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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Cultures of the world is the aggregate of regional variations in culture, both by nation and ethnic group and more broadly, by larger regional variations. Similarities in culture often occur in geographically nearby peoples. Both summaries of each region's major cultural characteristics as well as links to individual national or group cultures can be found here. See also: list of national cultures.


African Culture


The African continent was the birthplace of the hominin subfamily and the genus Homo, including eight species, of which only Homo sapiens survive. Human culture in Africa is as old as the human race, and includes Neolithic (10,000 BC) rock carvings, the glacial age petroglyphs (a carving or line drawing on rock, especially one made by prehistoric people) of early hunter-gatherers in the dry grasslands of North Africa, the Nomes of Egypt (3100 BC), and ancient Egypt.

Africa is home to innumerable tribes, ethnic and social groups, some representing very large populations consisting of millions of people; others are smaller groups of a few thousand. Most of these are overlapping. The most conventional distinction is between sub-Saharan Africa and the northern countries from Egypt to Morocco, who largely associate themselves with Arabic culture. In this comparison, the nations south of the Sahara are considered to consist of many cultural areas, in particular that of the Bantu language group.

Divisions may also be made between French Africa and the rest of Africa, in particular the former British colonies of southern and East Africa. Another cultural fault-line is between those Africans living traditional lifestyles and those who are essentially modern. The traditionalists practices are sometimes subdivided into pastoralists and agriculturalists.

Africa is a big continent and the food and drink of Africa reflect both local influences and colonial food traditions, including use of food products like peppers, peanuts, and maize introduced by the colonizers. African cuisine is a combination of traditional fruits and vegetables, milk, and meat products. The African village diet is often milk, curds, and whey mixed with game and fish gathered from Africa's vast area.

African art reflects the diversity of African cultures. The oldest existing art from Africa are 6,000-year old carvings found in Niger, while the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was the world's tallest architectural accomplishment for 4,000 years until the creation of the Eiffel Tower. The Ethiopian complex of monolithic churches at Lalibela, of which the Church of Saint George is representative, is regarded as another marvel of engineering.

The music of Africa is one of its most dynamic art forms. Egypt has long been a cultural focus of the Arab world, while remembrance of the rhythms of sub-Saharan Africa, in particular west Africa, was transmitted through the Atlantic slave trade to modern samba, blues, jazz, reggae, rap, and rock and roll. Modern music of the continent includes the highly complex choral singing of southern Africa and the dance rhythms of soukous, dominated by the music of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A recent development of the twenty-first century is the emergence of African hip hop. In particular, a form from Senegal is blended with traditional mbalax. Recently in South Africa, a form of music related to house music known under the name Kwaito has developed, although the country has been home to its own form of South African jazz for some time, while Afrikaans music is completely distinct and composed mostly of traditional Boere musiek, and forms of folk and rock music.


The people of Africa speak hundreds of languages and, if dialects spoken by various ethnic groups are also included, the number is much higher. All these languages and dialects are not of the same importance though, as some have only a few hundred speakers while others have millions. Among the most prominent languages are Arabic, Swahili and Hausa. Very few countries of Africa use any single language and this is the reason the several African and European official languages often coexist.

The languages of Africa present a unity of character as well as diversity, as is manifest in all the dimensions of Africa. Four prominent language families of Africa are:

Anglo America (United States and Canada)

Because of the economic dominance of the United States, the shared English language between the two countries, and the loose border (no visa is required to move between the countries), the culture of the United States and Canada is very similar. However, there are some notable differences. Among these is the fact that Canada has a large French-speaking minority, while the second-most common language in the United States is Spanish. In addition, Canada uses the metric system; the U.S. does not. Canadian spelling is usually more similar to British spelling, although the speech of Canadians is somewhat akin to that of Americans.

A unique feature of the relationship between the two countries is how the U.S.-based National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball's American League (AL) all have at least one Canadian team (several in the case of the NHL) in addition to their American franchises, in contrast to how sports leagues from virtually all other countries are limited to the country they are based in.

