Currently viewing the tag: "culture"

The military brat lifestyle typically involves moving to new states or countries many times while growing up, as the child’s military family is customarily transferred to new non-combat assignments; consequently, many military brats never have a home town. War-related family stresses are also a commonly occurring part of military brat life. There are also other aspects of military brat life that are significantly different in comparison to the civilian American population, often including living in foreign countries and or diverse regions within the U.S., exposure to foreign languages and cultures, and immersion in military culture.

The military brats subculture has emerged over the last 200 years. The age of the phenomenon has meant military brats have also been described by a number of researchers as one of America’s oldest and yet least well-known and largely invisible subcultures. They have also been described as a “modern nomadic subculture”.

“Military brat” is known in U.S. military culture as a term of endearment and respect. The term may also connote a military brat’s experience of mobile upbringing, and may reference a sense of worldliness. Research has shown that most current and former military brats like the term; however, outside of the military world, the term “military brat” can sometimes be misunderstood by the non-military population, where the word “brat” is often a pejorative term. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story from the POV of a military brat.

Journaling Prompt: How does/did your parents’ work affect your family’s culture?

Art Prompt: Military brat

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how your parents’ jobs affected you when you were growing up.

Photo Credit: Airman Magazine on Flickr

Medieval cuisine includes foods, eating habits, and cooking methods of various European cultures during the Middle Ages, which lasted from the fifth to the fifteenth century. During this period, diets and cooking changed less than they did in early modern period that followed, when those changes helped lay the foundations for modern European cuisine. Cereals remained the most important staple during the early Middle Ages as rice was introduced late, and the potato was only introduced in 1536, with a much later date for widespread consumption. Barley, oat and rye were among the poor. Wheat was for the governing classes. Those were consumed as bread, porridge, gruel and pasta by all of society’s members. Fava beans and vegetables were important supplements to the cereal-based diet of the lower orders. (Phaseolus beans, today the “common bean”, were of New World origin and were introduced after the Columbian Exchange in the 16th century.)

Meat was more expensive and therefore more prestigious. Game, a form of meat acquired from hunting, was common only on the nobility’s tables. The most prevalent butcher’s meats were pork, chicken and other domestic fowl; beef, which required greater investment in land, was less common. Cod and herring were mainstays among the northern populations; dried, smoked or salted they made their way far inland, but a wide variety of other saltwater and freshwater fish was also eaten.

Slow transportation and food preservation techniques (based on drying, salting, smoking and pickling) made long-distance trade of many foods very expensive. Because of this, the nobility food was more prone to foreign influence than the cuisine of the poor; it was dependent on exotic spices and expensive imports. As each level of society imitated the one above it, innovations from international trade and foreign wars from the 12th century onwards gradually disseminated through the upper middle class of medieval cities. Aside from economic unavailability of luxuries such as spices, decrees outlawed consumption of certain foods among certain social classes and sumptuary laws limited conspicuous consumption among the nouveaux riches. Social norms also dictated that the food of the working class be less refined, since it was believed there was a natural resemblance between one’s labour and one’s food; manual labour required coarser, cheaper food. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about the cuisine in your world and how it differs between different social and cultural groups. 

Journaling Prompt: Write about your family of origin’s cuisine.

Art Prompt: Medieval cuisine

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about medieval culture.

The corpse hotel is called LastTel, which is short for Last Hotel. Cremation is 99 percent in Japan. But sometimes, in a huge city like Tokyo, there aren’t enough machines so it can sometimes take days or a week to have the cremation. In Japan, it’s important to sit, pray, and be with the body, so the Last Hotel is a place where there’s access day and night.

The piece de resistance is the condominium. It’s got futon mats to sleep on, a microwave and shower, the whole condo deal. They then slide your corpse into the room, and the family can be there and hang out with the dead body. –Burn, Mummify, Compost—Different Ways to Treat the Dead by Simon Worrall

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a death ritual for the world of your story. How has/will this affect your protagonist?

Journaling Prompt: How do you want your body handled when you die? What kind of services do you want?

Art Prompt: Death

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about different cultural traditions surrounding death.

