Tuesday, 15 October 2019


Everything you need to know about Belizean Music

Belize has a rich and varied musical history, partly in due to the contributions of various cultures and groups living in the country. Whether it is modern genres like punta rock or traditional dances inherited from the long centuries of Maya presence, the music of Belize is truly unique.

Mestizo Music

Following a number of bloody wars in neighboring Mexico, a group known today as the Mestizos emigrated to Belize, bringing their unique musical styles and influences with them. Mestizo music often features the marimba, a Caribbean twist on an African xylophone-like instrument. Mestizo musical styles featuring the marimba usually also have a double bass, drum sets, and other instruments.

A popular musical genre performed in Mestizo areas of Belize is cumbia, an energetic up-tempo style similar to merengue, salsa, and other latino dances.

Kriol Music

Developed by the African slaves and their descendants brought to Belize, Kriol music has developed a number of unique genres. One of the most popular styles of Kriol music is known as brukdown ( Creole for “breakdown”, referring to “broken down calypso”) that includes a popular sub-genre called buru. Originally, buru was performed by musicians using a banjo, drums, and the jawbone of a donkey. Other sub-genres of brukdown include mento music, heavily influenced by Jamaican and Trinidadian forms of calypso music.

One of the hottest genres of Kriol music today is called “boom and chime”, featuring an electric guitar, conga drums, and a bass guitar.

Garifuna Music

Garifuna culture first developed when African slaves imported to work on Caribbean island plantations intermarried with indigenous Caribbean islanders. Due to social isolation, the Garifuna preserved their unique language, food, and musical styles that incorporate African rhythms and philosophies.

There are dozens of traditional Garifuna folk dance and musical styles, including: hungu-hungu, combination, matamuerte, laremuna wadaguman, gunjai, sambai, paranda, berusu, arumahani, and abaimahani. The most popular Garifuna-influenced modern styles include punta and punta rock, popular for their danceable rhythms and up-tempo beats.

The most important elements of traditional Garifuna music are the drums. Sometimes played separately, Garifuna drums are traditionally made from local hardwoods like mahogany and fitted with domestic animal skins like deer, sheep, or peccaries. Garifuna drums are often accompanied by an instrument known as a sisera, similar in appearance and design to maracas.

Modern Musical Styles

Music and dancing are integral elements in Belizean culture, and it is now possible to hear a wide variety of different musical styles throughout the country, including reggae, punta, soca, dancehall, hip hop, rock n’ roll, and even heavy metal. The most popular musical styles heard at clubs and dances include top 40 music from the USA and Britain, soca (from Trinidad) and dancehall (from Jamaica).

Thanks to its unique history as a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and musical styles, Belize has served as a catalyst for fusions of traditional and modern musical styles. Whether it is the high-speed patter of singing in cumbia in the north or the steady rhythms of Garifuna drums in the southeast, Belize is a country where music is cherished, enjoyed, and extremely popular with both locals and visitors alike.

•culled from www.belizehub.com

Monday, 14 October 2019

Religious Beliefs In Bahrain

Islam is the official religion in Bahrain.



Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf . It comprises the main island of Bahrain and several other smaller islands and islets surrounding it. The King Fahd Causeway connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. The country hosts a population of around 1,234,571 individuals. Less than 50% of the country’s population is Bahraini and the rest are non-nationals. Bahrain is among the world's most densely populated places.

Religions Practised In Bahrain

According to the CIA World Factbook, Islam is the state religion of Bahrain and is followed by around 70.3% of the population of the country. Most Bahraini citizens are Muslim and most Muslims are Shiites. The country also has a small but significant Christian population. 14.5% of the population of the country adhere to Christianity. Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and folk religions account for 9.8%, 2.5%, 0.6%, and less than 1% of the total population, and 1.9% of the population is not affiliated to any religion.

Islam In Bahrain

Bahrain was one of the earliest places to accept Islam. Prior to the introduction of this religion in the country, the indigenous people of the area practiced Arabian paganism that involved the worship of idols. Islam arrived in the Arabian region in the 7th century. In 628 AD, the first envoy was sent by Muhammad to the historical region of Bahrain to convince its ruler to accept Islam. The ruler did convert to the religion followed by most of his subjects in Bahrain and Qatar. The Khamis Mosque is believed to be the country’s oldest mosque. Later, in 899, the Ismaili Shia sect occupied Bahrain. They also raided Mecca and Medina and brought the Black Stone to Bahrain where it remained for about 20 years. However, the Abbasids defeated the sect in 976. Today, according to unofficial sources, Sunnis and Shias comprise about 45% and 55% of the Muslim population of Bahrain, respectively. Islamic holidays are strictly observed in the country.

Other Religions In Bahrain

As a large number of foreign workers stay in Bahrain, they practice their own religions in the country. Many of the workers are from the South Asian nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Some of them are Muslims while others are Hindus or Sikhs. Although the country’s constitution does state that Islam is the official religion, it also allows for freedom of religion. However, this freedom is regulated by the government. The believers in other religions are expected to respect the traditions and culture of the country and act accordingly. Licenses and permits are required for holding religious meetings or establishing religious bodies in the country.

Religious Beliefs In Bahrain By Percentage

Rank Religion Population (%)

1 Muslim 70.3
2 Christian 14.5
3 Hindu 9.8
4 Buddhist 2.5
5 Unaffiliated 1.9
6 Jewish 0.6
7 Other 0.2
8 Folk Religion 0.1

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Bahrain?

Ethnic Bahrainis account for 46% of the country's population.


Bahrain Demographics

Bahrain is an island state that is situated in the
Persian Gulf . Bahrain is located between Saudi Arabia and the Qatar peninsula. Bahrain Island is linked to Saudi Arabia by the 16 miles long King Fahd Causeway. It is the third-smallest Asian state right after Singapore and the Maldives.
Bahrain is an ethnically diverse state that is made up of over eight communities. Some of the main ethnic groups living in Bahrain include Bahrainis (46%), Asians (45.5%), Africans (1.6%), Europeans (1%), and other Arabs (4.7%) among others. Over 55% of the residents are immigrants. A considerable percentage of the immigrants in Bahrain came from Southeast and South Asia. About 8,000 Indonesians, 45,000 Filipinos, 45,000 Pakistanis, 125,000 Bangladeshis, and 290,000 Indians migrated to Bahrain from 2005 to 2009. Some of the main ethnic communities living in the country include:


The Baharna people are the original inhabitants of Bahrain. Baharna community is a Shia-Muslim ethnoreligious group who live in the historical area of Eastern Arabia. The Shia Bahrainis are split into two ethnic groups: Ajam and Baharna. The Ajams are Persian Shias while the Shia Bahrainis are Arabs (Baharna). A huge percentage of the Persian Shias have established large communities in Muharraq and Manama. A smaller group of the Shia Bahrainis, known as Hasawis, came from Al-Hasa.

Ajam of Bahrain

The Ajam of Bahrain, also known as Iranian Bahrainis or Persian Bahrainis, is an ethnic group residing in Bahrain. The Ajam of Bahrain is composed of Shia-Bahraini citizens that are of non-Arab Iranians living in Bahrain. There are over 100,000 Ajams in Bahrain, making up about 14% of the total population. The Ajams of Bahrain are bilingual and converse in both Arabic and Persian. The Persians started migrating to Bahrain during the days of Achaemenid Persian and Sassanid empires. Initially, the Persians settled in Mushbir, but they moved to other towns in Bahrain with time. Currently, a significant number of Ajam communities reside in the numerous modernized Shia towns in Bahrain islands and Muharraq.

Other Communities

The Bania also referred to as the Vanya, Vania or the Vaniya, are a group of merchants, money-lenders, bankers and grain or spice dealers living in Bahrain. The Bania are Indians who traded with the natives centuries ago and settled in the country long before the age-of-oil. Another small community found in Bahrain is the Hola community. The Hola community is composed of Sunni Arabs who migrated to Bahrain from Persia during the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The Bahraini Jews community is small. Numerous sources claim that there are between 36 to 50 Jews living in Bahrain.


Bahrain had a population of about 1,234,571 people by 2010, and this included 666,172 non-Bahraini and 568,399 Bahraini.


Even though English is widely used in the country, the official language of Bahrain is Arabic. The most widely spoken Arabic dialect on the planet is the Bahrain Arabic, which differs widely from Arabic. The Arabic language plays a key role in the country’s politics since anyone who wants to become the country’s Member of Parliament (MP) must know Arabic. A considerate percentage of the population converse in Urdu (Pakistan’s official language) or Persian (Iran’s official language). Nepali is used by the Gurkha Soldiers and Nepalese workers. Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, and Malayalam are also used among numerous Indian communities. All road signs and commercial institutions in Bahrain display both the Arabic language and English.


