely Gaelic or Latinic. The traditional naming system evolved organically throughout the History of Urcea, with surnames evolving as family names to differentiate people within different Estates. By the 16th century, the naming system was functionally standard among all people throughout the country besides optimates, who retained just their given name, though some privilegiata retained the name of their noble dynasty as a surname.
The notable exception to the traditional naming scheme is that of the tria nomina system, introduced in the middle of the 19th century during the Romantic period as a hearkening back to the naming conventions of Great Levantia. The tria nomina adopted the traditional naming system by transforming the surname into a cognomen and introducing the name of one's estate as a nomen. The system was widely adopted by optimate families and the heads of the Estates of Urcea, but saw relatively little penetration into middle or lower class Urcean families, and the system was ordered abolished by the 1890s. Many families retain their tria nomina names today, most especially the members of House de Weluta. During the early 20th century, many former freemen who became prosperous "new men" under the restoration adopted "false tria nominas" in order to appear higher class; these names became hereditary. Perhaps the best known individual with such a "false tria nomina" is James Cossus Reed, who served as Chancellor and Temporary President in the 2030s.
Much of Urcea’s best known folklore descends from the cults of various Saints and the legends associated with them. The best known legend comes from the medieval period, when supposedly spectral apparitions of Saint Julius I would ride through a commune, and whosever home he stopped at should assume responsibility as the “lead man” in the commune for a year. These legends were later refined to the supposed season of “Juliustide”, ranging from late October to early November. It is commonly assumed that Election Day in Urcea is the first Tuesday in November as a descendant of Juliustide. Many modern historians and scholars have supported this connection to the earlier folklore tradition.
Festivals and Holidays in Urcea
Holidays are a major part of Urcean cultural and religious life and are directly tied into the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar, although several non-religious holidays exist as well. 34 major holidays are observed on weekdays throughout the year, some of which are holy days of obligation and other feast days.
The most prominent non-religious holiday is the King's Birthday, celebrated on different days depending on the birthday of the reigning Apostolic King of Urcea. Celebrations typically mirror independence day festivities of other countries, as patriotic themes mingle with typical, seasonally appropriate relaxation activities, such as boating. The second most prominent non-religious holiday is that of Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The holiday, which recalls the historic event of Prince Niall's flight to the highlands during the Second Caroline War, is an occasion for the nation to give thanks to God for the deliverance of the nation, but also for the blessings given to families and the country as a whole. Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as an extended family gathering.
The Feast Day of St. Julius on April 1st and is an important holiday celebrating national themes, though in recent decades the King's Birthday has supplanted it as the main "patriotic" holiday, and instead it has taken on a greater religious significance.
Attitudes and worldview
Urceans consider marriage to be the cornerstone of civilized society; the country adheres very strongly to the Catholic view of marriage, but also view it through the lens of social ties. As proscribed in Church teaching, marriage is viewed as the natural state and the proper context for relations between men and women as it establishes the unitive and procreative bond through the marital act. Consequently, unmarried people over a certain age - besides clerics and consecrated virgins - are viewed with supreme suspicion. Throughout the 20th century, several rounds of anti-discrimination laws against what Urceans called spinsters were passed, and most studies have shown legal nondiscrimination is now in place, but the social views on the matter have largely not changed. Divorce is illegal; as such, only 1-2% of adults over 18 report having been divorced. A secular physical "separation" of couples is legal as necessary and granted judicially with a relatively low standard of scrutiny. 77% of adults over the age of 18 are married, 10% were widowed, and the remaining eleven percent report never having been married.
Most Urceans view monogamous heteronormativity as a cornerstone of their worldview, and, consequently, non-conforming sexual attitudes are viewed with extreme suspicion, and, in many cases, confusion. Adultery is illegal and relatively uncommon; 11% of men and 9% of women report having committed an adulterous act. Bigamy, polygamy and gay marriage are illegal and are offenses subject to large fines. In line with Catholic teaching, sexual activities - referred to commonly in Urcea as the "marital act" - is viewed as a unitative and procreative action between man and wife. Non-marital sexual relations - either of the aforementioned adulterous nature - is viewed by Church teaching and social mores as an abuse of human faculties. Similarly, masturbation is condemned by society given that it is considered a selfish act and an abuse of the human body, given the purpose of the sexual faculties are viewed as being for unitative and procreative purposes.
Virginity as well as voluntary celibacy are highly prized values in Urcean culture. Consecrated virginity for religious purposes are uncommon in Urcea, but the country nonetheless has the world's highest percentage of consecrated virgins relative to its Catholic population. A 2035 study yielded that there may be as many as ten million consecrated virgins in Urcea, comprising approximately %0.70 of the country's total population.
