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Culture of Austenasia
Austenasian culture is the pattern of human activity and symbolism associated with the Empire of Austenasia and its people. It is a primarily Western culture heavily influenced by the culture of the United Kingdom, but nevertheless remaining unique to those who identify as Austenasians. It has been shaped since the foundation of the Empire by the customs, ideas, and contributions of those who have joined or been associated with Austenasia.
The English language is the de facto official language of Austenasia. It is used for everyday communication by the entirety of the Austenasian population, excepting only Axvalley, where Portuguese is the language spoken in daily life. Swedish holds the status of an official language in New South Scotland, and Russian is a popular language in Shineshore, whilst German, linguistically pure Old English and, of course, modern English hold the status of official languages in Heischierland. Latin is also - rarely - used in some ceremonial contexts, such as the national motto and the consular names of each year's Consuls.
Media and broadcasting
Residents of Austenasia read British newspapers imported from the United Kingdom and watch British television channels (which can be accessed from Austenasia). The Austenasian Times is the semi-official Austenasian news service, founded by Jonathan I in November 2012 while he was still Crown Prince. Porthbokon News, published by Lady Evren Filgert, Duchess of Dumnonia is the only local news service in the Empire, catering primary to the Town of Porthbokon.
Austenasia has its own broadcasting corporation, Austenasian Television Productions (ATP). ATP, founded in December 2008, produces films for Austenasian Events, a set of small documentaries which record events concerning the Empire. It also publishes Cool Barbie, a sci-fi fantasy drama about a Barbie's encounters with extraterrestrials and villains in a world where toys are alive. Public broadcasts by the Monarch and Prime Minister are also published online by ATP. All of these films are published on the ATP YouTube account, where they can be viewed free of charge.
Lord Charles C., Duke of Grantabridge also produces Austenasian videos which he publishes on his website, Grinning Kettles. These videos are stop motion animated and contain surrealism and nonsense. Bogeyshire is a web series that includes four of these videos and Die Fairgrassen! is one other of said videos.
Out of all Austenasian subjects and residents, between 67.8% and 73.8% profess belief in a religion, with 26.2%-32.1% identifying as athiest or agnostic (a margin of 5.95% is caused by the religious affiliation of five Austenasians being unknown).
Just under half of Austenasians - forty one people (48.8%) - identify themselves as Christians of some kind; twenty eight Protestants, six Roman Catholics, four Orthodox, and three Mormons. Of the remaining religious population of Austenasia, Islam and Hinduism each have a have five adherents. Six individuals are listed as "Other", with minority belief systems including Spiritualism and Paganism.
Austenasia has historically been a mostly Christian country. As the population of the Empire has increased, however, the proportion of Christians within the population has gradually decreased, with many new subjects and residents being non-Christian.
From the founding of Austenasia in September 2008 until the introduction of the first non-residential subject in April 2010, the entirety of Austenasia's population identified as Methodist Christians. As the number of new subjects grew, so did Methodism decline within Austenasia. The decline of the profession of Methodism within Austenasia from 100% in March 2011 to 7.14% in October 2016 is one of the most dramatic declines of a religion within a country in known history.
From the founding of Austenasia until March 2011, all four residents of Wrythe attended Carshalton Methodist Church, with rates of attendance varying for each resident ranging from every Sunday to special occasions such as Christmas services. The church was the site of the Merger Club between 2005 and 2009, and was (and is still) attended nearly every week by all three residents of Zephyria. Two instances in 2009 - a Sunday in June, and Christmas Day - witnessed the whole population of Austenasia attending the morning services, possibly the only times in history that an entire nation has been present at a single religious service. Several crosses made of palm leaves given out at Palm Sunday services can be seen on the mantelpiece in Parliament Hall in the Imperial Residence.
Just under half (48.8%) of Austenasians are Christians, mostly Western:
Christian denominations in Austenasia:
- 6 Methodists
- 4 Orthodox
- 6 Roman Catholics
- 1 Anglican
- 8 Pentecostals
- 13 Other Protestants
- 3 Mormons/Latter-day Saint Christians
HIM Emperor Jonathan I converted from Methodism to the Orthodox Church between March and May 2011 and was chrismated on 24 July later that year. He currently attends the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helen most Sundays.
Religion and the law
Religious topics have often been referenced in Austenasian statutes. Although the Empire has never had a state religion, until the first non-Christian became a subject in 2010 some laws were written in the knowledge that Austenasia was a de facto Christian country - since then, however, there has been a need to ensure Austenasia is a de facto as well as a de jure secular state.
- October 2008 - Act 10 (Public Holidays): Easter Sunday and Christmas Day were made official public holidays, with Jesus Christ being referred to as "Our Lord" and as "our Lord and Saviour".