Islam is Bahrain’s state religion with a huge percentage of the locals being Muslims. The majority of the Muslims in Bahrain are Shiites. Bahrain is one of the 3 middles eastern states with the highest number of Shiites. The 2017 Bahrain national survey confirmed that 32% of Bahrainis are Sunni while 62% are Shia.

By Geoffrey Migiro

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Culture and Customs Of Bahrain

Bahrain has an ethnically diverse population which is reflected in its culture.



Bahrain has one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world, owing to the cosmopolitan nature of its population. Foreign citizens outnumber Bahraini citizens, and therefore foreign influence has been integral in shaping the culture of the kingdom. Foreign influence can be seen in the language in Bahrain. While Arabic is recognized as the kingdom’s official language, Persian, Urdu, and English are some of the popular languages in Bahrain. Nonetheless, the culture of Bahrain is largely based on Arabic culture and is similar to the cultures of the kingdom’s neighboring countries. The most popular language in Bahrain is Bahraini Arabic, a local dialect of Arabic used in the kingdom.


The official religion in the country is Islam and is recognized as such in the Constitution. The Constitution also spells out religion freedom, but the government restricts this freedom in specific instances. Muslims account for about 99.8% of Bahraini citizens. The majority of Muslims in the kingdom identify as Shia Muslims, constituting at least 66% of Bahrain’s Muslims. Census data in Bahrain does not provide for the population of individual religions except for Islam. Nonetheless, the Christian population in the kingdom is estimated to be 1,000 while the Jewish population is believed to be 40. Hinduism is practiced by a section of foreigners in Bahrain, with the kingdom having a few Hindu temples.


Music is another aspect of Bahrain’s culture and exists in different types of genres. The most popular style of traditional music in the country is known as “ Khaleeji,” which is composed and performed in the Arab world. Traditional musical instruments such as the Rebaba and the Oud feature prominently in Bahraini folk music. Sawt music and the zaffan dance were famous in the early 20 th century but still have a significant following in the country. Modernity can be seen in Bahrain’s music, with western genres such as heavy metal and progressive rock being popular among the young generation. Some of the renowned local bands that perform from these genres include Death Box Audio, The Relocators, Hot Laser, and Bloodshed. The Osiris, a Bahraini band, gained global prominence in the 1980s for incorporating traditional Bahraini music with progressive rock.


Football is the most popular sport in the kingdom, with the Bahrain Premier League being the top-tier domestic league for the sport in the kingdom. 1952 marked the first season of the Bahrain Premier League. Teams placed at the bottom at the end of a football season are relegated to the second tier professional league known as the Bahraini Classification League. Many of the local football matches are held at the Bahrain National Stadium. Another favorite sport in Bahrain is cricket, with the kingdom being represented in international competitions by the Bahraini national cricket team. The national cricket team has featured in the ACC Trophy on numerous editions after marking its debut in the 2004 edition. The Bahrain Cricket Association governs the sport in Bahrain. The kingdom has its domestic cricket league known as the Bahrain Cricket League which was founded in 1981. A total of 48 professional cricket teams participate in the Bahrain Cricket League. Mixed martial arts is another famous sport in Bahrain. The Bahraini government has invested heavily in developing the sport to positive results as the kingdom hosted the 2017 edition of the Amateur World Championships. Motorsport is quickly becoming among Bahrain’s top sports, with the kingdom having a Formula-One track. Motorsport competitions held in Bahrain attract professional racers from all over the world. The Gulf Air Grand Prix of 2004, which was held in the kingdom, was the first of its kind to be held in an Arab country.


Arabic art has been made in the kingdom for centuries in the form of paintings, embroideries, crafts, and calligraphic texts. Bahrain is home to ancient pottery which has been dated back to the 3rd Millennium BC. Modern Bahrain art has its origins traced to the 1950s and coinciding with the formation of the Arts and Literature Club. Bahraini artists came together and formed the Bahrain Arts Society in 1983. The arts society has received assistance from the Bahraini government to enable the artists to receive training in Arabic art, as well as to host exhibitions in the country. A large collection of Bahrain art is domiciled at the Bahrain National Museum.

Performance arts have a significant following in Bahrain, with a few theatres in the kingdom. Theatre enjoyed its golden age in the 1970s when famous local playwrights staged home-grown plays to great acclaim. The government is, however, investing in revitalizing the theatre industry in Bahrain and offers subsidies to the three non-profit theatres in the country. The government also oversaw the construction of the National Theatre of Bahrain, a 1,001-seater theatre in Manama that was opened in 2012. The film industry in the country is also growing, with Bahrain being home to about 45 cinemas. Film was introduced to the kingdom in the early 20 th century with the opening of the first makeshift cinema in 1937. The country has since seen the establishment of modern cinemas including the kingdom’s first IMAX theatre in 2015. The total number of admissions in Bahrain’s cinemas was over 2.1 million in 2009.


Due to its aridity and limited land resource, Bahrain produces a small percentage of its own food and relies on imports to meet domestic demand. Arabic, Indian, Persian, and even African influences can be seen in Bahraini cuisine. Rice, dates, and wheat are some of the staple food in the kingdom. Meat and fish also feature prominently in Bahraini cuisine. Lamb and mutton are the common red meats in the kingdom while chicken and fish make up the white meats cooked in most Bahraini households and restaurants. The most common dish in Bahrain is Biryani which consists of seasoned rice prepared with either lamb or chicken. Biryani has Indian origins, as an example of foreign influence in Bahraini cuisine. Coffee is the most popular beverage in the kingdom, with a local coffee brew known as “ Qahwah” being recognized as Bahrain’s national beverage. Tea is also popular among Bahrain citizens and is served in many households.

By Joseph Kiprop

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Sunday, 13 October 2019

The Largest Religions in Wales

Christianity remains the largest religion in Wales.

Some of the major religions in the world are found in Wales including Christianity (the largest religion in Wales), Sikhism , Islam, Judaism , and Hinduism. Most of the non-Christian faiths can be found in the cities of Swansea, Cardiff, and Newport.

The Largest Religions In Wales


Christianity remains the largest religion in Wales. The religion first arrived in Wales at the height of the Roman Empire. It was initially banned by the authorities who were skeptical and suspicious about its exclusivity and secrecy. It started as an urban religion and steadily grew among the population. In recent years, the religion has witnessed a significant drop from its historic highs. For example, in 2001, when an estimated 71% of its population professed the faith, the proportion of believers dropped to 57% according to statistics taken in 2011.

No religion

While the number of people professing the various religions such as Christianity has been on a steady decline, those identifying with no religion have been on the rise. In 2011, an estimated 32% of the population had no religion in Wales which is a rise from 15% that was recorded in 2001.


Islam is the largest non-Christian faith in Wales. According to the census of 2001, the religion had 22,000 members. The religion is thought to have experienced significant growth in the south of Wales when the City of Cardiff was among the largest coal exporting ports in the world. The Yemeni Muslim population in the city is also thought to be among the oldest members of the faith in Britain. The city's first purpose-built mosque was built in 1947. The mosques number has since increased to about 40 in total.

Hinduism and Buddhism

The two religions have about 5,000 Welsh members each. It means that each accounts for 0.3% of the population. The largest number of Buddhists is found in Ceredigion.


Sikhism has about 2,000 members who represent about 0.1% of the population.
Other Religions Practiced In Wales
According to the census of 2001, the number of people from “other religions” in Wales was about 7,000. A large number of people in this category identified themselves as Druids. The Druid beliefs were practiced before the Roman invasion, and the revival of the religion arguably marks a full circle in the religion's history.

The Largest Religions in Wales

Rank Religion Population (%)

1 Christianity 57.6
2 No religion 32.1
3 Islam 1.5
4 Other religion 0.4
5 Hinduism 0.3
6 Buddhism 0.3
7 Sikhism 0.1
8 Judaism 0.1

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Population Of The United Kingdom

64.1 million people inhabit the European nation of United Kingdom, equivalent to about 0.88% of the total world population.

The United Kingdom, comprised of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, has a population of approximately 64.1 million. About 83.9% of the people live in England. The entire region has gone through all the phases of demographic changes and today experiences a low population growth. This decline in growth is due, in part, to the low fertility rate of 1.92 children per woman. In order to maintain a healthy population size, a fertility rate of 2 is required. The mortality rate is also low with 9.3 deaths per 1,000 people. Ages are distributed as follows: 17.6% are between 0 and 14 years, 66% between 15 and 64, and 16.4% over the age of 65. Together, cardiovascular disease and cancer are responsible for 60% of all deaths.