Canadian Culture

Main articles: Culture of Canada, National symbols of Canada, Sport in Canada

Canadian culture has historically been heavily influenced by English, French, Irish, Scottish and Aboriginal cultures and traditions, and over time has been greatly influenced by American culture due to its proximity and the interchange of human capital. Many forms of American media and entertainment are popular, if not dominant in Canada; conversely, many Canadian cultural products and entertainers are successful in the US and worldwide. Many cultural products are now marketed toward a unified "North American" market, or a global market generally.

The creation and preservation of more distinctly Canadian culture has been partly influenced by federal government programs, laws and institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Canadian culture has also been greatly influenced by more recent immigration of people from all over the world. Many Canadians value multiculturalism, indeed some see Canadian culture as being inherently multicultural. Multicultural heritage is enshrined in Section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

National symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and First Nations sources. Particularly, the use of the maple leaf, as a Canadian symbol, dates back to the early 18th century and is depicted on its current and previous flags, the penny, and on the coat of arms.

United States

American culture has been a melting pot of different cultures around the world, which have formed a unified culture centered on the American Dream, a faith, held by many in the United States, that, through hard work, courage, and self-determination, regardless of social class, a person can gain a better life. This belief is rooted in the belief that the country is a "city upon a hill, a light unto the nations," which were values held by many early European settlers and maintained by subsequent generations.

American cuisine, embraces native American ingredients like turkey, potatoes, corn, and squash which have become integral parts of American culture. Such popular icons as apple pies, pizza, and hamburgers are all derived from European dishes. Burritos and tacos have their origins in Mexico. However, many of the food items now enjoyed worldwide either originated in the United States or were substantially altered by American chefs.

Music in the United States also traces to the country's melting-pot population through a diverse array of styles. Rock and roll, hip hop, country, blues, and jazz are among the country's most internationally renowned genres. Since the late 19th century, popular recorded music from the United States has become increasingly known across the world, such that some forms of American popular music are heard almost everywhere.

However, not all American culture is derived from some other form found elsewhere in the world. For example, the birth of cinema, as well as its radical development, can largely be traced back to the United States. In 1878, the first recorded instance of sequential photographs capturing and reproducing motion was Eadweard Muybridge's series of a running horse, which the British-born photographer produced in Palo Alto, California, using a row of still cameras. Since then, the American film industry, centered in Hollywood, California, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world. Other areas of development include the comic book and Disney's animated films, which saw widespread popularity and influence, especially in Japanese anime and manga and Chinese animation and manhua.

Football is the most popular spectator sport in the United States.

Sports are a national pastime, and playing sports, especially football, baseball, and basketball, is very popular at the high-school level. Professional sports in the U.S. is big business, with most of the world's most highly paid athletes. The "Big Four" sports are baseball, football, ice hockey, and basketball. Another popular sport is auto racing, especially NASCAR. Lacrosse, originally played by some of the indigenous tribes, is a visible sport and growing. Soccer (called football elsewhere) is a popular participatory sport, especially among children; but it does not have a large following as a spectator sport, in contrast to its much greater popularity in other countries. The United States is among the most influential regions in shaping three popular board-based recreational sportssurfboarding, skateboarding, and snowboarding—which have many competitions and a large, dedicated subculture. Eight Olympiads have taken place in the United States. The country generally fares very well in them, especially the Summer Olympics: for instance, in the 2004 Olympics, the U.S. topped the medals table, with a record 103 medals (35 gold, 39 silver, and 29 bronze). Baseball is popularly termed "the national pastime"; since the early 1990s, football has largely been considered the most popular sport in America.


For discussion of the area sometimes termed southwest Asia, see Middle East.

Culturally, there has been little unity or common history for many of the cultures and peoples of Asia.

Asian art, music, and cuisine, as well as literature, are important parts of Asian culture. Eastern philosophy and religion also plays a major role, with Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, and Christianity all playing major roles. One of the most complex parts of Asian culture is the relationship between traditional cultures and the Western world.


