Tag Archives: global cultures
The Independence Day of any country is one of the most important days in the year. Ukraine celebrates its Independence on the 24th of August since 1991.
This date is connected with the adoption of the Independence Act in 1991 by the Ukrainian government. The act of proclamation of independence of Ukraine was drafted on August 24, 1991 and approved on the 1st of December, 1991 through a national vote. The first Independence Day was celebrated on the 16th of July, 1991, because on this day one year ago, the government of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic adopted the Act of Sovereignty which was the first step for making an independence state. In 1992, on the 20th of February, the Ukrainian government decided to celebrate the Independence Day on the 24th of August.
Ukraine (Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic) was part of the USSR till 1991. Nowadays, Ukraine is a presidential parliament republic; the head of the state is the President who is elected for the period of 5 years. The Ukrainian president guards the people’s freedom and state security, he is the Commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army.
What about the national symbols of Ukraine? The state emblem of Ukraine is a trident; the national flag of Ukraine consists of two stripes (blue on the top and yellow on the bottom) symbolizing peaceful blue sky and yellow wheat field. Our national anthem is called “Ukraine is still living” (words by P. Chubynsky, music by M. Verbytsky).
There are also spiritual national symbols of Ukraine such as the willow tree and guilder rose. They say “There is no Ukraine without willow tree and guilder rose”.The guilder rose is a symbol of uniting the Ukrainian nation. The willow tree is one of the most popular and medical trees here. According to the legend, the willow tree will grow only near the source of water, and in ancient times people were looking for sources of water by putting the branch of the willow into the ground. Then in a few days they checked the branch, if the branch is alive then it is a good place for making a well.
How do we celebrate Independence Day? Every year there is a festive parade and concert dedicated to the Independence Day. But this year (2012) instead of military parade there will be parade of people in national clothing.
There is no doubt Independence Day is an integral part of Ukrainian culture, because attaining independence was one of the way to introduce Ukraine and Ukrainians to the world.
Written by: Oksana Koval
First a short introduction to Swiss Cuisine:
As Switzerland is a country in the middle of Europe with four official languages, the dishes and the kind of food we have vary from region to region, and are mostly overshadowed by the neighbouring countries (France, Italy, Germany and Austria). Our food includes a lot of dairy products such as cheese, milk, cream and butter.
How our meals look like:
For breakfast we have a broad selection of bread, which makes the basis of our diet, with some butter or margarine, jam and honey. We also have Birchermüesli (Muesli) or some cereal with milk or yogurt. If there is time, we also like to make some eggs, omelettes or sausages. Sometimes we even make some Rösti. To drink, we have tea or coffee, milk or hot chocolate or some fruit juice. For a hurried breakfast, you can pick up some croissants or buns with coffee or tea to go.
Lunch consists of either a complete hot meal (schnitzel with fries, älplermagronen and rösti with zürcher geschnetzeltes are popular all over Switzerland) or just a sandwich, a salad or a birchermüesli. Dinner depends on what we had for lunch. If lunch was something heavy, we prefer something light like some soup with bread, or bread with some cheese and charcuterie. Others prefer to have a complete warm meal.
Now on to a few popular dishes and food we have in Switzerland:
Rösti is a speciality of the Swiss cuisine consisting mainly of potatoes.
It was originally eaten as a complete breakfast starting in the first half of the 19th century to replace porridge. Nowadays, it is served to accompany dishes such as sausages or zürcher geschnetzeltes.
Preparation changes from region to region. While some use raw grated potatoes, others prefer cooked potatoes and then grate it.
To the basic Rösti, additional ingredients can be added. Most popular would be bacon, onion, cheese or apple.
This is just one out of few recipes and it’s easy to make.
What you need (for 2 people): 1kg waxy potato, 1 egg, some salt and pepper, oil
Peel the raw potatoes and grate them coarsely. Squeeze out the juice with help of a cloth. Mix the grated potatoes with the egg; add some salt and some pepper. Warm some oil in a pan. Add the potato into the pan and press it to a flat round patty. Let it fry until one side is golden brown. Turn the patty with the help of a plate to brown the other side. And that’s it.
Aelplermagronen (alpine herdsman’s macaroni) is a complete typical Swiss Alps dish. It is made of pasta, potato chunks, cheese, cream and roasted onions.
The dish has regional variations: in some areas sliced ham or roasted bacon is added, other areas may remove the potatoes and others like to add small pieces of sausages.
Back in the 1880s, as the construction of the Gotthard tunnel was completed, pasta was brought over to Switzerland by Italian workers. This dish arose because the herdsmen could just throw everything into a bowl, which they always had handy. It was easy to carry, as there were neither trains nor other transport possibilities into the Alps. It quickly got popular in the Alps as it was a meal that can be kept for a longer time. Also it was very satisfying, with the ingredients being not too heavy to carry. Pasta mixed with cheap local potatoes, spiced with some onions, topped with some cheese and cream, summed up to a hearty dish that was easily made. Nowadays, we cook it a bit different and it is served with some separate apple sauce.