- 13 December 2008 - Act 30 (Human Rights): "the right to choose and practice" a "religion, faith or belief without persecution" was officially affirmed.
- 21 March 2009 - Act 68 (Revised Human Rights): the rights granted in Act 30 were reaffirmed in a revised and expanded version of the Act, which also forbade discrimination on the basis of faith and affirmed the right of someone to profess a "religion freely, to change it and to practise it either on their own or with others".
- 23 August 2009 - Act 91 (Religious Toleration): consolidated the previous affirmations on human rights in regards to religion into a single Act, and declared that places of worship of any religion would be permitted to be built in the Empire.
- 23 August 2009 - Act 92 (Right of Sanctuary): created the right of sanctuary for those hiding from pursuers in a church, and made it a crime to violate a sanctuary.
- 20 September 2011 - Article XII of the Austenasian Constitution of 2011: Section C reaffirms the provisions of Act 91, and Section Q guarantees the right to marry to anybody, regardless of their religion.
On 22 September 2011, all Acts of Parliament passed under the Austenasian Constitution of 2008 were repealed, as the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 was fully implemented. However, the human rights granted in regards to religion under the 2008 Constitution were preserved in Article XII of the 2011 Constitution, and are now entrenched due to not being able to be repealed without a referendum.
Some have noted that the Codex Jonathanus contains laws which favourably reference Christianity, such as calling the Easter period "holy" and stating that Sunday was "rightly" called the Lord's Day. Jonathan I has stated that such references should be seen as no more than the opinions of those who wrote the laws in the fourth century, and that it is the intent and outcome of laws rather than what is effectively commentary which is important.
Austenasia is a constitutional parliamentary monarchy in which the Monarch exercises considerably more power than most other constitutional monarchies around the world. The Austenasian government was originally based loosely on that of the United Kingdom, with the Monarch playing a mostly ceremonial role and most power and influence being wielded by the Prime Minister. The reign of Emperor Esmond III saw the Monarch beginning to be viewed as a symbol of the nation itself, and the powers and influence of the Monarch increasing at the expense of the elected legislature. This process continued after his reign, with the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 transferring many of the executive powers of the legislature - most notably the power to appoint Cabinet ministers - to the Monarch. Under the current reign of the incumbent Emperor Jonathan I, the Monarch is the indisputable chief executive of the Empire, although the powers of the Throne are still significantly limited by constitutional restrictions.
Since the reign of Esmond III, a world-view often known as the Imperium theory has grown in popularity within Austenasia, being partially adopted by official legislation during the reigns of Jonathan I and his predecessor. This worldview, which is both officially and popularly adhered to by the other Carshalton Nations and also particularly prevalent amongst the Austenasian Armed Forces, attaches significant importance to the title "Emperor", viewing the Austenasian Throne as being in succession to that of the Roman Emperors. This has helped accelerate the increase of monarchical authority in Austenasia and also resulted in several Roman elements being adopted by the Empire, such as a Latin national motto loosely based on SPQR, a system of annually-appointed consuls, and addition of Roman imperial titles to the official style of the Monarch.
The capital city of Wrythe has been home to three structures known as monuments. The oldest, Wrythe Pet Cemetery, was constructed in late 2008 by order of Emperor Terry I, by unearthing the coffins of two previously buried deceased pet goldfish and translating the graves to a new site, alongside a third recent burial. Four more burials have taken place at Wrythe Pet Cemetery since July 2009, and repairs are carried out annually.
Another monument, also ordered by Emperor Terry I (but constructed under Emperor Esmond III and unveiled in January 2011, by which time Emperor Declan I also held the Throne) is Wrythe Genocide Memorial. This is a simple stone stele which was unveiled on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2011 to commemorate the memories of all genocide victims.
The most recent monument contructed in Wrythe was the Orange Pyramid, built under the orders of Crown Prince Jonathan in honour of Emperor Declan I and Wilcslandian culture, and unveiled on 12 April 2011. The base of the pyramid was comprised of blocks of cement, whereas the main outside walls were constructed out of pieces of orange pottery (hence the name "Orange"), and the pyramid was filled inside with pieces of masonry, cement, pottery and gravel. After practically collapsing in under a year due to lack of structural integrity, the pyramid was completely rebuilt in May 2012 in celebration of the Tin Jubilee of Declan I as Wilcslandian monarch, with some parts of the old monument being re-used in the construction of the new. The pyramid was destroyed in February 2014 by strong winds knocking branches of a nearby bush into it, and the ruins were cleared away by Wrythe Town Council in late June 2015.