The languages of Asia are varied due to its vastness. Asia is home to several language families and many language isolates. Most Asian countries have more than one language that is natively spoken. For instance, according to Ethnologue, more than 600 languages are spoken in Indonesia, and more than 100 are spoken in the Philippines. However, Korea is home to only one language.

Of the 9 languages with over 100 million native speakers, 5 of them have native speakers who are mainly dispersed in Asia. They are Mandarin, Hindustani, Arabic, Bengali and Japanese



Early-Modern Japanese literature (17th–19th centuries) developed comparable innovations such as haiku, a form of Japanese poetry that evolved from the ancient hokku (Japanese language: 発句) mode. Haiku consists of three lines: the first and third lines each have five morae (the rough phonological equivalent of syllables), while the second has seven. Original haiku masters included such figures as Edo period poet Matsuo Bashō (松尾芭蕉); others influenced by Bashō include Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki.

Mythology, philosophy and religion


Asian philosophical traditions originated in India and China and cover a large spectrum of philosophical thoughts and writings. Indian philosophy includes Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy. They include elements of nonmaterial pursuits, whereas another school of thought from India, Cārvāka, preached the enjoyment of material world.

Taoism was founded by Chinese philosopher Lao Zi, who lived 605-520 B.C. Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, who lived 563-483 B.C.

During the 20th century, in the two most populous countries of Asia, two dramatically different political philosophies took shape. Gandhi gave a new meaning to Ahimsa, and redefined the concepts of nonviolence and nonresistance. During the same period, Mao Zedong’s communist philosophy was crystallized.


A large majority of people in the world who practice a religious faith practice one founded in Asia.

Religions founded in Asia and with a majority of their contemporary adherents in Asia include:

Religions founded in Asia that have the majority of their contemporary adherents in other regions include:


In many parts of Asia, rice is a staple food, and it is mostly served steamed or as a porridge known as congee. China is the world largest producer and consumer of rice. In India, people often eat food with their hands, and many spices are used in every dish. Most spices originated around India or neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka. Thai cuisine is known for being hot and spicy, with different kinds of protein used as the ingredient, such as beef, chicken, pork, duck, tofu or seafood. The kebab is a famous dish, originating from Asia, that has become part of everyday cuisine in multicultural countries outside of Asia itself.

Durians are a common fruit in Southeast Asia, which, Alfred Russel Wallace, attested to its delicious flavor as worth the entire cost of his trip there.

The food that is available in each Asian country typically reflects the culture or religion of that country. For example, the food served in Central Asia, which is predominantly Muslim, is mostly halal and rarely contains pork. Similarly, most Indian food do not contain beef, as Hinduism is apparent of the Indians.

Specific regions in Asia

East Asia

East Asia is usually thought to consist of China, Japan, Korea, but may also include Mongolia and Indochina. . The dominant influence historically has been China, though in modern times, cultural exchange has flowed more bidirectionally. Major characteristics of this region include shared Chinese-derived language characteristics, as well as shared religion, especially Buddhism. There is also a shared social and moral philosophy derived from Confucianism.

The Chinese script is the oldest continually used writing system in the world. It has long been a unifying principle in East Asia, as the vehicle for conveying Chinese culture. In most cases the meanings of the characters are similar between languages and varieties of Chinese, but their pronunciations differ. Within China, all literate people wrote Classical Chinese (and now northern China), unifying China the way Latin once did Europe; also, Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese people can communicate to a limited degree using Chinese characters, though not as well with mainland China, where the writing system has been simplified.

Apart from the unifying influence of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Chinese characters, there is much diversity between the regions.

South Asia (Indian Subcontinent)

The nations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka share an ethnic background and all have similar cultures. This is largely due to the fact that before the 1947 Partition, India included both Pakistan and Bangladesh in its borders. The reason they were separated was due to varying religious composition in various Indian states.

The Indus Valley Civilization began on the Indus River (Now in Pakistan) by a people known as the Dravidians. In time, however, Aryans invaded the South Asian subcontinent from the north, forcing the Dravidians to the South of India. The Aryans also invaded the island of Sri Lanka and set up the Kingdom of Sinhala. The people eventually mingled to form a common culture.