Children and parenting
Given the common view of family and marriage as the cornerstone of society, parenthood is viewed as a high moral obligation for every member of the laity (excepting consecrated virgins) and the rearing of children is viewed as a sacred trust and responsibility. Consequently, children are viewed as the "prized possession" of each family given the importance of family continuation. Urceans view catechesis as part and parcel of "correct" parenting and child rearing, and often times children are well educated in the basic tenets of the Catholic faith by the time they enter school age.
Views on race vary among Urceans, but most Urceans view the matter an as issue of science rather than of culture or ethnic differences. Given the longstanding Urcean cultural norm of viewing the world through the scope of religion - dividing peoples based on the creeds they adhere to - race has rather decidedly been viewed as a mostly unimportant distinction between peoples. Consequently, the notion of a "white" or an "Audonian" (in the case of Gassavelian people) kinship or identity is extremely muted and exists primarily on the margins, as nationality and faith are viewed as the primary characteristics defining an individual's background and identity. Racial discrimination has never been common in Urcea nor has there ever been extensive examples of institutional discrimination based on race by the Government of Urcea or local governments. Discrimination in Urcea does and has existed, but race has not largely been included in such examples.
Politics and statecraft
Role of government
Urceans tend to view government within the context of St. Paul's Romans 13. Based on the Letter to the Romans, Urceans view government and governing authorities as ordained by God based on the view that all authority ultimately descends from God. The view St. Paul espouses - that authorities are "servant(s) of God for your good...for the authorities are ministers of God" - is the basis on which Urceans view government as a critical force for ensuring the common good. This view does not necessarily mean all Urceans endorse what could be called a "big government" policy program, but it does mean that most Urceans of every political persuasion have an implicit trust in the government based on their own point of view. More conservative, smaller-government oriented Urceans - such as the members of the National Pact - believe the government's responsibility is to be a just mediator tempering the invisible hand of the market and ensuring no one actor abuses the market at the expense of Urceans. More social-oriented political groups, such as the Union for National Solidarity, believe the government has a more direct responsibility in ensuring the common good. Political and social commentators have noted that Urcea's political dichotomy is relatively unique as all major parties acknowledge the responsible and guiding hand of governmental authority even though they disagree on its proper application. Consistent with these beliefs, Urcea employs policing by consent.
Urcea is well known for its relatively expansive understanding of the role of government in public morality, but this application of moral laws derives from the Urceans' understanding of the relationship between man and the state. As the organic outgrowth of society, there is usually widespread support for implementation of moral laws within society. Consequently, things such as adultery, sodomy, and abortion are not only illegal but punishable by severe fines. Most Urceans throughout the political spectrum either support moral codes or at least have no opinion on them besides the far-left part of the spectrum represented by the Social Labor Party which actively calls for the creation of something resembling a free marketplace of subjective morals and social ideals.
Role of monarchy
The Apostolic King of Urcea is viewed by the nation as something of a father figure; the analogy has often been used that he sits at the head of the national family, using the analogy of a family dinner. An ancient peasant tradition long referred to the King in this way rather than as "King"; for example, "Father Riordan", leading to many folk tales and medieval songs presenting stories about "Father Lucás" or "Father Leo". While the monarchy has lost some of its constitutional authority in the last century and a half, a vast majority of Urceans consistently poll support for the Apostolic King. Studies have shown that a vast majority of Urceans "genuinely believe" that the Apostolic King is a kind of representative of God himself; the government's official teaching is that the King is a kind of steward of his inheritance given to him by God. Some foreign scholars have misrepresented this point of view as belief in the divine right of Kings, but even the staunchest Urcean monarchists disavow that position as incompatible with Catholic teaching. Rather, Urceans view the monarch as implicitly entrusted by God with the well being and common good of the Kingdom within the context of Romans 13 as described above. Consequently, the position of republicanism has been extremely unpopular since public polling began; the highest support ever recorded for the abolition of the monarchy came at 12.4% in 1971 following the succession of the fourth son of King Brian IV after decades of childless successions.
Role of industry
Guilds are viewed by most Urceans as an absolutely necessary cornerstone of having an economy, given that guilds are viewed as the primary reason Urcea escaped class struggle during the 20th century.
A minority position views guilds as an unnecessary impediment on economic activity, a view held in both left and right circles. Elements of Urcea's Social Labor Party view guilds as restrictive on the victories labor can achieve while members of the National Pact view them as a burden on Urcean economic potential and a constraint on the possibilities of the free market. Both left and right, these opponents of guilds view them as an impediment to innovation and new entrants into an industry.