People of British ancestry have their roots in a variety of indigenous groups including the Celtic, Norse, Anglo-Saxon, Normans, and Romans. Many of these groups came to and settled in the area from the Iberian Peninsula during the Neolithic period between 10,500 BC and 2,000 BC. Over time, these settlers divided into three major groups: the English, Scotch, and Welsh. The people were divided into various kingdoms ruled by different indigenous leaders for hundreds of years. By 937 AD, the regions were united as one nation state under the rule of Anglo-Saxon King Athelstan of Wessex. This was the first unifying moment that brought the cultures together as one “British” culture. This did not, however, stop tribal and clan identities which, over many centuries, led Scotland, Wales, and Ireland to fight for their independence from England. In 1707, Scotland and England signed a unity treaty and in 1800, Ireland followed suit.


Religious identity and practice of the poupulation of the United Kingdom are varied but declining. In fact, 49% of the population identifies as irreligious, which is the lack of religious belief, atheism, and agnosticism. This religious identity is common and increasing throughout Europe. The UK has entered a period of post-Christianity. Of the four nations within the UK, England is the least religious.

The second most commonly practiced religion is Anglican Christianity, practiced in the Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church of Ireland, and Church of Wales. The religion was formed in 1534 when its followers broke away from the Catholic Church due to different interpretations of the Christian holy text. Since then, this has been the predominant Christian denomination and today, 17% of the population identify as such.
Another 17% of the people of the UK practice non-Catholic and non-Anglican Christian denominations. These include Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Orthodox, and Evangelical (to name a few). In Ireland, the second largest religion is Protestantism.

Roman Catholicism is practiced by 8% of the population and has an interesting history in the UK. After the church split, the Catholic Church would not recognize the previously mentioned Anglican church. Catholics, in turn, were discriminated against and prohibited from fully participating in society. In Northern Ireland, 40% of the population is Catholic.

Only 5% of the population consider themselves Muslim, although it is the fastest growing religion in the region due to immigration patterns. Approximately 3% of the population practice religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Baha’i.


Today, the UK is made up of more than people of British descent. Events throughout history have shaped the face of the region today and resulted in some groups of different ethnicities. For example, the African slave trade of the 1700’s resulted in a small population of Black British (a controversial term). International trade with China during the 19th century brought many Chinese immigrants. Beginning in 1964, many immigrants from former British colonies came to the UK, originating from Africa, the Caribbean, and South Asia. Additionally, since 2004, many immigrants have come from Central and Eastern Europe as a result of being included in the European Union.
The 2011 census results are as follows: White (87%); Asian British, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, and others (6.9%); Black British (3%); Mixed (2%); Other (.9%); and Gypsy or Irish Traveller (.1%).


The official language of the poupulation of the United Kingdom is English, which is spoken by 95% of the population. In 1992, Europe drafted the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in order to preserve historical languages throughout the region. This protection is only provided to the original languages used by historic national populations, thus excluding the languages of recent immigrants. In the UK, these languages include Scots, Cornish, Ulster-Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Irish. The use of these languages is measured by abilities like speaking, reading, and writing. The percentage of people who can at least speak these languages is Welsh (18.35%), Scots (30.12%), Irish (6.05%), Ulster-Scots (2.04%), Scottish Gaelic (1.13%), and Cornish (.09%). The second most common non-historic language spoken in the UK is Polish, used by 1.01% of the population.


The UK has provided free public education since a long time. In 1870, universal primary level education was established in England, Wales, and Scotland. The secondary level was established in 1900. Children between the ages of 5 and 16 are required to attend school, and only small percentages attend private school. After secondary school, children have the option to obtain higher levels of education which includes apprenticeships and vocational training. This dedication to education has had a tremendous impact on the literacy rate throughout the UK. Today, approximately 99% of the population can read and write.

Sources Of Livelihood

The economy in the UK is one of the strongest in the world. About 78% of the UK’s gross domestic product comes from the service industry, which includes jobs in retail, transportation, sales, entertainment, restaurants, hotels, healthcare, financial services, and any other area that provides services to other businesses or customers. Other major employers in the UK include the automobile, pharmaceutical, and aerospace industries.

Future Trends

As previously mentioned, the poupulation of the United Kingdom is experiencing relatively slow growth due to low fertility rates among women. However, immigration to the region has led to an increase in population. In fact, 53% of the growth experienced between 1991 and 2014 was due to migration. This trend is could continue over the next 20 years or so. As people from different countries and cultures settle in the UK, they will contribute to natural changes in birth and death rates. Approximately 17% of future growth is expected to come from these changes. This means that new immigrants will directly, and indirectly, contribute to roughly 70% of expected future growth trends.

By Amber Pariona

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Welsh: Cultures of the World

Welsh people refer to the people from Wales and also the people of Welsh ancestry who are perceived to be sharing cultural heritage and ancestral origin.

The Welsh people are a nation and an ethnic group native to Wales. The Welsh language belongs to the Insular Celtic family and has historically been spoken mostly in Wales. The origin of the Welsh nation can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th century after the departure of the Romans. Welsh people refer to the people from Wales and also the people of Welsh ancestry who are perceived to be sharing cultural heritage and ancestral origin. Wales in itself is a country that forms part of the United Kingdom with the majority of the people being British citizens.

The Welsh people have a distinctive culture including their own language, customs, beliefs, holidays, music, and cuisine. The Welsh culture has endured despite the series of invasions, absorption into Great Britain, and mass arrival of non-Welsh residents. The Welsh language has played a key role in the promotion of the Welsh culture. Key to the Welsh culture is the folk tradition of poetry and music that continues to promote the Welsh language to date. The Welsh scholars and intellectuals in the past centuries published extensively on the Welsh culture which has been handed down to the new generation.


The development of cities and towns in Wales did not begin until the era of industrialization in the 1700s. The rural areas are characterized by older, traditional, and whitewashed stone buildings. Successful settlements and villages have grown into political and economic centers while some villages have become the center of rural society, especially southern and eastern Wales. The timber-framed houses emerged in the Middle Age, first from the north then to the rest of Wales. In the late 16th century, houses began to vary in sizes and refinement reflecting a significant growth in the middle class. The land owner began to build brick houses that reflected the vernacular style that was popular in England then. The industrialization period in the 18th century led to the urban growth that was characterized by the imitation of English architecture. Currently, most of the homes in Wales are owner-occupied.


Welsh cuisine is said to be similar to English with slight regional variations that can be traced historically to the availability of certain types of food. Cawl is considered the Welsh national dish - it is a slow-cooked combination of meat and vegetables. It was a traditionally vegetable-heavy dish but meat has since been included. Cheese is a common ingredient used in cooking several traditional dishes including Glamorgan sausage. The cakes are made of bakestone, sultanas, and currants. The Welsh consider beer as their national drink. The production of Whisky in Wales is also historically a niche industry.

Cultural Significance

Generally, Welsh culture has a direct impact on the way of life and the interaction in the country. The Welsh language has historically been spoken in most parts of Wales and the UK. It remains a predominant language in some parts of the country. The Welsh festivals of Calan Mai, Calan Awst, and Calenning are some of the most celebrated traditional festivals throughout Wales. Some of the festivals such as St David’s Day have been proposed to be considered as a public holiday. The Welsh Music has often promoted the country on international levels with Wales commonly referred to as the "Land of songs".


The decline in the number of Welsh speakers in rural areas is attributed to the movement of non-Welsh speaking population to the area. Most of the Welsh people are also adopting English as their main language with the majority in South Wales preferring to speak English to Welsh. The linguistic decline has been witnessed in most part of the country despite the increase in Welsh-language nursery education. Socialization with other cultures, especially English and Irish culture has reduced the popularity of the Welsh culture outside of Wales. The adoption of the modern western culture, especially in art and music is significantly weakening the Welsh culture.

By John Misachi

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The Religious Demographics Of Italy

Christianity is the dominant religion in Italy, with 71.4% of the population of the population being Christians.


Italy Religion

Italy is among Europe’s most developed countries covering an estimated area of 116,347 square miles. Italy shares its borders with Austria , France , San Marino Vatican City, and Slovenia. It is the third most populous country in Europe with a population of 61 million. Po Valley is the most populated area in Italy accounting for over 50% of the total population. while Sardinia Island and the Basilicata Plateau are the least populated areas. Italy has no state-recognized or official religion – however, the Catholic Church plays a significant role in society. Some of the common religions in Italy include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Judaism .

Major Religions In Italy


71.4% of Italians ascribe to Christianity making it the dominant religion in the country with Catholicism being the majority Christian denomination. Other Christian denominations include Orthodox , Jehovah’s Witness, Protestant , and Methodists. The Catholic Church accounts for 93% of all Christians in Italy. Vatican City, which is the headquarters of over one billion Catholics worldwide, is within the territory of Italy and has a massive influence on the growth of Catholic Church in Italy. Most of the Catholic religious orders have their offices in Italy, specifically Rome. These orders include Benedictines, Jesuits, Dominicans, Redemptorists, Silesians, Franciscans, and Divine Word Missionaries. Italy is divided into 225 Dioceses headed by bishops. Apart from the Catholic Church, there are other native churches, and these are Italo-Albanian Catholic Church and Waldensian Evangelical Church which originated from Lyon in France forming a Calvinist denomination. Some of the Protestant churches in Italy include Baptist Evangelical Christian Union of Italy, Lutheran Evangelical Church, Methodist Church, and Presbyterian Church in Italy.