Four major world religions founded in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are spread throughout the subcontinent. While 80% of Indians are Hindus and Nepal is a Hindu State, Sri Lanka has a majority of Buddhists. South Asian culture was influenced somewhat by the arrival of Islam, which based itself in the North-West of India (now in Pakistan), near the borders of Afghanistan.


European culture

The Culture of Europe might better be described as a series of overlapping cultures of Europe. Whether it be a question of West as opposed to East, Catholicism and Protestantism as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy, or Christianity as opposed to Islam, many have claimed to identify cultural fault lines across the continent.

Europe has been a cradle for many cultural innovations and movements, often at odds with each other such as Christian proselytism and Humanism, that have consequently been spread across the globe. The Renaissance of classical ideas influenced the development of art and literature far beyond the confines of the continent.

Though European cultures have varied origins, Europe in recent times has been undergoing a purposeful move towards a unified economy and political system, mainly through NATO and the European Union. The idea of a unified Europe and the loss of local uniqueness has resulted in backlash, with the European constitution rejected in France and the Netherlands.

Global influence

European culture also has a broad influence beyond the continent of Europe due to the legacy of colonialism. In this broader sense it is sometimes referred to as Western Civilization. Nearly all of the Americas were ruled by European powers at some time, and some parts of the New World, such as French Guiana, still are. The majority of the population of the Americas speak European languages, specifically Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French. Additionally the cultures of the European colonial powers (Spain, Britain, Portugal, Russia and France) exert a strong influence.

The legacy of colonialism has spread European culture elsewhere in the world. Europe profoundly influenced the cultures of Africa, India, Israel, Australia, and other places colonised or settled by Europeans.

United Kingdom

The culture of the United Kingdom refers to the patterns of human activity and symbolism associated with the UK and the British people. It is informed by the UK's history as a developed island country, being a major power, and, its composition of four countries; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

As a direct result of the British Empire, British cultural influence (such as the English language) can be observed in the language and culture of a geographically wide assortment of countries, sometimes collectively known as the Anglosphere.

British literature, British television, British cinema, British music, British threatre, and British poetry is respected worldwide. In British music, some notable movements were the British invasion and Britpop.

The most popular sport in the UK is football, the rules of which were first codified in England in 1863. A great number of other major sports originated in the UK, including golf, tennis, boxing, rugby league, rugby union, cricket, field hockey, snooker, billiards, squash, curling and badminton, all of which are popular in Britain. Another sport invented in the UK is baseball,


Christianity was the dominant feature in shaping European culture for the last 1700 years. Modern philosophical thought has been influenced by Christian philosophers such as St. Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus. Despite this, millions of modern Europeans profess no religion or are atheist or agnostic.

The most popular religions of Europe are:

Latin America

The rich mosaic of Latin American cultural expressions is the product of many diverse influences:

  • Native cultures of the peoples that inhabited the continents prior to the arrival of the Europeans.
  • European cultures, brought mainly by the Spanish, the Portuguese and the French. This can be seen in any expression of the region's rich artistic traditions, including painting, literature and music, and in the realms of science and politics. The most enduring European colonial influence was language. Italian and British influence has been important as well.
  • African cultures, whose presence derives from a long history of New World slavery. Peoples of African descent have influenced the ethno-scapes of Latin America and the Caribbean. This is manifest for instance in dance and religion, especially in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba.
  • The United States, particularly via mass culture such as cinema and TV.


Spanish is the predominant language in the majority of the countries. Portuguese is spoken primarily in Brazil, where it is both the official and the national language. French is also spoken in smaller countries, in the Caribbean, and French Guiana. Several nations, especially in the Caribbean, have their own Creole languages, derived from European languages and various African tongues. Native American languages are spoken in many Latin American nations, mainly Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Mexico. Nahuatl is only one of the 62 native languages spoken by indigenous people in Mexico, which are officially recognised by the government as "national languages", along with Spanish. Guarani is, along with Spanish, the official language of Paraguay, and is spoken by a majority of the population.