Photo Credit: Jerome Rothermund on Flickr

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yokai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.

Conversely foxes were often seen as “witch animals”, especially during the superstitious Edo period (1603–1867), and were goblins who could not be trusted (similar to some badgers and cats). –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a trickster or kitsune.

Journaling Prompt: What animal do you associate with trickery? Why?

Art Prompt: Kitsune

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the tradition of the kitsune in Japan.

Photo Credit: Christopher Lance on Flickr

Now the chi-lin, the Chinese unicorn, is not only an altogether different species from the white European variety or the menacing Persian karkadann; it is also a different matter in its essence from either one. Apart from its singular physical appearance—indeed, there are scholars who claim that the chi-lin is no unicorn at all, but some sort of mystical dragon-horse, given its multicolored coat and the curious configuration of its head and body—this marvelous being is considered one of the Four Superior Animals of Good Omen, the others being the phoenix, the turtle, and the dragon itself. –The Story of Kao Yu by Peter S. Beagle

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a mythical creature, like the chi-lin, that wanders into modern society.

Journaling Prompt: Would you like to meet a chi-lin, which is a creature that punishes falsehood? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Chi-lin

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a mythical creature that they may not have heard from and what we learn from it about the society that imagined it.

There are those who suggests that a child is a tabula rasa when born, a blank page, which remains to be filled out by life experience. That is not true. Children are born with encoded nature of their genetic being, and they are born with a history of their culture and their family infused into their very conception, and as the context into which they are received. This becomes what is innate and in each of us yearns to be heard and recognized, to be named and known in relationship to others-to exist. –In the Moment: Celebrating the Everyday by Harvey L Rich, M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the background of your protagonist, considering genetics, culture, and family history. 

Journaling Prompt: What part of your personality do you believe you were born with and what came through life experiences?

Art Prompt: My personality

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the interplay between innate personality and life experiences in shaping a personality.

Photo Credit: Jlhopgood on Flickr

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Bayard Rustin in 1942, Irene Morgan in 1946, Lillie Mae Bradford in 1951, Sarah Louise Keys in 1952, and the members of the ultimately successful Browder v. Gayle 1956 lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery for not giving up their bus seats months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about someone who becomes a symbol for a movement.

Journaling Prompt: Who is your hero for instigating societal change?

Art Prompt: Civil Disobedience

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Rosa Parks or another hero of the civil rights movement.

Photo Credit: Richard on Flickr

The king died a little before nine o’clock on Thursday evening. His death was made a secret; but in the same hour a courier was galloping through the twilight to Hunsdon to bid Mary mount and fly. Her plans had been for some days prepared. She had been directed to remain quiet, but to hold herself ready to be up and away at a moment’s warning. –James Anthony Froude, The Reign of Mary Tudor

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a king or queen who is waiting for the current ruler to die.

Journaling Prompt: What are you waiting anxiously for and prepared for?

Art Prompt: Waiting

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of Mary Tudor’s rise to the throne of England.

Photo Credit: Maria Tudor on Wikimedia

The consultation of the ancestors is more usually called necromancy, a vigorous tradition which is discernible from Aeneas to Hamlet. The major reasons for consulting the ancestors usually fall into the following categories, in order to:
1. Divine or gain a prophetic insight about the future.
2. Regain lost knowledge.
3. Access ancestral wisdom by oracular means.
4. Discover ancestral precedents for legal validation.
5. Reconnect one spiritual tradition with another.
6. Gain healing or revelation by proximity to an ancestral tomb.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene that involves communication with the dead.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about seances, Ouija boards, mediums, etc? Do you believe we can talk to the dead?

Art Prompt: Talking to the dead

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of necromancy.

In the Middle Ages, knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification) during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect’s heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight. It was this accolade which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or “dubbing” him, as is still done today. In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families. –Order of the Bath

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which knighthood (or another special status) is conferred upon your protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite story about the era of knights.

Art Prompt: Knight

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about rituals from the Middle Ages, such as the the ritual of knighthood.

Photo Credit: Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton on Wikimedia