Islam does not command a huge following as Christianity in Italy and is not recognized by the state. Only 3.1% of the population in Italy confesses Islam faith. Islam is thought to have been brought into Italy when the Abbasid Caliphate took control of Sicily in the 9th Century. The Norman Conquest led to the conversion of Muslims leading to their decline in Italy. In the 20th Century, Somali Immigrants started arriving in Italy, and the immigration has continued to date. Muslims have had issues with the presence of Crucifix in public places demanding their removal.


Buddhists in Italy account for only 0.4% of the total population. Buddhism in Italy can be traced back to 1960s when Buddhists Italian Association was founded. In 1985 Italian Buddhist was formed in Milan with the president recognizing the union in 1991. The agreement between the IBU and the Italian government was signed in 2007 by the Italian constitution while the agreement became law in 2012.

Other Religions in Italy

Only 0.6% of the Italian population ascribe to other religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism , and Judaism while the rest of the population either ascribe to other faiths or are not affiliated with any religion. With the current rate of immigration, Italy will experience an increase in the number of Muslims coming into the country. Other religions such as Orthodox Christianity are already establishing themselves in the country. Jehovah’s Witnesses, another Christian sect, are also relative newcomers to Italy, and a denomination that is quickly rising there with a popular following of 420,000. Christian immigrants are also pushing up the number of Christians in Italy.

The Religious Demographics Of Italy

Rank Religion Number Of Believers % of Population

1 Christianity 43,433,750 71.4
2 Islam 1,859,100 3.1
3 Buddhism 257,300 0.4
4 Hinduism 177,200 0.3
5 Sikhism 150,000 0.2
6 Judaism 42,850 0.1

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Largest Cities in Italy

Rome is the most populous city in Italy, followed by Milan and Naples.


Italy Cities of the World

Italy's history dates back to long before the classical age. As the country developed and gained global influence, civilizations and settlements sprouted up all over. Today, Rome is the biggest city in Italy, as well as the 8th largest city in Europe. As Italy is one of the world's most visited countries , the city of Rome is very popular amongst tourists as well.
All data comes from the Italian Census.

Top 5 Most Populated City in Italy

Rome - 2,872,800

Rome is the largest city in Italy, with nearly 3 million residents within its city center. This city has a history of more than 2,500 years and was first inhabited by Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans. Today, Italians and immigrants from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bangladesh, the Phillippines, and China reside in Rome. Given that this city home to Vatican City, it’s no surprise that the dominant religion is Catholicism.

Milan - 1,366,180

With a population of 1.3 million, Milan is the second largest city in Italy. Over history, many different cultures have conquered the city and together they have shaped it into the place it is today. Milan was originally founded by Celtic Insubres around 400 BC. Later, Romans took power followed by the Germanic Visigoths, the Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, and the Franks. In recent times, Italians from rural areas and foreign born individuals (particularly from Africa, Eastern Europe, Asians, and South Americans) make up the composition of the city.

Naples - 966,144

The third largest city in Italy is Naples with a population of just under one million. As one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, its history of inhabitants is long and diverse. Around 2,000 BC, Greek immigrants settled here and stayed throughout centuries until the city became part of the Roman Republic. After the fall of the Roman Empire , Naples became the capital of the Kingdom of Naples for nearly 600 years until 1812. Interestingly, 98.5% of the residents are Italian born.

Turin - 882,523

Turin, in northern Italy, is the fourth most populated city in Italy with a population of just under one million. It is found in the country's Piedmont region. Turin is well known for its art galleries, public squares, and architecture. It hosted the 2006 Olympics.

Palermo - 668,405

Palermo is Italy's fifth largest city, with a population of over half a million. It is the largest city in Sicily. It is an ancient city that dates back thousands of years. It is often visited for its Mediterranean weather.

Future Demographic Trends

Although these cities have impressive population sizes, they are not expected to grow. In fact, the overall population of Italy is expected to decline over the next three decades or so. The issue is that of an aging population, and the fact that the death rate is exceeding the birth rate.

The Ten Biggest Metropolitan Cities In Italy

Rank City Population

1 Rome 2,872,800
2 Milan 1,366,180
3 Naples 966,144
4 Turin 882,523
5 Palermo 668,405
6 Genoa 580,097
7 Bologna 389,261
8 Florence 380,948
9 Bari 323,370
10 Catania 311,620

By Amber Pariona

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Friday, 11 October 2019

Largest Ethnic Groups Of Italy

Around 8% of Italy's population identify as one of numerous non-Italian minorities, with Romanian Italians being the largest among them.


Italy Demographics

Around 8% of Italy’s population identify as one of the numerous non-Italian minorities, with Romanian Italians being the largest of the minority groups. The dominant ethnic group in Italy is the native Italians who mainly speak the Italian language. Minority groups in Italy are majorly a result of immigration and settlement from other countries. Most of these immigrants went to Italy seeking employment opportunities.


Nearly 92.0% of Italy’s population is Italians making it the largest ethnic group in the country. Native groups in the Italian Peninsula were the Etruscans while groups such as Greeks, Germans, Jews, Romans and Celts occupied the Peninsula in medieval times. Descendants of the indigenous groups and the settlers make up the modern-day Italians. In the Southern part of Italy , Greek-Italians and Albanian-Italians are found while the North part is dominated by the French-Italians, Slovene-Italians, and German-Italians. Of all the occupations in the Italian Peninsula, the Romans influenced the culture of Italians the most. With time, different provinces of Italians developed their culture and dialects, a diversity which is still evident in the modern day Italy. Most Italians profess to the Roman Catholic religion while a small number profess to Judaism or Protestantism or migratory Islam. Notable Italians have made major contributions in the fields of culture, arts, language, science, and literature. Famous Italians are Leonard da Vinci for his contributions in architecture and paleontology and Galileo Galilei, a dominant figure in astronomy.


1.8% of the total population in Italy are Romanians. The presence of Romanians in Italy is attributed to immigrations to Italy by Romanian citizens who began in the 1990s. The first phase of immigrants was fleeing persecution in Romania, while the second phase flocked to Italy for better employment opportunities and improved standards of living. A large number of Romanians in Italy are Christians more specifically Orthodox Christian. Roman Catholic and Protestant make up a small number of Romanians.

The relationship between Italians and Romanians is one of mistrust. Romanians are blamed for illegal and criminal activities. A particular event in October 2007, where an Italian woman was killed in a violent murder by an alleged Romanian immigrant, sparked a significant outcry from Italians. Proposed legislations were made to allow the government to remove certain EU citizens it deems a threat to Italy’s security. Although the legislation was not eventually enforced, profiling of Romanian citizens as criminals continues in Italy. Romanians in Italy are characterized by a strong link to their culture and language. The Romanian presence in Italy is attested through over 200 Orthodox Churches, a political party, and numerous Romanian associations. There is also a Television Station that broadcasts in the Romanian language in Italy.

Maghrebi and Arabic

Maghrebi and Arabic both have a share of 1.1% of the total population in Italy. The majority of the people from these two groups are immigrants from Arab countries such as Tunisia, Libya, Syria ,
Morocco , Lebanon, and Egypt. There existed Muslim communities in Italy in the medieval era, whose presence dwindled as a result of various conquests. Somali asylum seekers in the 20th century to Italy sparked a wave of Muslim immigration. The dominant religion practiced by these ethnicities is Islam, more specifically the Sunni branch of Islam. The Maghrebi Arabic communities have various associations.


0.8% Albanians make up the total population of Italy. Albania and Italy had long close ties in medieval times, mostly through military assistance given by Albania to Italy. Some Albanians, fleeing the occupation of Turks, settled in Italy and established Albanian communities mainly in Southern Italy. These communities still inhabit parts of modern Southern Italy such as Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and Abruzzi. Arberesh language is common among Albanians in Italy, with different dialects used in various villages. The Albanian community has influenced festivals and celebrations in Italy. The primary religion of the Albanians is Christian Catholic.


Other ethnicities found in Italy by share of the total population are Han Chinese (0.3%) and Ukrainian (0.3%). Italy has been increasingly receiving immigrants seeking asylum, especially from countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa. These immigrants have the potential to affect Italy’s demographics to a small extent. The Muslim population in Italy is projected to increase steadily in Italy and other parts of Europe.