League of Nations
Foreign cultures and nations
More Information: Goura's Index of National Attitudes
As a consequence of their joint heritage, most Urceans view most Occidental nations as their cousins. In particular, Urceans view those from Latium and especially Burgundie and Caphiria, despite the historical geopolitical animosity between the two countries, as "national cousins". Non-Levantines are often viewed with attitudes characterized as either "paternalistic" or "chauvinist" depending upon the point of view of the author.
Man and God
Man and Nature
Man and the State
Urceans eschew the notion of "natural man" in the state of nature, and many view it with suspicion as a "Protestant" or "Masonic" notion. Instead, Urceans view the state merely as an organized extension of civilized society. Although they don't embrace the fascist notion of the State as the highest social good, Urceans do view the state as themselves and themselves as the state. The state is not viewed as a distinct entity from the person or the society, but rather viewed as an organic outgrowth of man as a social animal.
Man and Man
The traditional notion of a brotherhood of mankind is common in Urcea and it is accompanied by the view that achievements should be anonymous for the benefit of man and the glory of God, and for this purpose considerable charitable donations in Urcea are done anonymously. This view of anonymity is often used as a criticism leveled against public figures, as many - both Urceans and those abroad - view the prominence of cultural figures, athletes, and political leaders as contradictory to the Urcean view of man.
Due to the national heritage of Latinic migrants, as well as their early modern successors, the Ómestaderoi, Urceans associate themselves with the pioneer spirit and attitude of frontier life. Consequently, the Urcean model of virtue is that of the pious Catholic smallhold Ómestad farmer.
The family in Urcea is usually group consisting of a married pair of a woman and a man (adults) and their children (one or more). These so-called "Nuclear families" typically center on the married couple; the nuclear family may have any number of children. The familial definition in Urcea includes blood children, adopted children and step-children in certain circumstances; for tax purposes, the reason for the annulment of the previous marriage or if it was a separation via death is considered. The family structure of a married couple and their children were present since the 6th century, influenced by church and Royal governments. Outside of the nuclear families exist bonds with extended family, including those within the Estate system. Family is considered the fundamental cornerstone and "basic unit" of society.
In the Ionian Highlands, a similar but separate loose clan structure is in use. While Highlanders live as nuclear families, it is often in close proximity to others, and typically first and second cousins are raised together. These smaller clan units retain loyalty to their kinsmen even outside of the direct mini-clan unit, and even in the 21st century a single, distantly-related clan can make up a plurality of dioceses within the Highlands. Accordingly, consanguinity laws (within four degrees) are strictly enforced. Highland clans are known to form local sports teams and leagues with other clans, and though ancient rivalries have mostly subsided, sometimes these matches can result in violence by hooliganism.
See Also: Estates of Urcea
Urcean families with a lineage in the country typically older than fifty years are part of the Estates of Urcea, a system of kinship ties descending, supposedly, from the period of Great Levantia. These Estates are descended from 25 Latinic families and their wards from Urceopolis and its hinterlands as well as 25 Gaelic families integrated during the Great Levantine period. In antiquity, this served a function similar to the Caphirian tribal system, where groups of individuals were divided for voting purposes. From the 50 estates is derived the Medieval landed gentry class of Urcea, and each estate has a so-called "great house" at its head, with the head of household holding the title of "Guardian (Ábciwidar: Custóir) of the Estate". Legal estate distinctions were largely abolished by the 18th century, but to this day one's Estate is an important source of identity.
Mainstream Levantine cuisine
Mainstream Urcean cuisine is similar to that in other Levantine countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain with about three-quarters of grain products made of wheat flour and many dishes use indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup which were consumed by Gaels as well as early Latinic settlers. In addition to wheat, rice and pecans are the minor staple crops of Urcea, with pecans serving as both a delicacy and as a major cooking ingredient.
Characteristic dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from both native and Gothic sources. French fries, Sarpedonian dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Derian sources are widely consumed. Urceans drink three times as much coffee as tea. Marketing by Urcean industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and milk ubiquitous breakfast beverages, making Urcea's dairy agriculture sector one of the world's largest. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Urceans developed many new foods based on increasing availability of refrigeration and greater exposure to global cuisines. During the 20th century, food production and presentation became more industrialized. One characteristic of Urcean cooking is flexibility, especially with regards to the fusion of multiple ethnic or regional approaches into completely new cooking styles in addition to the traditional styles formed within the country since its establishment. A wave of celebrity chefs began in the 1970s, with many more following after the rise of cable channels such as Stovetop Network.