Other European languages spoken include the Italian in Brazil and Argentina, the German in southern Brazil, southern Chile and Argentina, and the Welsh in southern Argentina.


The primary religion throughout Latin America is Roman Catholicism. Latin America, and in particular Brazil, are active in developing the quasi-socialist Roman Catholic movement known as Liberation Theology. Practitioners of the Protestant, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Mormon, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Bahá'í, and indigenous denominations and religions exist. Various Afro-Latin American traditions, such as Santería, and Macumba, a tribal- voodoo religion are also practiced. Evangelicalism in particular is increasing in popularity.

Visual art

Beyond the rich tradition of indigenous art, the development of Latin American visual art owed much to the influence of Spanish, Portuguese and French Baroque painting, which in turn often followed the trends of the Italian Masters. In general, this artistic Eurocentrism began to fade in the early twentieth century, as Latin-Americans began to acknowledge the uniqueness of their condition and started to follow their own path.

An important artistic movement generated in Latin America is Muralismo represented by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo in Mexico and Santiago Martinez Delgado and Pedro Nel Gómez in Colombia. Some impressive Muralista works can be found also in a number of cities in the USA.

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo remains by far the most known and famous Latin American artist.. Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings.


What really put Latin American literature on the global map was no doubt the literary boom of the 1960s and 1970s, distinguished by daring and experimental novels (such as Julio Cortázar's Rayuela (1963)) that were frequently published in Spain and quickly translated into English. The Boom's defining novel was Gabriel García Márquez's Cien años de soledad (1967), which led to the association of Latin American literature with magic realism, though other important writers of the period such as Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes do not fit so easily within this framework. Arguably, the Boom's culmination was Augusto Roa Bastos's monumental Yo, el supremo (1974). In the wake of the Boom, influential precursors such as Juan Rulfo, Alejo Carpentier, and above all Jorge Luis Borges were also rediscovered.

Contemporary literature in the region is vibrant and varied, ranging from the best-selling Paulo Coelho and Isabel Allende to the more avant-garde and critically acclaimed work of writers such as Diamela Eltit, Ricardo Piglia, or Roberto Bolaño. There has also been considerable attention paid to the genre of testimonio, texts produced in collaboration with subaltern subjects such as Rigoberta Menchú. Finally, a new breed of chroniclers is represented by the more journalistic Carlos Monsiváis and Pedro Lemebel.

The region boasts five Nobel Prizewinners: in addition to the Colombian García Márquez (1982), also the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral (1945), the Guatemalan novelist Miguel Ángel Asturias (1967), the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1971), and the Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz (1990).


One of the main characteristics of Latin American music is its diversity, from the lively rhythms of Central America and the Caribbean to the more austere sounds of southern South America. Another feature of Latin American music is its original blending of the variety of styles that arrived in The Americas and became influential, from the early Spanish and European Baroque to the different beats of the African rhythms.

Hispano-Caribbean music, such as salsa, merengue, bachata, etc., are styles of music that have been strongly influenced by African rhythms and melodies.

Arguably, the main contribution to music entered through folklore, where the true soul of the Latin American and Caribbean countries is expressed. Musicians such as Atahualpa Yupanqui, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Mercedes Sosa, Jorge Negrete, Caetano Veloso, and others gave magnificent examples of the heights that this soul can reach.

Latin pop, including many forms of rock, is popular in Latin America today (see Spanish language rock and roll).


Latin American cuisine is a phrase that refers to typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to many of the countries and cultures in Latin America.

Some items typical of Latin American cuisine include maize-based dishes (tortillas, tamales, pupusas) and various salsas and other condiments (guacamole, pico de gallo, mole).

Beverages include mate, horchata, atole and aguas frescas.

Desserts include dulce de leche and flan.