Largest Ethnic Groups Of Italy

Rank Ethnicity or Nationality Share of Italian Population

1 Italian 92.0%
2 Romanian 1.8%
3 Maghrebi and/or Arabic 1.1%
4 Albanian 0.8%
5 Han Chinese 0.3%
6 Ukrainian 0.3%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culed from www.worldatlas.com

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Why Barbados is a Magnet for Music Lovers

With its laid back lifestyle, festival culture and stunning landscapes, Barbados has long been an attraction for singers, musicians and DJs. Today, it offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to indulge their passion for music, whether that be folk, gospel, calypso or techno. Here we’ll show you why music lovers will adore the musical events the island has to offer.

Vujaday House and Techno Festival

Barbados’ Vujaday Music Festival puts the island on a par with Ibiza when it comes to attracting the top, international house and techno DJs. After an exceptionally successful launch in 2018, this five-day house and techno festival is set to raise the bar even higher next year. With over 30 DJs in the mix, it will become Barbados’ biggest ever electronic festival.

What makes Vujaday different is that each day of the festival takes place at a different location.
This year, events took place at luxury beach clubs, private villas, beachfront bars and even at an 18th Century plantation. The festival, which is held at the beginning of April, aims to create a unique musical experience while giving event goers the chance to visit more of our stunning island.

London Elite Sunshine Music Festival

If you’re more into soul, head to Barbados in November for the London Elite Sunshine Music Festival. Bringing you some of the UK’s finest contemporary soul artists, such as Alastair Rapattac and Omar, together with DJs like Desi G and Phil Philo, you’re sure to have a fantastic time.

The festival runs several events over the course of a week, including a ‘Dress in White’ night at the beautiful Mullens Heights Hotel, a beach party with unlimited champagne at Nikki Beach, an 80’s themed ‘Dress as You Dare’ party at the Dukes nightclub and a catamaran cruise party.

Barbados Gospel Music Festival

For centuries, Barbadians have used Gospel music to celebrate their African heritage and each May they hold the Gospelfest, a three-day event of non-stop performances. Today, this has become the Caribbean’s premier Gospel music and arts festival, featuring some of the most renowned singers and choirs, together with comedians, mime artists and dance acts.

The festival draws performers from all over the Caribbean as well as from the UK, North America and even as far as Africa. Over the years, its various events have been held in stunning locations, such as Heroes Square, Farley Hill National Park and the Jackie Opel Amphitheatre, and have featured artists such as Candi Staton, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin.

For the ultimate feel-good, head on down to some of these great events where you can sing along and dance to some of the best vocalists performing the greatest Gospel songs.

Barbados Reggae Festival

Jamaica isn’t the only place in the Caribbean that loves to celebrate Reggae music. Here in Barbados, we’ve been holding an annual Reggae Festival since 2005. The week-long event, held every April, is popular with Barbadians and visitors and attracts over 25,000 spectators who flock to see some of the amazing performers in concert.

The festival runs four events, each held at different locations, and showcases different styles of reggae music, including vintage, modern and Bajan reggae. In the past, artists such as Buju Banton, Sizzla, Anthony B and Admiral Tibbett have performed at the festival.

Celtic Music Festival

With Scotland, Wales and Ireland being 4,000 miles away, a Celtic music festival is not what most people would expect to find on a tropical island. However, many of the country’s inhabitants share a Celtic heritage, with their ancestors having settled here, some of them forcibly, during the long centuries of British rule.

Over recent decades this cultural legacy has seen a resurrection in the form of the Barbados Celtic Festival, which now attracts well-known performers from Ireland, the UK and North America. Taking place at the Barbados Yacht Club, expect everything from ballads to bagpipes and fiddles to folk music. You may even get to sample a Bajan haggis, though it’s a tough decision whether to wash it down with Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey or Bajan Rum.

The festival has featured a long list of great folk musicians, including Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), Sandra Macbeth, the Peatbog Faeries and the Riddell Fiddles, just to name a few. The festival is held in the last week of May.

Soca and calypso events

Like Reggae, Soca and Calypso are music genres native to the Caribbean and where ever you go in Barbados, you’ll find local bars and venues hosting live bands playing this kind of music. The one place you are bound to hear lots of Soca and Calypso is at the annual Crop Over, Barbados’ biggest carnival, which celebrates the end of the sugar cane harvest. Here you’ll find bands taking part in carnival parades and competitions and playing in bars and in public spaces.

Summing up

Our passion for music, in all its rich varieties, means visitors to Barbados are in for a musical treat. You can indulge yourself at one of our fantastic festivals, enjoy live music at one of our clubs or bars, or just take in the rhythms and beats that you’ll hear everywhere you go on the island.

If visiting Barbados is on your playlist, the magnificent apartments and villas here at the Royal Westmoreland are within easy reach of all the island’s best musical events.

•culled from www.royalwestmoreland.com

Major Cities in Ukraine

Kiev, the largest Ukrainian city, is also a major cultural, economic, industrial, and educational center for all of Eastern Europe.

Ukraine is a country found in Eastern Europe that has a population of around 45 million. It is the
second largest country in Europe by land area, behind only Russia. Around 70% of Ukraine's population lives in urbanized areas, the largest of which will be outlined below.

The Biggest Cities In Ukraine

4. Dnipro - 993,094

Dnipro, which is short for Dnipropetrovsk, is the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of just under one million residents .The city boasts steel, aerospace building, arms, metallurgy and machinery industries and is located on the Dnieper River, South-East of Kiev. Dnipropetrovsk boasts modern transportation system such as the Metro System and the International airport Dnipro that links it to several countries. The city is also an agricultural center, due its strategic position on the banks of the Dnieper River. Medieval architecture in the city includes Preobrazhensky Cathedral, Monument of Glory and Historical Museum. The city also has numerous theaters and academic institutions.

3. Odessa - 1,017,022

Odessa is Ukraine’s third largest city with a population of 1.02 million. Odessa is a city situated on the banks of the Black Sea, and it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’. Odessa is a port city and a major hub for Ukraine’s maritime trade. Shipbuilding has emerged as a major industry in Odessa along with food processing, production of chemicals, metallurgy and oil refining.

Odessa is a major tourist center, with long stretches of beaches, a booming hospitality industry, and stunning medieval architecture. Some buildings in Odessa are credited to Italian and French influence while some were built in the Art Nouveau Style. The Merchant trade that boomed in Odessa in the 18th and 19th centuries left magnificent palaces and well-planned streets that still attest to Odessa’s prior prominence. Russian and Ukrainian are widely spoken by Odessa’s residents. Odessa also has a world-renowned Opera House that showcases acclaimed performances. The city has a modern transport system while the Odessa International Airport connects Odessa to the world.

2. Kharkiv - 1,451,132

Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine, with a population of 1.45 million residents. The city is also known as Charkiv or Kharkov. Charkiv is a geographical center, situated in the North East region of Ukraine with valleys and ravines. The city is renowned as an educational city. It is home to some acclaimed Ukrainian Universities such as Kharkiv National University, Kharkiv National Medical University, and Kharkiv National Aerospace Universities among other institutions of Higher Learning. The educational institutions host local and international students who make up a substantial part of its total population. Part of the city’s population is made up of workers in its numerous industrial plants and businesses. Charkiv also has the largest market in Ukraine, called the Barabashov market.

As a cultural center, the city is home to the Liberty Squares which hosts various festivals and fairs. Charkiv is also home to ancient monuments such as the Pokrovsky Monastery, the Historical Museum, Gosprom, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Ozeryanskaya Church.

1. Kiev - 2,868,702

Kiev is the largest city in Ukraine with a population of nearly 3 million people. It is a major cultural, economic, industrial and educational center in both the country as well as Eastern Europe as whole. Located on the banks of the Dnieper River, the city has 2.89 million residents making it the most populated city in Ukraine. Known as Kievan Rus in ancient history, it was a focal trade center between the Mediterranean ad Baltic seas. Monuments such as the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the Ukrainian Baroque Church of St. Andrew, Kievo-Percherskaya Lavra with several catacombs, bell towers, and museum collection, and the Golden Gate are relics of Kiev’s ancient glory.

Parallel with ancient monuments stands a modern Kiev, complete with housing developments and industries. Industries in Kiev include machinery manufacture, food processing, and production of chemicals, metallurgy and textiles. Kiev is comprised of working neighborhoods, with a great business culture among its inhabitants. Kiev is considered an education and scientific hub, with numerous universities and scientific academies. True to its cultural reputation, Kiev is littered with theaters, art galleries, and museums. The city is also home to the Kiev Opera House which boasts acclaimed performances. Almost one-half of the City is comprised of ecological parks and gardens making it one of the most environmentally conscious cities in Europe. Kiev boasts an efficient transport system complete with airports, railways, roads and subways.

The Future Of Ukraine's Population

Other large cities in Ukraine by population are: Donetsk (0.94 million), Zaporizhia (0.76 million), Lviv (0.73 million), Kryvyi Rih (0.65 million), Mykolaiv (0.49 million), and Mariupol (0.46 million). Ukraine’s population has been steadily declining and has been attributed to low birth rates, emigration, high mortality rate especially in men and low life expectancy. The population of Ukrainian cities is expected to continue declining. Emigrants from Ukraine head to other countries in the European Union, largely, Poland, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, and the US. The leading immigrant country to Ukraine is Russia followed by Azerbaijan , Moldova, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Georgia.