The Urcean fast food industry, the world's largest, pioneered the drive-through format in the 1940s. Urcea's restaurant industry is a major contributor to the nation's urban economies, and diners are a highly recognizable Urcean dining institution. Throughout the 20th century, many previously new dishes passed into the mainstream enough so that they became part of diner fare by the turn of the millennia. The diner is now more numerous in the country than any other type of restaurant besides fast food chains.
Coque and traditional cuisines
Since the 2020s and the beginning of The Deluge, cuisine from Urcean territories and protectorates in Crona have entered into popular consumption within Urcea. These cuisine styles are referred to as "colonial cuisine".
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Urcea by a significant margin, and per capita consumption exceeds more than fifty liters annually. The most popular kind of beers are goldwheats and pilsners. Many of the most popular brands of beer are domestic with hops and wheat grown in the province of Goldvale and brewed elsewhere. Wine, especially wines from southern Urcea and particularly from Canaery, is growing in popularity, and the industry is a major source of economic growth in Canaery and parts of Gassavelia.
Portions and sizes
A vast majority of Urceans are Catholics, which is the official religion of the state. Aside from being a major factor in Urcea's geopolitical dealings, the Catholic Church also proves to be, in many ways, the central organizing structure and focal point in Urcean society. Celebrations of baptisms are usually town-wide, and mass attendance far exceeds most other Catholic countries. Urcea also produces more Catholic priests than any other nation, many of which are then sent to minister overseas in countries with clerical shortages, particularly in Sarpedon but elsewhere as well. Religious toleration is the law and discrimination against other religious groups is forbidden, but is common in everyday elements of society.
The Catholic Church's influence in Urcea is well known around the world, and it has been said that unifying element of the Urcean national culture - which includes many local cultural variation - is the Catholic faith. The Church is also responsible for organizing local governments in the Provinces through the Bishops and Dioceses. The Catholic Church is also headquartered in Urceopolis, and the Holy See resides there, making the Urcean capital the center point through which all Catholics share communion. Additionally, the Church, in the person of the Pope, holds the independent Papal State within Urceopolis. As such, the Pope serves as a key unofficial adviser to the Apostolic King of Urcea due to the close proximity of St. Peter's Basilica to the Julian Palace. Several Popes have come from the ranks of the Urcean Bishops over the ages, particularly considering the roots of the Papacy in Great Levantia and Urceopolis, though prelates from many other places in Levantia have sat in the Chair of St. Peter as well.
Outside of Urceopolis and other major cities, the Church will often be the center of small town living in Urcea, with the Priest as a key figure within the community and Sunday Mass as an important social gathering. Church attendance in Urcea is among the highest in the developed world and particularly in small municipalities and rural areas, where the figure approaches 80%; the national average is 66.54% of the population, which includes urban areas which can report as low as 45% to 50% in terms of weekly attendance.
Urcea is the world's largest exporter of Latin Rite Priests, which serve in both missionary capacities as well as in normal clerical duties in other countries with weaker faith engagement among other Catholic-majority states in Sarpedon and Crona. Recently, missionary activity from the Urcean Church has become more prevalent in Crona as well, particularly in the northern areas of the continent.
While post-Conciliar masses in Urcea were once popular in the 1970s and 80s, said in Aenglish as well as in Ábciwidar in some places, their popularity has diminished and have practically disappeared in Urcea since the end of the 20th century. Since then, the Tridentine Mass has become commonplace in Urcea and the Church has considered making it the Ordinary Form of the Mass within the Kingdom.
Arts and Literature
Urcea has a very broad and diverse architectural style, most of which cannot be simply classified by period. A major reason for this is the stark regional differences that occur depending upon where one studies, due to the consolidation of various polities into Urcea since its formation. This has created a highly diverse and eclectic range in architectural designs. Though not as widely spread, there is a strong association with the Urcean identity and the Rococo style of architecture due to the opulence of Urcea during the late 17th century and early 18th century, best expressed perahaps in both Electorsbourg and The Hermitage. The most popular and commonly used kind of architecture, due to rapid growth during the early industrial revolution in the mid-18th century, is the so-called Caroline architecture and associated pseudo-Caroline and neo-Caroline designs. An offshoot of Neoclassical architecture, Caroline architecture typically uses plain surfaces with attenuated detail, usually isolated in panels, tablets, and friezes. It also had a flatter, smoother façade and rarely used pilasters. It was most influenced by the interpretation of the ancient architecture of Great Levantia, which was growing in popularity in the mid-18th century due to increasing interest in archaeology.