West Asia and North Africa (Middle East)

Perhaps the defining characteristic of the West Asia and North Africa is Islam and variations of the Arabic language, though this region is also home to Israel and Judaism, and significant Christian minorities. Further, several groups who are adherents to Islam may not consider themselves Arab. In the Western world, the Middle East is generally thought of as a predominantly Islamic, Arabic-speaking community. However, the area encompasses many distinct cultural and ethnic groups, including the Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Azeris, Berbers, Druze, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Maronites, Persians and Turks. The main language groups include: Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian (also known as Aramaic and Syriac), Azeri, Egyptian Arabic (Masri), Hebrew, Persian, Kurdish and Turkish.


The Middle East is the birthplace and spiritual center of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

They are Abrahamic religions are derived to some extent from Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE. Many believe that Judaism in Biblical Israel was renovated and reformed to some extent in the 6th century BCE by Ezra and other priests returning to Israel from the exile. Samaritanism separated from Judaism in the next few centuries.

Christianity originated in Judea, at the end of the 1st century, as a radically reformed branch of Judaism; it spread to ancient Greece and Rome, and from there to most of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and many other parts of the world. Over the centuries, Christianity split into many separate churches and denominations. A major split in the 5th century separated various Oriental Churches from the Catholic church centered in Rome. Other major splits were the East-West Schism in the 11th century, separating the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox Churches; and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, that gave birth to hundreds of independent Protestant denominations.

Islam originated in the 7th century, in the Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina. Although not a dissident branch of either Judaism or Christianity, it explicitly claimed to be a continuation and replacement for them, and echoed many of their principles. According to the Muslim belief, the Qur'an was the final word of God and its message was that of all the prophets. As an example of the similarities between the faiths, Muslims believe in a version of the story of Genesis and in the lineal descent of the Arabs from Abraham through Ishmael, who was conceived through Abraham's servant Hagar.

North Africa

The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic, and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Sahara dialects are notably more conservative than those of coastal cities (see Tuareg languages). Over the years, Berber peoples have been influenced by other cultures with which they came in contact: Nubians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, and lately Europeans. The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara therefore combine indigenous Berber, Arab and elements from neighboring parts of Africa and beyond. In the Sahara, the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouin and Tuareg is particularly marked.

The diverse peoples of the Sahara are usually categorized along ethno-linguistic lines. In the Maghreb, where Arab and Berber identities are often integrated, these lines can be blurred. Some Berber-speaking North Africans may identify as "Arab" depending on the social and political circumstances, although substantial numbers of Berbers (or Imazighen) have retained a distinct cultural identity which in the 20th century has been expressed as a clear ethnic identification with Berber history and language. Arabic-speaking Northwest Africans, regardless of ethnic background, often identify with Arab history and culture and may share a common vision with other Arabs. This, however, may or may not exclude pride in and identification with Berber and/or other parts of their heritage. Berber political and cultural activists for their part, often referred to as Berberists, may view all Northwest Africans as principally Berber, whether they are primarily Berber- or Arabic-speaking (see also Arabized Berber).

The Nile Valley through northern Sudan traces its origins to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Kush. The Egyptians over the centuries have shifted their language from Egyptian to modern Egyptian Arabic (both Afro-Asiatic), while retaining a national identity that has historically set them apart from other people in the region. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslim and a significant minority adheres to Coptic Christianity. In Nubia, straddling Egypt and Sudan, a significant population retains the ancient Nubian language but has adopted Islam. The northern part of the Sudan is home to a, largely, Arabic-speaking Muslim population, but further down the Nile Valley, the culturally distinct world of the largely non-Muslim Nilotic and Nuba peoples begins. Sudan is the largest and most diverse of all North African countries.

North Africa formerly had a large Jewish population, almost all of whom emigrated to France or Israel when the North African nations gained independence. A smaller number went to Canada. Prior to the modern establishment of Israel, there were about 600,000-700,000 Jews in Northern Africa, including both Sfardīm (refugees from France, Spain and Portugal from the Renaissance era) as well as indigenous [[Mizrahi Jew|Template:Unicode]]. Today, less than fifteen thousand remain in the region, almost all in Morocco and Tunisia, and are mostly part of a French-speaking urban elite. (See Jewish exodus from Arab lands.)