The Biggest Cities In Ukraine

Rank City Population

1 Kiev 2,868,702
2 Kharkiv 1,451,132
3 Odessa 1,017,022
4 Dnipro 993,094
5 Donetsk 949,825
6 Zaporizhia 766,268
7 Lviv 729,038
8 Kryvyi Rih 652,137
9 Mykolaiv 494,922
10 Mariupol 458,533

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Major Ethnic Groups Of Ukraine

Ethnic Ukrainians make up almost four-fifths of the population, followed by significant minorities from neighboring countries.



After achieving its independence in 1991, Ukraine has been tasked with uniting its various regions and creating a distinct national identity. As the country is home to more than a hundred different nationalities, this presents some complex and significant challenges.

Ethnic divisions in Ukraine go back to the imperial period when regional borders were heavily disputed by Russia , Austro-Hungary, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Southeast Ukraine has historically been populated by ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, with close cultural and economic ties to Russia. Much of western Ukraine was part of Habsburg Austria until 1918; while other regions were brought into Ukraine after World War II, and the area maintains strong ties with Europe.

Roughly 77.5% of Ukraine's population identify as ethnic Ukrainians. The second largest nationality group are Russians, accounting for 17.2% of the population. Other significantly represented nationalities include Romanians, Belorussians, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Poles, Jews, and Armenians.


The Russian community in Ukraine is primarily located in Crimea. The Russian Empire captured and began to colonize the largely uninhabited steppe territories in the former Crimean Khanate in the late 18th century. The discovery of coal in the Donets Basin sparked large-scale industrialization and an influx of laborers from other parts of the Russian Empire. During the Russian Civil War, Ukraine became a battleground between the Communist Red Army and the Monarchist Volunteers. Ukraine became the Soviet Socialist Republic in 1992, and in a 1997 treaty between the two countries, Russia agreed to recognize Ukraine's current borders.


In 1918, Bukovina and Bessarabia were united with the Kingdom of Romania . Ukrainian population in the region were forced to change their names, their languages, and Ukrainian schools and cultural institutions were closed. After the Russian Civil War, the area was annexed by the Ukranian SSR. A 1997 treaty guaranteed the rights of Romanians in Ukraine.


Most Belorussians emigrated to the Ukrainian SSR during the Soviet Union. Unlike most other ethnic groups, they are spread fairly evenly throughout the country. Belorussian nationals have reportedly been divided between both sides during the recent conflict in Ukraine.

Crimean Tatar

Crimean Tatars are descended primarily from Turkic tribes who emigrated to Eastern Europe from the Asian steppes from the 10th century onward. The entire population was deported to Uzbekistan in 1944. Today, more than 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to their homeland, now part of Ukraine, and struggle to reclaim their heritage, as well as national and cultural rights.


Many Bulgarians settled in what is now the Odessa Oblast during the Ottoman Empire and after the Russo-Turkish Wars in the 18th and 19th centuries. The area changed hands several times: divided between Russia and Romania, ceded to Russia in 1878, recaptured by Romania in 1918, and then it became part of the Soviet Union.


Ukraine's territory of Zakarpattia was originally part of the Kingdom of Hungary . Disputed over by Romania, Ukraine, and Hungary, it was awarded to the newly formed Czechoslovakia before being incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. A 1991 treaty guaranteed the rights of Hungarians in Ukraine, although dual citizenship is not officially recognized.


In the 16th and 17th centuries, Poland sponsored large-scale Polish colonization of central and eastern Ukraine. After the fall of Austro-Hungary, the Polish population successfully rebelled against the newly-formed West Ukrainian government. During the Soviet era, Poles were deported to Siberia, and a campaign of ethnic cleansing was carried out by Ukrainian nationalists.


Jewish communities have existed in Ukraine for more than a thousand years. According to the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish community in Ukraine constitutes the third biggest Jewish community in Europe and the fifth biggest in the world.

Massacres and pogroms frequently took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. The majority left Ukraine after the fall of Communism, but antisemitism continues to be problematic for the remaining population.


The Armenian population in Ukraine has nearly doubled since the end of the Soviet Union. They still maintain close ties with Russia: 50% are native Armenian speakers, but over 43% speak Russian, and only 6% speak Ukrainian as their first language.

Ethnic minorities bring to Ukraine a rich and diverse cultural heritage. However, integrating them into a united Ukraine will require careful planning and implementation of government policies.

Major Ethnic Groups Of The Ukraine

Rank Ethnic Group Share of National Population of Ukraine

1 Ukrainian 77.5%
2 Russian 17.2%
3 Romanian 0.8%
4 Belorussian 0.6%
5 Crimean Tatar 0.5%
6 Bulgarian 0.4%
7 Hungarian 0.3%
8 Polish 0.3%
9 Jewish 0.2%
10 Armenian 0.2%

By Caroline Oberheu

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Ukraine Culture and Traditions

An overview of culture, traditions, customs, and more from Ukraine.

5. Description

Ukrainians are one of Europe’s largest ethnic groups in the world, with a population of 45 million spread around the globe, predominately in Europe. Most ethnic Ukrainians, around 37 million, live in Ukraine, an eastern European country bordered by Poland to its west, Belarus to the north, and Russia on the east. Ethnic Ukrainians make up three-quarters of the population of Ukraine , with most of the remaining quarter being ethnic Russians. Unsurprisingly, the largest Ukrainian population outside of the Ukraine is in neighboring Russia , with 3 million Russian citizens regarding themselves as ethnically Ukrainian, and millions of others, mostly in Siberia and southern Russia, claiming to have some biological link to Ukrainian forbearers.

4. Architecture

Ukrainian architecture has eagerly adopted classic European forms throughout much of the last several centuries, such as the Renaissance styles exemplified by many of the castles built in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth centuries, as well as most of the buildings which can be seen in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Baroque architecture was favored by the Ukrainian aristocracy, with most Medieval churches being redesigned in that era with richer interiors and exteriors alike. Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Ukrainian folk architecture displays strong Baroque and Neoclassical influences, while still largely using traditional, locally sourced building materials. In the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, the "Empire" architectural style arrived in the Ukraine from the West. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, however, there was also a revival of nationalistic architectural styles, which was fueled by increasingly socialist-oriented feelings.

3. Cuisine

The main meal of the day for Ukrainians is dinner, which usually includes a soup, a dish with meat, fowl, or a fish, and a salad. Exotic meats and spices are generally avoided. Ukrainian soups, collectively called Borscht, are highly traditional and have almost become a national culinary emblem. Culinary traditions are still closely connected with ancient rituals and the Orthodox Church calendar, with special dishes eaten on particular holy days and festivals. At Christmas Eve Supper, twelve meatless dishes are served, among them borshch, a raisin dish called kutya, and cabbage rolls called varenyky ( which are known to American Ukrainians as pierogi) .

2. Cultural Significance

Ukrainian artists have made contributions in all of the major fields of the arts. Ivan Franko was an outstanding late 18th and early 19th Century poet whose work ranged from introspective autobiographies to pieces epic in grandeur. After World War II, many Ukrainian artists moved to America and Western Europe. Around that time, Jacques Hnizdovsky won global recognition for his engravings and woodcuts, while the sculptor Mykhailo Chereshniovsky, and the artist's intensely stylized works, were feted for their lyrical beauty. In the realm of music, many Ukrainian singers have become internationally famous, such as the soprano Solomia Krushelnytska, the tenor Anatoliy Solovianenko, and the Ukrainian-American bass singer Paul Plishka. All the while, singer-songwriter Neko Case remains a unique Ukrainian-American voice on the pop rock scene.

1. Threats

The biggest threat the homeland of Ukrainians faces today is what amounts to a de facto civil war being waged in the east of the country, which, though the Kremlin denies involvement, is being fueled by Moscow. With the recent Russian annexation of Crimea, Ukrainians are more than justifiably suspicious of Russian motives. Some in the American military leadership believe that Moscow is actively involved in promoting various forms of "hybrid warfare" there, referring to Russia simultaneously undertaking economic, political, diplomatic, and military actions across the whole of the country. Still, other analysts assert that Moscow did not initiate the current crisis, and many on both are understandably worried about Ukraine joining NATO, which would bring the alliance up to the Russian border.

By John McKeown

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Major Religions in Turkey

While Sunni Islam is the overwhelming majority religion in Turkey, there are other religions practiced in the country such as Christianity and Sunni Islam. A portion of the population is irreligious.