Despite its relative diversity, Urcea is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such as the construction of arches, domes and similar structures during ancient Great Levantia, achievements in the Renaissance architectural movement in the late-14th to 16th centuries, and being the homeland of Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture, and influenced the designs which noblemen built their country houses all over the world. Electorsbourg near Cana and The Praetorium in Urceopolis is among one of the better known buildings in this style. Urcean architecture has also widely influenced the architecture of the world. Additionally, the supposed "Urceanate architecture", popular abroad since the 19th century and the cultural dominance of Urcea during the Aedanicad, was used to describe foreign architecture which was built in a Urcean style, especially modeled on Gothic architecture. Perhaps the most prominent building of the so-called Urceanate style is the Julian Palace, which inspired many other public buildings around the world.
See Also: Urcean literature
Theater in Urcea is based in the Occidental tradition and did not take on a unique dramatic identity until the 17th century, coinciding with the rise of Urcean theater music. Its history prior to the 17th century is somewhat obscured in the historical record, though most histories have included theater as a "minor" form of entertainment. Pre-17th century Urcean theater is typically presented as having represented many of the classics of antiquity, though considerable scholarly evidence in the 2020s suggested that the classic theatrical presentations of Great Levantia survived in greatly modified and adapted forms. Consequently, many early Urcean theatrical productions depicting events of the Great Interregnum and other events are now considered to be ahistorical, adapting earlier stories by placing them within the context of later historical events.
The history of Urcean visual art is part of Levantine painting history. Levantine art was influenced by earlier Latinic civilization and can in part be taken as a descendant thereof. However, Levantine painting does have important unique characteristics. Such painting can be grouped into 4 main "styles" or periods, and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'œil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.
Panel painting became more common during the Levanesque period, under the heavy influence of Orthodox icons. Towards the middle of the 13th century, Medieval art and Gothic painting became more realistic, with the beginnings of interest in the depiction of volume and perspective in Urcea. From then on, the treatment of composition by the best painters also became much more free and innovative.
Initially serving imperial, private, civic, and religious patronage, Urcean painting later found audiences in the aristocracy and the middle class. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance painters worked for the church and a wealthy aristocracy. Beginning with the Baroque era, artists received private commissions from a more educated and prosperous middle class. The idea of "art for art's sake" began to find expression in the work of the Romantic painters. During the 19th century commercial galleries became established and continued to provide patronage in the 20th century.
Mass production and distribution of the Selectro 1000PC in 1972 brought about the advent of the home computer era, and with it, video games became a new form of entertainment. These early video games were often crude given the technological level of mid 1970s computing, but by 1980 a degree of sophistication saw the rise of early role playing games in addition to space-themed top down games. Unlike many other countries, Urcea did not experience an arcade craze, as the availability of home computers by 1977 for most families made the arcade model a non-starter in Urcea. However, the early 1980s also saw the first widely-manufactured video game consoles. Consoles rapidly gained market share as the technical sophistication of games outpaced the average family's ability to upgrade their computers, such that by 1987, 16-bit consoles assumed the dominant public image of video games. Consoles remained the primary developer of video games until the late 2000s, from which time PC-based gaming has held the majority of the market share in Urcea.
Video games are a major form of amusement and diversion in Urcean culture. A 2035 study indicated the average Urcean spent six hours per week playing video games of some form, a figure which is much higher if all non-players are excluded from the figure. Typical Urcean video games include historic themes or settings. By genre, role playing games are most popular, followed by first person shooters and strategy games.
Baseball has been regarded as the Urcean national sport since the late 19th century, and is by several measures the most popular spectator sport. Many scholars have contested that the game started in Urcea, becoming widely attended during the Aedanicad, though the historical consensus now suggests that the game organically developed all across the southern Holy Levantine Empire. Urcea is a member of every major Levantine baseball association, and the major league Continental Baseball Conference (CBC) has one of the highest average attendances of any sports league in the world. Out of the 32 teams in the Continental Baseball Conference, 10 are in Urcea proper or its two states, Ænglasmarch and Gassavelia; consequently, there are 100 official affiliate minor league teams in Urcea spread throughout ten leagues. The Crown Series, the CBC's championship series, is watched by millions globally and is the most watched event in Urcea each year.
The second most popular sport is horse racing, which came to Urcea during the 1600s as part of the larger trend of racing in Levantia. Urcea's Hippodrome in Urceopolis is considered one of the premier locations of horse racing in Levantia. The Hippodrome is home to the Nanlucan Memorial Stakes, the second leg of the prestigious Triple Tiara, which is run the first Sunday in May each year. Horse racing in Urcea is governed by the National Urcean Racing Association (NURA), the national affiliate of the Levantine Union Equine Sport Authority.