What u need (for 2 people):
5 potatoes, 150g pasta, 150g grated cheese, 100g cream, 150g milk, 1-2 onions, Some salt and pepper, parsley, butter
Peel the potatoes, wash them and cut into small cubes. Cook in salt water for about 15 min. Add pasta into the potatoes after about 8 min. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Boil up the milk and cream together while adding a bit less than half of the grated cheese and bring it to melt while stirring. Add some salt (I prefer using Aromat which is a Swiss spice instead of salt) and pepper to your like. Pour off water of pasta and potatoes. Rub fat from butter into the baking dish all around. Add potato and pasta and pour cream sauce over it. Add over the rest of the grated cheese. Bake until it gets a golden brown crust. Meanwhile cut onions into rings. Add and warm butter in a pan and add onions, cook till gold brown or to your liking. Take out the baking dish and add the onions, put back in oven if so desired. Serve and add cut parsley on top.
For the Apple sauce:
1kg apples, sugar, apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon
Peel apples, cut into small pieces and remove seeds part. Add 2 spoons of sugar into a pan. Let it caramelise. Add apples and stir on low heat for about 2 min. Add 250 ml of apple juice and add a lid on top. Cook till apples are completely soft. Mash to a puree. Finish with some cinnamon, lemon juice and sugar.
Raclette is a Swiss national dish prepared with melted cheese.
The special Raclette cheese (semi-skimmed cow’s milk cheese either plain, or cheese added with garlic, pepper or paprika) gets sliced and put in these so called coupelles which then get placed under the Raclette grill to melt.
It is eaten with small hard-boiled or roasted potatoes. The melted cheese is spread over the potatoes or just somewhere on the plate, whichever you prefer. Some like to have sour cream over the potatoes. Mostly we put spices on the cheese before or after it is melted. There is also a special Raclette spice mix that can be found in shops. Other additions can be pepper, paprika, nutmeg, onions, garlic, herbs, whatever one likes.
On the grill, various foods can be grilled, such as meat or vegetables. Also pickled onions and pickled gherkins are a must have. Raclette is usually served with warm tea or white wine.
It is used more as a festive meal which one can eat on for hours and especially on colder days. It’s a favourite on Christmas.
Years ago this was known under the name Bratchäs (roasted cheese) where Swiss herders placed cheese beside a fire until it got very soft so as to scrap it over their bread.
Basler mehlsuppe/Basel flour soup:
As the name implies, it consists mainly of wheat or rye flour. It is traditionally eaten on the Basel carnival. The three day carnival of Basel always starts on a Monday at 4 am, but you would begin to see restaurants already preparing the soup from 3 am.
It is a very easily made dish which was used in earlier times in poor households for breakfast. The ingredients belonged to the cheapest categories. Besides flour, all that was needed was water and milk and some salt or sugar to spice it, sometimes some pieces of bread were added as well. Nowadays it’s made a bit differently. It is served with some grated cheese on top or with some sour cream. And some bread on the side.
What you need (for 2 people):
3 spoons of wheat flour, 25g butter, half an onion, half litre bouillon, grated cheese, oil
Add flour into a pan. Stir on medium heat till it has a nice hazelnut brown. Let it cool down a bit. Add butter or margarine and let it melt while stirring. Besides this, put some oil into another pan and cook the onions to a golden brown color. Add these onions into the flour pan. Add bouillon and let it boil up while stirring. Reduce heat and let it cook for an hour, stirring now and then. Serve and add grated cheese on top.
Perhaps this doesn’t seem to be Swiss dish at first glance, as it’s quite exotic. But it is a Swiss dish and that too since 1952, invented by Mövenpick (Swiss hotel & restaurant chain).
It consists of long grain rice, sliced veal or chicken, curry sauce and fruits such as banana, pineapple and a fruit cocktail mix. Decorated with roasted almond flakes.
What you need (for 2 people):
200g sliced veal or chicken, 5g butter, half a banana, two slices of pineapple, few cherries from glas, 1 peach or instead of all these separately: a fruit cocktail mix, some almond flakes, 100g rice
For the sauce: either buy a completed curry sauce or 15g butter, 1 spoon flour, 200ml milk, water or bouillon, some salt, half spoon of curry, half cup of cream, nutmeg
Cook rice. Cut fruits the way you like the size of the pieces to be, and roast them lightly in some butter. In a different pan melt 15g butter and add 1 spoon flour, cook on low heat while stirring non-stop. Add 200ml of one of these fluids and boil while stirring constantly. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Add curry sauce, some salt, some nutmeg and cream. Meanwhile cook veal or chicken in a seperate pan, add the sauce and the fruits. Add rice in a circle around the outer plate and add sauce with fruits into the middle.