Turkey is a country covering parts of both Europe and Asia, with 97% of the country in Asia and the remaining 3% situated in Europe. The Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits and the Sea of Marmara separate these two parts of Turkey. The country is a unitary state. It is the only Muslim country without the state religion. The other religions in the country are Christianity, Judaism, and Ashkenazi. The Islam religion can be divided into Sunni Islam, Alevi Shia Islam, Ja’fari Shia Islam and Alawi Shia Islam.

Sunni Islam - 65%

The word Sunni comes from Arabic word sunnah,
which refers to the actions and sayings of Muhammad as depicted in his hadiths (reports).
Islam is the largest religion in the world with 80% of Muslims being Sunnis. They believe that Muhammad died without appointing a successor and therefore elders decided to appoint Abu Bakr as the first Caliph ( successor). Abu Bakr was the father in law of Muhammad. The Sunni tradition places great emphasis on Muslim religious law ( Sharia) as the standard for almost all societal issues, such as marriage, divorce, family matters, and even commerce. Sunni Islam is considered to be the religion of the majority in Turkey, which an estimated 65% of the population adhering. However, it is important to note that the Turkish government records Islam as the religion of those who are born to parents whose religion is not recorded. Therefore, there are many children of the irreligious and whose parents belong to religious minorities.

Other Islam - 13%

Those who are classified as "other Islam" do not identify with any of the established branches of Islam. They make up around 13% of Turkey's population. In some countries such as Albania and Kyrgyzstan, unclassified Muslims make up the majority of the population.

Irreligion - 7%

Agnostic or atheist Turks compose around 7% of the population. Compared to other countries around the world, the irreligious population in Turkey is relatively small. Quantifying the exact number of irreligious people in Turkey is difficult, as it falls outside of cultural norms. However, there has been an increase in the irreligious amongst Turkey's population, especially among young people.

Spiritual but Not Religious - 6%

Similar to the aforementioned religious category, those who identify as "spiritual but not religious" make-up an estimated 6% of the Turkish population.

Shia Islam - 4%

Of the Shia Islam practiced in Turkey, there are estimated to be around 12 branches. Those who are called "Shia Islam" in Turkey would usually be referred to as "Aleviler Islam" elsewhere. The types of Shia Islam in Turkey besides Alevism include Ja'fari and Alawism.

Other Religions - 2%

Other minority religions in Turkey and their estimated populations include Judaism (20,000), Tengrism (1,000), and Yazidism (500).

Other Christianity - 1%

Christian minorities in Turkey and their estimated populations include the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (65,000), Latin Catholicism (20,000), the Syriac Orthodox Church (15,000), the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (10,000), Chaldean Catholicism (8,000), Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (5,000), the Syriac Catholic Church (2,000), and the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (1,500).

Religious Beliefs In Turkey

Rank Religion Population (Percentage)

1 Sunni Islam 65.0
2 Unaffiliated Islam 13.0
3 Irreligious 7.0
4 Spiritual 6.0
5 Shia Islam 4.0
6 Other religion 2.0
7 Other Christian 1.0
8 Protestant Christian 1.0

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

The Ethnic Groups Of Turkey

Turkey is a complex melting pot of cultures and people.



Turkey is a complex melting pot of cultures and people, found between the Islamic, Arab world and the European, Western world, with trading, commerce, and exploration activities from each making their way through Turkey for centuries. Although a great deal of different people and races have migrated to Turkey, ethnic Turks still dominate the demographic data today. Turkey has a 99.8% Muslim majority, making it one of the most predominantly Muslim countries in the entire world.

The Ottoman Empire lasted for over 600 years and was centered in Turkey. After the empire had declined due to various factors, the Turkish people were left without an identity. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk united the Muslims of Turkey and rejected measures that had significantly weakened Turkey after the First World War. This unification and newly found Turkish nationalism lead to the creation of the modern state of Turkey. Ataturk created a modern secular state with equal political rights for ethnic minorities and women being one of his everlasting legacies.

Today, major ethnic tensions exist between the Turkish government and military and the ethnic Kurds due to factors such as past government bans on the Kurdish language, harsh human rights abuses against Kurdish people, and, the Kurds not having been granted the right to assemble, just to name a few. The Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) has been fighting against the Turkish military for over 30 years, with only brief peace agreements being reached during this time.

Turks (72.5%)

The Turkish people have been in the region of Turkey and its surrounding areas since around 1071 AD, and have gradually spread throughout the country we now know as Turkey. Turks were predominantly Muslim for the most part of their early history. Early Turkish settlers in the area slowly overtook the mostly Greek and Christian areas of Turkey and it soon became a Muslim country. Turkish cities are known for their architecture, secularism, and academia such as art and science. The Turkish culture is an interesting one, it reflects values of modern western countries as well as traditional, more conservative values. The Turkish people have a long history in the region and still make up 72.5% of the population today. Turks can also be found in Cyprus, Western Europe and North America. Interestingly, the Turkish State recognizes all people with citizenship as ethnic Turks.

Kurds (12.7%)

Kurds are almost exclusively found in the eastern and southeastern areas of Turkey, an area which is also known as Kurdistan. In the 1930s, the Turkish government began a program to forcefully " Turkify" all Kurds (meaning to conform their culture and language to those of Turkey), which was resisted, sometimes with force. The Kurdish language is known as an Indo-European language (which means it has descended from the original prehistoric language) in contrast to the Turkish language which is from the Turkic language family. Since 1984 Kurds have been active in their peaceful and/or violent actions in order to achieve a Kurdish state. Ethnic Kurds have some degree of autonomy in Kurdistan, which means they have the power to govern some aspects and organize social organizations within their territory. As mentioned earlier, tensions between Kurdish people and the Turkish military and government have lead to over 30 years of unrest between the two peoples.

Zaza Kurds (4%)

Zaza Kurds speak a separate language from the Turks and ethnic Kurds, that being their own Zazaki language, which is related to other Persian and Kurdish languages. This language is considered an endangered language due to the small number of Zaza Kurds and their historical integration into Turkish culture and society. Although, some Zaza will choose not to identify as Ethnic Kurds or Turkish, just Zaza. These people have historic roots in Persia/Iran, but this is hard to prove as their history is one of oral tradition. Culturally as well as ethnically linked to Kurds. Even though there are still around 3 million Zaza Kurds within Turkey, they have always struggled to retain their culture and language.

Circassians (3.3%)

This Caucasian immigrant group hails from the Caucasus Mountains regions near Russia and Georgia. Many Circassians have abandoned their native language in favor for Turkish, which most certainly has impacted Circassian culture within Turkey. Numbering around 2 million in recent estimates, the Circassians are one of the larger minority groups in Turkey and are almost always Sunni Muslim. The Circassian people are usually found in one of two separate belt areas of Turkey, either from Samsun to Hatay or from Duzce to Canakkale, respectively. Circassians have historically been anti-communist and anti-Russian within Turkey, leaning towards right nationalist wing parties in Turkish politics.

Bosniaks (2.6%)

Bosniaks can be defined as a people who have descended from Bosnia as well as Herzegovina and other former Yugoslavian controlled republics. Bosniaks are mostly Sunni Muslim and migrated to Turkey under repression of their religion in Europe. These people speak Bosnian as their first language, although due to limited numbers of Bosniaks, many have adopted speaking Turkish in order to function within the country.

Georgians (1.3%)

Georgian Turks originated from, or otherwise have ancestral links to, the Eastern European country of Georgia. Turkish Georgians can usually be found on the Black Sea coast or within northwestern Turkey. Their language, Georgian, is considered endangered in Turkey. Georgian culture in Turkey is preserved through a magazine specifically printed for Georgians in Turkey, Cveneburi Magazine, although it is actually printed in the Turkish language. Approximately 1 million people who identify as Georgian live in Turkey.

Albanians (1.2%)

Albanians in Turkey mostly came from Kosovo and Macedonia. Albanian language schools are open in Turkey and Albanian Muslims have important positions within the wider Islamic community. These people speak Albanian as well as Turkish and consequently, Albanian is a potentially threatened language within Turkey. Many Albanians migrated to Turkey during the 1950s to 1970s due to Yugoslavian repression of Islam as a religion and Muslim people. There was also a wave of Albanian refugees during the Kosovo conflict in the 1990s.

Arabs (1.1%)

Arabs have long historic roots in the region, settling in the country as early as the 11th Century, arriving at around the same time as the soon-to-be dominant Turkish tribes. Turkish Arabs are predominantly Sunni Muslim and are found in southeastern Areas of Turkey near the Syrian and Iraqi borders. There is also a large group of modern migrant Arabs from Arab states in Istanbul. Turkish Arabs receive no cultural or social support from Arab states such as Saudi, Iraq, and Syria, which can potentially lead to the problem of Arabs losing their identity. Arabs are well integrated into Turkish population, some speak Turkish as well as Arabic in a daily capacity. Many Turkish Arabs have ancestors or relatives in the neighboring country of Syria .