The third most popular sport in Urcea is gridiron football, which became popular following the end of the Great War. Typically considered Urcea's "second sport" (though racing draws relatively more views in its shorter season), football is typically played in the Continental Baseball Conference's off-season with its first games being played in October and its season ending in mid March. Though football began play in Urcea during the 1900s, the rise in the sport's popularity is traditionally attributed to the return of soldiers of the Royal and Imperial Army, who had grown accustomed to games "faster" than baseball from Sarpedon, such as rugby. Veterans and veteran families began flocking to the sport when baseball season ended; the admiration of veterans among Urcean society led to an interest in seeing the returning soldiers play, giving a massive boost to the sport's popularity. The major football league in Urcea is the Royal Association of Football Clubs (RAFC). Unlike baseball's Continental Baseball Conference, the RAFC is exclusive to Urcea and fields 28 teams divided into two leagues of two divisions each.
Collegiate-level football and basketball attract large audiences. Collegiate level sports are governed by the Royal Varsity Athletic Association (RVAA), which set the rules and standards by which college athletics can be played. Collegiate athletes are allowed to be financially compensated by boosters and universities within a regionally adjusted salary cap in order to ensure competitiveness between small and large universities. College football's season runs from September to January, with an eight-team college football playoff played during February. College basketball's season runs from mid-September to mid-March, after which a playoff with 128 teams is conducted.
Various kinds of motorsports are very popular in Canaery without receiving much attention throughout the rest of the country. Caenish culture readily embraced automobile racing immediately following the Red Interregnum, a link that was enhanced by large deployments of motorized units of the Royal and Imperial Army in the Electorate during the Great War. Urcea is a member of the International Racing Federation, but events typically only occur in Canaery.
"Traditional music", called "river music" in other countries, is a genre of folk music that developed in Urcea. As opposed to other forms of Urcean music, it is thought that traditional music descends from Urcea's Gaelic roots as opposed to other, supposedly Latinic forms of music. Within earlier kinds of traditional music there were at least ten instruments in general use. These were a small and a large harp, the timpan (a small string instrument played with a bow or plectrum), the fife, the flute, a bassoon-type horn, hornpipes, bagpipes, a kind of trumpet, and bones. Modern traditional bands often employ accordions, fiddles, acoustic guitars, electric bass guitars, and other instruments, though modern traditional music is differentiated from many other forms of Urcean popular music by its lack of a full drum kit.
Contemporary pop music
Throughout its history, Urceans have been an extremely musical society, embracing not only the Ecclesiastical tradition of polyphonic chant but also folk songs and storytelling. Urcean traditional music was the organic development of these trends, creating a genre and style based on the use of fiddles, harps, accordions, and, later, guitars and snare drums. Urcean traditional music has remained vibrant and retains many of its cornerstone aspects, such as instrument choice and semi-nationalistic themes in its storytelling. It has heavily influenced various modern music genres, such as country and roots music. It has occasionally been blended with styles such as rock and roll and punk rock. Urcea has also produced many internationally known artists in other genres, such as rock, pop, jazz, and blues. The rhythmic and lyrical styles of traditional music have deeply influenced Urcean music at large, distinguishing it from Sarpedonian Latinic traditions.
Medieval beginnings to early modern period
The earliest record of music in Urcea comes from Gregorian chant and various other religious arrangements suitable for mass. Rising from the 9th century, polyphonic Church music was the primary and most regular way that the early Urcean people experienced music. Consequently, many people in the Medieval period received their musical training - however basic - to serve in scholas for mass. In most communities, the rural parish was the gateway to the experience of the divine and the experience of music, and many peasants had the opportunity to learn to sing, to carry a tune, and for the lucky few, the ability to learn how to read the earliest forms of musical notation. From the legions of rural peasant scholas came the very first minstrels, or musical entertainers. Minstrels typically traveled around the nearest county, providing entertainment in taverns and, more rarely, at court. These minstrels played instruments like the lyra, wooden flutes, and various other chordophones. Their songs were typically story-based, recounting real world events, such as military campaigns and the lives of various sovereigns, through the medium of musical entertainment. While secular music was typically looked down upon by civilized society, minstrels were tolerated so long as they didn't stray into salacious topics for their music, beginning a long history of "best practices" guidelines for Urcean cultural productions. Many of the songs played and invented by minstrels would become repeated and, in many cases, distorted, by groups of workers singing during the manual labor required of nearly every task in the Medieval period. It reduced the boredom of repetitive tasks, it kept the rhythm during synchronized pushes and pulls, and it set the pace of many activities such as planting, weeding, reaping, threshing, weaving, and milling. Working people and peasants also recounted minstrel songs or original songs at family gatherings and Christian feast days as a way to entertain guests. The songs invented by minstrels were also passed along by oral tradition in this period, retaining some cultural memory of historical events and passing along cultural memory and legends. These early folk songs were rarely recorded in notation, as the need to transcribe and copy songs by hand precluded their preservation; only liturgical and ecclesiastical songs survived in the written medium, given the lengthy time and effort that only monks could provide. Those early songs that did survive were typically transcribed due to the song being widespread, memorable, and about a momentous historical event, such as the Tale of Father Lucás at the Glen, a song about the victory of King Lucás II at the Battle of Glens Falls in 1401.