Zürcher geschnetzeltes/Sliced Meat Zurich style:
Speciality of canton Zurich, but well known all over Switzerland. And it’s typically served with Rösti. First recipe was seen in a cookbook in 1947.
What you need (for 2 people):
200g sliced veal, 125g champignon (mushrooms), 1 big onion, 25g butter, 400ml white wine (originally with white wine, but can also be left out and replaced with bouillon), 100g cream, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper
Wash mushrooms and cut into thin slices. Cut onions. Melt butter in pan and add the sliced veal until it gets a light brown colour. Take out from pan and keep warm. Now add the mushrooms in pan and cook till light brown, add onions till golden yellow colour. Add white wine (if not white wine, add bouillon instead). Reduce heat and add a lid, let cook for about 5 minutes. Whip the cream till semi-stiff. Add veal back into the pot also now add the cream and stir, spice it with salt and pepper to your preferences. Let it cook for 3 more minutes. Serve with Rösti. Mashed potatoes or noodles would also be fine.
A Swiss meal which is popular all over the world. It contains oatmeal and other cereal products, milk or yoghurt, fresh or dried fruits and nuts.
Developed in 1900 by a Swiss physician who got the idea for this while he was served some strange dish in the alps. He created a recipe out of it and called it originally d’spys (translated into: the dish). Today it is called the Birchermüesli (as his name was Dr. M. Bircher-Benner). It started getting popular around the world in the 1960s.
What you need:
This has so many possibilities, so just giving an example.
Oatmeal and other cereal one likes, raisins, milk, yoghurt natural or fruit, sugar, any kind of fruits and berries
Mix cereals and raisins with milk and let it stand for 30 minutes so it gets soft. Add yoghurt and some sugar. Cut the fruits to small pieces and add.
And that’s it! Of course there are a lot more of food specialties in Switzerland. I just picked out a few of the most popular ones. Whereas the most popular dish in Switzerland is the Fondue which has its own article.
Written by Momo Ritschard
Celebrated on the 3rd weekend of April, the Sechseläuten is a spring festival in canton Zurich. It is a goodbye to the cold winter days and a welcome to the warmer season of summer.
Beginning on Sunday afternoon at 14:30 (since 1896), it’s the children’s parade day, where the children (between 5 and 15 years old) walk around in Zurich city dressed up in their own country’s historic and cultural clothing. They also bring things that represent their culture, for example the children from China bring a huge dragon or the children from Peru bring their lamas. As for Zurich, 900 years worth of Swiss clothing is portrayed. About 2,000 to 3,000 kids take part each year with over 800 musicians to accompany them. The most common piece of music that you would hear is the instrumental song called Sechseläutenmarsch, which is the unofficial anthem of canton Zurich, specially played on Sechseläuten. This parade takes about 50 minutes.
The actual Sechseläute parade (since the 18th century) takes place on Monday starting in the afternoon at 15:00. The highlight of the parade is to burn a snowman (symbolizing winter) filled with firecrackers, called the böögg (kind of like a bogey). Over 3,500 guilds walk through Zurich in colorful historic and cultural costumes with their invited honorable guests, giving away flowers to the watching crowd. There are over 350 equestrians and around 50 carts drawn by horses accompanied by musicians. They all move towards the place (Sechseläutenplatz) where the böögg will be burned.
When the clock strikes 18:00, it’s time for the highlight. The pyre under the böögg is set on fire. A huge bonfire with lots of explosions takes place. The equestrian guilds ride with their horses three times around the fire. It is said the faster the böögg loses his head, the more beautiful the upcoming summer would be.
After 22:00, hundreds of people come with their shovel and take a bit of the burned ash from the hot wood pile and barbecue their own brought meat over it.
Written by: Momo Ritschard
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language spoken mostly in South Africa and Namibia. It was originally known as “Cape Dutch” or “Kitchen Dutch”. True to the name, its roots lie in the Dutch language, but also found some of its words in German, English, Khoisan (also native to South Africa) and several other languages.
Thus, if a more formal form of Afrikaans is spoken with a Dutch person, there might be a very good mutual understanding, though they are still two different languages. Afrikaans originally stemmed from the 17th century Dutch dialects but started to develop on its own, also adding words from several other languages.
Though it is a beautiful, if somewhat difficult, language, it is starting to die a slow death in South Africa; as the government wants to change all schools from Afrikaans to English. And most businesses now are run with English based workers, documents, etc.
Chol is a Turkish word from which Cholistan is derived; literally meaning Land of the Desert. People live a semi nomadic life. Siraiki is the language spoken here. It is considered one of the most fascinating languages of Pakistan.
Although a barren land, it is very fertile in arts and crafts. Livestock is the chief source of food here. Other than that, textile, weaving, leather-work and especially pottery are famous in Cholistan.