Pomaks (0.8%)

Pomaks are predominantly Sunni Muslims, and speak a version of the Bulgarian language which is known as Pomak. These Bulgarian Muslims number 750,000 in Turkey and are mostly found in what is known as "European Turkey".

Others (0.5%)

There are also many other, smaller minority groups living within Turkey. These include Syrians, Greeks, Laz, various peoples of the Caucuses, and Azerbaijanis. Some of these ethnic groups struggle to receive recognition and retain their cultures and language.

The Ethnic Groups Of Turkey

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Turkish Population

1 Turks 72.5%
2 Kurds (Non-Zaza) 12.7%
3 Zaza Kurds 4.0%
4 Circassians 3.3%
5 Bosniaks 2.6%
6 Georgians 1.3%
7 Albanians 1.2%
8 Arabs 1.1%
9 Pomaks 0.8%
Others 0.5%

By Justin Findlay

•culled from www.worldatlas.com

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Turkish People - Cultures around the World

An incredibly old and powerful culture, the influence of Turkish culture can be felt in much of the world.


The Turkish people, or the Turks, are part of the Turkic ethnic group, and are considered to be the most populous among all the Turkic peoples. Their language, Istanbul Turkish, originates from the Turkic language family and they share cultural and historic backgrounds to such groups as the Ottoman Turks, Crimean Karaites, Kazahs, Uzbeks, and Tuvans to name a few. The Turkish people live in Turkey, which occupies Asia Minor as well as a small slice of the European continent. Recent modern migrations, however, have spread their far-reaching presence over North America, Western Europe, the former Soviet Union, and even Oceania. Traditional areas of residence for the Turkish people outside of Turkey have long been neighboring Meskhetia (in Georgia) and the nearby Meditteranean island of Cyprus.


There are several factors which have affected the Turkish people’s utilization of space and architecture, including foreign influence on creative thought, economic conditions, political ideologies, lifestyle, tradition and environment. Early building designs boast of impressions from their imperial past, which is apparent in the Ottoman architecture. Not only is it characterized by Islamic and Seljuk artisanship, but also Byzantine elements as well. Western influences, however, have pushed Turkey’s recent leaders and builders to establish a very different brand of architecture in the capital city of Ankara, and one that reflects Western culture and technology. Skyscrapers and high-rise commercial and residential buildings are packed into Turkey’s Ankara and Istanbul, although small villages and towns still have the traditional house structures. Therein, residences are divided into the harem (private family quarters) and the selamik (public reception room) in abundance.


The Turks are world-renowned for their richly flavored cuisine, which carries with it Ottoman, Middle Eastern, and Balkan, as well as Iranian, influences. Common dishes served in restaurants are gözleme, kokore, köfte, and börek. The best Turkish meals, however, are still homemade, usually starting with a soup, followed by a vegetable dish prepared with meat and, of course, with either bulgur or rice on the side, plus some sort of salad. Oils and fat are often used during their meal preparations, as well as favorite ingredients that vary by the cook, such as eggplants, onions, green peppers, beef, tomatoes, chicken, and lamb. Turkish cuisine also often includes a variety of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, and hazelnuts. Fruits commonly found in the Turkish diet are pears, plums, pomegranates, figs, apples, and grapes. Other dishes that the Turks are well known for are baklava, kadaif, helva, lokum, marzipan, Turkish tea, Turkish coffee, mercimek köfte and kebaps.

Cultural Significance

99% of the Turkish people are believers of Islamic faith, while most of the rest are either Jewish or Christian. Turkish folk music, Ottoman Classical music, arabesk and Fasil are what’s considered as traditional Turkish music, while modern music Turkish music includes pop, hip hop and rock. The presence of many dialects being used in Turkey has greatly influenced the development of their literature. These different types of Turkish dialects are usually referred to as either agiz or sive . The prominence of Turkish culture has also allowed it to make significant contributions in the arts. Poetry has historically been the most important form of literature, with renowned poets including the more traditional works of Ahmed Hâşim alongside interesting and at times radical divergences of the Garip Movement and the Second New Movement. Turkish cinema has also been highly regarded worldwide, especially in connection with Germany and the Berlin International Film Festival, with famous directors including Semih Kaplanoğlu and Fatih Akin (himself a German-Turkish dual citizen).


While Turkey has taken great strides in incorporating Western cultural influences into their daily lives, they have managed to maintain their historical and religious values. This includes those traditions that have most strongly shaped the most basic unit of Turkish society: the Family. Current questions and issues facing the region include terrorism and the ongoing refugee crisis. These days, Turkey faces significant threats, including government instability, violence, economic downturn and political unrest, although analysts have remained optimistic in their forecast of the future of both the country of Turkey and the overall welfare of Turkish culture.

By Lanessa Cago

•culled from www.worldatlas.con

Monday, 7 October 2019

Major Religions in Switzerland

Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and irreligion are the most common religious affiliations in Switzerland.

Switzerland is a federal state in Central Europe. It is among the world’s richest and most developed countries. The most common languages spoken in the country are German, French, and Italian. Switzerland's history spans across several centuries with the country being formally formed in 1291 after the death of the emperor of Habsburg. Switzerland has notably long maintained a neutral position in world events.

Christianity has long been the dominant religion of the Swiss people although the percentage of the population who identify with the religion has declined from 98.7% in 1910 to 66.9% today. The Swiss constitution guarantees freedom of religion and provides that there be no state religion.

Religions Practiced in Switzerland

Roman Catholicism - 36.5%

The majority of Switzerland’s religious community is made up of Catholics and Protestants. Of these two, Catholicism is more common, with 36.5% of swiss people identifying as such. The Catholic Church in Switzerland is divided among six dioceses, and includes the oldest inhabited monastery in Europe in Valais.

Saint Gallus was primarily responsible for introducing Christianity to the Swiss who at the time practiced Germanic paganism. Roman Catholicism was the only Christian denomination practiced in Switzerland until the Reformation led to a change in the status quo.

Unaffiliated - 24.9%

Just under a quarter of the population of Switzerland is not affiliated with any religion. This could include people who are Agnostic , Atheist , or those who are undecided or choose to not associate with any religion at all. Like many places in Europe, there is a trend towards irreligious in Switzerland. However, the country still does not rank anywhere near the top of the list when it comes to the world’s least religious countries .

Christian (Reformed) - 24.5% and Christian (Other) - 5.9%

About 5.9% of the Swiss population belong to other Christian denominations such as the Jehovah's Witness and Pentecostalism. Switzerland's history is closely intertwined with the Reformation as it provided refuge for reformers fleeing religious persecution. John Calvin, one of the leading figures behind the Reformation, even established the republic of Geneva in 1541. Despite having no state religion, some Swiss cantons have official churches. Membership in Swiss churches requires the payment of church tax to provide for the upkeep of the church.

Islam - 5.2%

Around 5.2% of the Swiss population identifies as Muslim. Islam in Switzerland dates back to around the 10th century when Arabs and Berbers lived in parts of Swiss territory. Many Swiss Muslims have their origins in relatively nearby countries like Bosnia, Turkey, and Albania. The 1990s saw a massive influx of Muslim migrants into the country as people fled from the Yugoslav War. The first mosque in Switzerland was built in 1962 by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on a parcel of land given to them by the Swiss government. In 2009, Switzerland held a controversial referendum that resulted in a ban on construction of minarets.

Judaism - 0.3%

Jews have lived in Switzerland for nearly a millennium and during that time they have faced immeasurable persecution. Jews were only granted equal rights in 1876. Census data indicates that nearly 20,000 Jews are living in Switzerland with the Zurich Metropolitan area having the highest concentration of Jewish communities, a third of their total population. Ruth Dreifuss was elected the first woman president of the Swiss Confederation and the only person with a Jewish background to hold the position.

Other Religions - 1.4%

Some of the minority languages practiced in Switzerland include Eastern Orthodoxy, Methodism, Neo-Pietism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other. However, these all make up a very small percentage of the population.

Famous Religious Buildings

Like many places in Europe, some of Switzerland's most prominent religious buildings serve as tourist destinations within the country. These include St. Peter's Church in the country's largest city of Zurich, which is notably home to the largest clock in Europe. The Jesuit Church in Lucerne is another common attraction.

Religious Tolerance in Switzerland

Switzerland has overcome its history of religious intolerance to emerge as one of the most tolerant states in the world. The Swiss government ensures every person's right to practice their religion of choice and prevents people from being discriminated against by their religion.

Religious Beliefs In Switzerland

Rank Religious Beliefs in Switzerland Percentage of the population aged 15 and over

1 Christian - Roman Catholic 36.5%
2 Unaffiliated 24.9%
3 Christian - Reformed 24.5%
4 Christian - Other 5.9%
5 Islam 5.2%
6 Other Religions 1.4%
7 Jewish 0.3%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from www.worldatlas.com
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