The Empire celebrates between nine and ten (depending on whether or not the eastern and western dates of Easter coincide) national public holidays each year. These are officially defined in the Public Holidays Act 2014 as "days of celebration, on which employers are encouraged to offer leave from work to their employees." Twelve other holidays may be adopted for observation by individual Towns and Territories. Furthermore, three (two if Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day coincide) other days are nationally observed each year, but not as holidays, and any public or bank holiday in the United Kingdom is also observed as a public holiday in Austenasia.
Although many Austenasian holidays are Christian in origin, out of such only Easter, Christmas, and the feast day of Saint John (patron saint of the Empire) are nationally celebrated - all others are optional, to be adopted locally by approval of the respective authorities. It is assumed that holidays of other religions will be adopted in a similar way should a sizeable proportion of the population become adherents of that particular religion.
|1 January||New Year's Day||Public holiday (national)||The start of the new year.|
|20 January||Imperial Ascension Day||Public holiday (national)||The anniversary of the ascension to the Throne of Emperor Jonathan I. The date of the holiday will change upon the ascension of the next Monarch.|
|4 June||Imperium Day||Public holiday (national)||The anniversary of the recognition of the imperial rank of the Throne by the then German Emperor in 2011.|
|26 September||St. John's Day||Public holiday (national)||Feast of Saint John the Apostle, patron saint of Austenasia.|
|13 October||Emperor Day||Public holiday (national)||The birthday of Emperor Jonathan I. The date of the holiday will change upon the ascension of the next Monarch.|
|25 December||Christmas||Public holiday (national)||Celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.|
|The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21 March according to the Gregorian calendar.||Western Easter||Public holiday (national)||Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Should this date coincide with that of Orthodox Easter, they are observed concurrently, simply as "Easter".|
|The first Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21 March according to the Julian calendar.||Orthodox Easter||Public holiday (national)||Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Should this date coincide with that of Western Easter, they are observed concurrently, simply as "Easter".|
|5 September||Imperial Engagement Day||Public holiday (national)||Celebration of the anniversary of the engagement of Emperor Jonathan I to Princess Consort Hannah.|
|The third Saturday in September.||Independence Day||Public holiday (national)||Celebration of the Empire of Austenasia's Declaration of Independence on 20 September 2008.|
|The second Sunday in November.||Remembrance Sunday||Day of commemoration||Commemorating all those who have fought and died in war. Traditionally observed with one or two minutes of silence at 11 am.|
|11 November||Armistice Day||Day of commemoration||Observed separately to Remembrance Sunday should it not fall on the same day. Commemorating all those who have fought and died in war, specifically the First World War and those since. Traditionally observed with one or two minutes of silence at 11 am.|
|17 May||Pets Day||Day of commemoration||Officially only to commemorate deceased pets, but also used as an occasion to express appreciation and affection to living pets. Flowers are laid on each grave in Wrythe Pet Cemetery.|
|6 January||Epiphany/Theophany||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Celebrating the revelation of Jesus Christ to the world.|
|25 January||Burns Night||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Celebrating the life and works of the poet Robert Burns. Traditionally celebrated with an evening meal of haggis.|
|The Tuesday 47 days before Western Easter.||Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Traditionally observed with the eating of pancakes so as to use up rich foods before Lent.|
|The Wednesday 46 days before Western Easter.||Ash Wednesday||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Observing the first day of Lent in Western Christianity.|
|The seventh Monday before Orthodox Easter.||Clean Monday||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Observing the first day of Orthodox Great Lent.|
|The Friday before Western and/or Orthodox Easter.||Good Friday||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.|
|8 May||Alternative/extra date for the celebration of Saint John's Day.||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Saint John's Day may by decision of the local Town Council or Governor be celebrated on this date instead of (or as well as) the national date of 26 September. 8 May is observed in Orthodox Christianity as a secondary feast day of St John in commemoration of a miracle reported to have taken place at his tomb.|
|1 September||Ecclesiastical New Year||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Celebrated by the Orthodox Church and some Methodist churches as the start of the new church year.|
|29 September||Michaelmas||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Feast of the Archangel Michael in Western Christianity, patron saint of the Austenasian Throne.|
|5 November||Bonfire Night||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Celebration of the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, traditionally observed with fireworks and the lighting of bonfires.|
|8 November||Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||A celebration of the Orthodox Church in honour of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of the Austenasian Throne, and of all other angels anyone may wish to commemorate.|
|27 December||Alternative/extra date for the celebration of Saint John's Day.||Public holiday (optional, may be adopted by local authorities)||Saint John's Day may by decision of the local Town Council or Governor be celebrated on this date instead of (or as well as) the national date of 26 September. 27 December has been observed in Western Christianity since the medieval period in place of the older September date.|
Costume and dress