Arab Gulf states



The cultures of modern Aboriginal Australians, or at least of those few who survived the impact of European colonisation, are diverse. Although the effect of the arrival of Europeans on Aboriginal culture was profound and catastrophic, the reverse is not the case: broadly speaking, mainstream Australian culture has been imported from the United States and Europe (in particular, the United Kingdom).

Much of modern Australia's culture is derived from European and American roots, but distinctive Australian features have evolved from the environment and Aboriginal culture. The vigour and originality of the arts in Australia — films, opera, music, painting, theater, dance, and crafts — are achieving international recognition.

The primary basis of Australian culture up until the mid-20th century was Anglo-Celtic, although distinctive Australian features had been evolving from the environment and indigenous culture. Over the past 50 years, Australian culture has been strongly influenced by American popular culture (particularly television and cinema), large-scale immigration from non-English-speaking countries, and Australia's Asian neighbours. The vigour and originality of the arts in Australia — films, opera, music, painting, theatre, dance, and crafts — achieve international recognition.

Australia has a long history of visual arts, starting with the cave and bark paintings of its indigenous peoples. From the time of European settlement, a common theme in Australian art has been the Australian landscape, seen in the works of Arthur Streeton, Arthur Boyd and Albert Namatjira, among others. The traditions of indigenous Australians are largely transmitted orally and are closely tied to ceremony and the telling of the stories of the Dreamtime. Australian Aboriginal music, dance and art have a palpable influence on contemporary Australian visual and performing arts. Australia has an active tradition of music, ballet and theatre; many of its performing arts companies receive public funding through the federal government's Australia Council. There is a symphony orchestra in each capital city, and a national opera company, Opera Australia, first made prominent by the renowned diva Dame Joan Sutherland; Australian music includes classical, jazz, and many popular music genres.

Australian literature has also been influenced by the landscape; the works of writers such as Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson captured the experience of the Australian bush. The character of colonial Australia, as embodied in early literature, resonates with modern Australia and its perceived emphasis on egalitarianism, mateship, and anti-authoritarianism. In 1973, Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the only Australian to have achieved this; he is recognised as one of the great English-language writers of the twentieth century. Australian English is a major variety of the language; its grammar and spelling are largely based on those of British English, overlaid with a rich vernacular of unique lexical items and phrases, some of which have found their way into standard English.

Australia has two public broadcasters (the ABC and the multi-cultural SBS), three commercial television networks, three pay TV services, and numerous public, non-profit television and radio stations. Australia's film industry has achieved critical and commercial successes. Each major city has daily newspapers, and there are two national daily newspapers, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review. According to Reporters Without Borders in 2005, Australia is in thirty first position on a list of countries ranked by press freedom, behind New Zealand (9th) and the United Kingdom (28th) but ahead of the United States. This ranking is primarily due to the limited diversity of commercial media ownership in Australia. Most Australian print media in particular is under the control of either News Corporation or John Fairfax Holdings.

Sport plays an important part in Australian culture, assisted by a climate that favours outdoor activities; 23.5% Australians over the age of 15 regularly participate in organised sporting activities. At an international level, Australia has particularly strong teams in cricket, hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union, and performs well in cycling and swimming. Nationally, other popular sports include Australian rules football, horse racing, soccer and motor racing. Australia has participated in every summer Olympic Games of the modern era, and every Commonwealth Games. Australia has hosted the 1956 and 2000 Summer Olympics, and has ranked among the top five medal-takers since 2000. Australia has also hosted the 1938, 1962, 1982 and 2006 Commonwealth Games. Other major international events held regularly in Australia include the Australian Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, annual international cricket matches and the Formula One Australian Grand Prix. Corporate and government sponsorship of many sports and elite athletes is common in Australia. Televised sport is popular; some of the highest rating television programs include the summer Olympic Games and the grand finals of local and international football competitions.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Culture by region" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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