The invention of the printing press was a pivotal moment in the development of coherent styles of music in Urcea, as what were once local developments that lasted the lifetimes of single minstrels could become lasting accomplishments, catching the ear of the wealthy and peasant alike. The Renaissance period in Urcea also lead to diversification, of music types. Wealthy young privilegiata - and some optimates- began writing compositions for larger groups of musicians as well as for new instruments like the harpsichord. These composers wrote Church music as well as compositions for court and, in some cases, even composed music for minstrels to purchase. While there was no central music industry, individual minstrels and composers began to make a living selling compositions. Individual minstrels entered a decline by the beginning of the 1500s, as there were more avenues for the freemen and privilegiata to hear and write music outside of the context of Church, and additionally, finding a trained transcriber to record their music was difficult and expensive. Despite the relative availability of music compared to previous eras, sheet music remained rare and expensive due to the rarity of transcribers outside the Church. The music of the vanquished class of minstrels remained, however, in the imagination of the rural populations, who continued to pass down versions of their songs from generation to generation, though by the 1550s most songs that remained in the rural consciousness were so distorted and, in some cases, deliberately altered that they sounded and read nothing like the songs initially received. The decline of the minstrel lead to the growth in popularity of the composer among the privilegiata and optimates, while the freemen took an interest in the new phenomenon of the so-called bardic-band, part-time locals who would gather to play music in one-off arrangements using songs that they had received from popular memory or songs that they had purchased from the city or courts. New instruments were making their way into the hands of rural bands as well, influenced by the music of the courts. The violin entered popular usage in Urcea in the 1540s, and it became the primary lead instrument of court music for the next few centuries. Older court violins were acquired by rural musicians, who developed a style vaguely resembling the style of the modern fiddle and other non-conventional styles of playing the violin. For the first time, violins were joined by the common lute, the most popular instrument in the home and in the tavern. Rural tavern band music remained story-oriented, though new stories relating love stories appeared. The sense of loss, a later staple of country music, made some appearances in these rural songs according to historians, loss brought on by the fighting of the Great Confessional War and the chaos of The Anarchy. The sense of loss as a central theme remained a staple of rural music. During the era of the war, rural music diverged into two forms, which initially retained nearly-identical instrumentation for a time. The first style was what is known as traditional music, which included stories about the Kingdom, the King, the troubles the Kingdom was undergoing, and how the peasant and family related to current events. A common song type during this period was that of a farm being raided or a love story ending with the singer, a man, "going off to fight cavalry", a euphemism for going to war without chance of return. This traditional style was considered a continuation of the earlier minstrel style, but it retained the musical developments of the era. The second style, referred to broadly as "proto-folk music", related more to the individual than to greater themes; it involved love stories without reference to war or political happenings, as well as the aforementioned sense of loss due to the hardships endured as part of the human condition, which was the focus of the proto-folk style. Both styles retained their Catholic heritage, with the traditional form of music including an appeal to God to end the Kingdom's hardship while the proto-folk form included either appeals to end the personal hardship or an acknowledgement of fault for the hardships incurred. Many of the proto-folk songs of the period retained a moral, offering that the hardships incurred in life were due to a negative action taken rather than the regular hardships of life, though not all songs retained this element. Between the two styles, instrumental compositions were often shared during this early period of their existence. Later, by the early 1600s, the two genres would begin to diverge musically; maintaining the element of "labor song" and songs sung in the home, compositions of proto-folk dropped the use of flutes and fifes, while the traditional style retained them.
The reemergence of both popular and court theater in the 17th century gave rise to new genres of music. Unlike the two popular styles, the music of theater valued virtuosity and technical excellence, but unlike court styles of music, it also valued improvisation and individual flourish and used many of the same inexpensive and easily available instruments used in taverns and at home, such as the various predecessors of the guitar as well as flutes and other similar instruments. Many theater productions - which could last from two to four hours - required music of some kind to be played in the background for some or all of the play. Consequently, this not only continued to improve the stamina and skill of the musicians but gave them a proving ground of sorts to try new methods and develop new styles of playing. Though these "theater men" - a relatively small professional group of musicians - did not, themselves, revolutionize either popular rural genre, those who heard them were greatly inspired. Old theater songs and styles of play originating from urban theater swept through the countryside as both genres acquired some of the new elements. Since the music of plays did not feature any singing, improvised lyrics were often attached to them in rural areas, and many different songs arose during the early to mid-17th century using the same tune but vastly different lyrics.
