Culture Articles

Choosing Promise And Claddagh Rings

If you are going to talk about jewellery that really, really holds significance you need to include the ring. Rings are an ultimate symbol of loyalty. They have been used for centuries to bind agreements with friends, families, lovers, and religion. Their circular shape accentuates their relation to the idea of eternity. There are so many kinds of rings from which to choose, but each has a special story behind it. That is, essentially, why rings make fantastic gifts.

Read more: Rings in Irish culture - Culture Article

Picture an iceberg in your mind. Imagine, you are on a ship sailing towards that iceberg, which is off in the distance. What exactly do you feel as it looms ever larger? How much of the iceberg is above water and how much of the iceberg is below water?

There are many different metaphors used to describe culture. My favorite one is the iceberg. I think, it demonstrates so vividly what can happen to us if we believe only in the visible and ignore or underestimate the invisible part. Remember the Titanic?

Just as the captain of a ship has to be aware of the underwater part of the iceberg to avoid disaster, we as visitors to other countries have to be aware of the hidden part of culture to minimize frustrations and misunderstandings.

Read more: What is Culture? - Culture Article

Buskers at Covent Garden

Busking is a part of British culture and has been since the days of the travelling minstrel, a medieval entertainer who travelled from place to place, especially to sing and recite poetry.  For every famous pop singer or band you may have heard of, there are thousands of street performers and buskers who ply their art on the streets, and in the pubs,  markets and squares of Britain.  Covent Garden is just one of these places.  This article written by Rex Boyd, charts the history of street performers in Covent Garden. (Reproduced with permission).

The written history of street performers at Covent Garden goes back to the 1600s, but the scene in its current state dates from the late 1970s, when the covered fruit and vegetable market underwent its transformation into a tourist site. As a regularly worked busking pitch, its only rival world-wide would have to be the Pompidou Center in Paris. As an influence on the English speaking world of street performers, I would say that it is in a class of its own. Sure, there are nicer places to work. Sure, there are legendary festivals that we all dream of playing, but Covent Garden is worked by street performers nearly every day of the year. Many of these performers make the majority of their money working nowhere else. And likewise, many of them have been performing at Covent Garden regularly for 10 years or more.

Read more: Busking in Covent Garden Culture Article

Where were you born?

My father’s family lived in the same valley for at least 300 years until my grandfather, the youngest of seven brothers, realised there wasn’t much of a future for him on a small farm, and set off for the big city more than a century ago.

My neighbour’s family have lived in the same village since 1718.

Read more: The World is on the Move - Culture Article