The 18th century saw the emergence of a fused theatrical-court style, emphasizing the high technical excellence and virtuosity of the composer with some room for improvisation within the piece. The Court-Theater Style is widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern solo. Unlike the 17th century's court music, however, this new "higher-end" form of music was available for limited public consumption. Due to the saturation of musicians in and around Urceopolis, it no longer became possible to survive on patronage, and many newly organized groups of musicians began to play for the price of admission to relatively small concert grounds. The commercial success of such endeavors lead to a significant boom period in the 1700s-1730s of public musical expression for profit. The audience were typically urban privilegiata and the concerts were often priced in such a way that they were unaffordable for the nascent working class and peasants, but through this point in Urcean history it was the most democratized music had ever been. A considerable deal of public theater and open space construction occurred in the first three decades of the 18th century, making so-called "audience music" even more viable, and the trend spread throughout other cities in Urcea. Having a much larger audience than courtiers, and having music for ears outside of the top refined optimates made an immediate impact on the kind of music being played, as Court-Theater music changed rapidly in the first half of the 18th century in order to appeal to the wider audiences. While the virtuosity and apprentice-master relationship of court music was retained, these first popular audiences much preferred more solos during pieces, leading to a kind of resurgence of the previous century's theater music. The "audience boom" came to an end with the beginning of the War of the Caroline Succession, however, as the time for audience music was replaced with church attendance duty for novenas for the benefit of the cause of Urcea and the Apostolic King. During the war, proto-folk songs sung by soldiers in camp took on new forms, incorporating the regional diversity of Urcean soldiers called to service of the King. These proto-folk songs, in turn, began to inform the traditional music style played outside of the battlefield by the army fife-and-drum core, as the two "original" Urcean musical genres continued to influence each other despite the historiographical divergence imposed on them during the 1600s.
Beginning in the late 1900s and 1910s, there began a renewed interest in what became known as "old-time" music, which could best be described as a mix of popular songs from the mid-to-late 19th century as well as obscure folk songs from rural parts of the country, but not truly "traditional music", which remained a separate genre. Historians and scholars have theorized the rise of interest in this music came as a consequence of the restoration of King Patrick III and the memory of the bloodshed of the Red Interregnum. According to these historians, Urceans - especially middle-aged ones - pined for the nostalgic idyll of simpler times during the Aedanicad. The invention of the phonograph and rise of the Urcean recording industry made these songs viable, and in the 1910s the phenomenon of "songhunters" - individuals who would go to the rural parts of Urcea to discover old folk songs in order to obtain the rights to the music - sprang up. Old-time music became enormously popular and commercially viable. The advent of radio lead to further widespread popularity of the genre in the 1920s through mid 1930s. Sometimes called "country music", emerged as a dominant cultural and commercial form of music during the early radio era, though during the same time traditional pop styles imported from the rest of Levantia became popular.
Rhythm and blues music developed from foreign blues music in the mid 1930s and early 1940s and the influence of Sarpedonian and Audonian music, which soldiers of the Royal and Imperial Army became exposed to during the Great War. The short period of time in which rhythm and blues was popular lead to a decline and sharp regionalization of "old-time" or country music, which became primarily associated with rural regions of Urcea, especially those areas associated with frontier Ómestaderoi culture. Traditional pop went into severe decline in the 1940s as the ongoing Great War lead to renewed interest in traditionally Urcean styles of music that accompanied a new wave of nationalism.
The influence of country and traditional music blended with rhythm and blues to develop an entirely new form of music in the 1950s which some historians have referred to as Rockabilly or "the King's Rock" since it was a uniquely Urcean sound distinguishable from other countries. The new rock styles quickly supplanted what remained of traditional pop, and beginning in the 1960s "new pop" took its place, heavily influenced by the backbeat driven "King's Rock" sound. Since that point, a mix of rock and mainstream pop exists alongside country music as the most popular genres in the country, though some have noted rock music to be in decline since the end of the 20th century, particularly going in a more indie direction as country music has displaced it in many parts of society.
The popularity of country has also inspired an indie movement in that genre as well, and "insurgent country", a style similar to bluegrass, has become popular since the mid-2020s. Insurgent country seeks to reclaim the sound and heritage of Urcean traditional music and the initial "old-time" music genre in an effort to undo the dominance of what is perceived to be the "corporate sound", which incorporates electronic and pop elements.
See also: National symbols of Urcea