|6, 52.889, 110.852|
|Federal Republic of Karolia|
Kärolijas Üneväbariik (Karolian) Repubblîca Károlia (Románš)
'Freedom in Unity'
'From darkness we turn'
|Capital||Säntjana (also largest city)|
|Official languages||Karolian (c.85%), Románš (c.14%)|
|• Regional languages||Teps, Meridonian, Kyori; Inglish and Castellian widely spoken as second languages|
|Ethnic Groups||Karolians, Kyori|
|Government||Federal Constitutional Republic|
|• President||Rülik Loeslaes|
|• Chancellor||Tänii Säpaarv|
|• Upper house||Kogupaani Liikme|
|• Lower house||Elektorikogu|
|• Estimate (2014)||18,356,045|
|• Total||$880 billion|
|• Per capita||$47,920|
|• Total||$810 billion|
|• Per capita||$43,636|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.88|
|Currency||Karolian Korona (KKO)|
|Drives on the||right|
The Federal Republic of Karolia is a sovereign state in the northern part of Uletha. It has a population of eighteen million and covers an area of approximately 275,000 square km. It is bordered by Darcodia to the east separated by the Gulf of Paliiso, Labourgesse to the west, Alved to the north and completely surrounds the microstate of Meridonia. A fixed link across the Osmila strait connects to Ispelia. The nation also includes the Saarmae islands in the Kaspen Sea and the enclaves of Klinsii and Vallasca. The capital city and main administrative centre is Säntjana, with the second largest city Vasireii. Other major cities are Känton, Kyor and Gorjee. Karolia is a highly developed democracy with a high HDI rating and a large modern economy.
The country is divided into twenty-one states which have considerable devolved powers. The state of Kyorimaa is semi-independent in law and national status in recognition of its unique culture and language. The country is officially bilingual, with the majority Karolian language having equal status to Románš, the first language of around a sixth of the population. Karolia is often portrayed as one of the most politically liberal and progressive countries in the world and is also known for its artistic and manufacturing achievements.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Government and politics
- 4 States
- 5 Economy
- 6 Transport
- 7 Culture
The country is divided on a roughly central axis between the mountainous areas to the north and west and the great plain of the east, with smaller hills in the north-east and to the far eastern border with Darcodia. The main rivers flow north-south, whilst in the north-west mountains lies the huge lake of Kiisjarlvi. The south-eastern area of the country is comprised of the basin of the Majos river and is predominantly marshland and moors.
Geologically the country is divided between the hard stable rock underpinning the Plains and several dormant tectonic faults running north through the Taamras. The mountain chains are the result of the historical north-westwards movement of Astrasia and south-east movement of the other half of southern Archanta (the 'Taamras Orogeny') causing uplift which took place between 300 and 60 million years ago. Subsequent glacial erosion has further altered the topography of the mountain areas.
Karolia enjoys a relatively mild climate, with a contrast between the coastal and mountain areas. The Great Plain is generally warmer than the west of the country and can suffer droughts in summer. Snow lies on top of the highest mountains most of the year round and this area is considerably colder. Average annual high temperature in Säntjana is around 30 degrees Celsius, whilst average low temperature is about 5 degrees.
Main article Taamras
The Taamras lie across much of western Karolia and contain 37 peaks higher than 2500 metres in a Y-shaped formation separated by the huge glacial lake of Kiisjarlvi. The foothills extend south and east towards the Majos valley and the southern coast. Much of the area is either protected National Park or winter sports resorts.
In contrast to the mountainous west of the country, the eastern and central areas are dominated by the Great Plain, which comprises the watershed of three great rivers flowing north-south and some small hill ranges. The climate is warmer and many species live on the areas of grassland and forest.
The longest rivers in Karolia are the Majos, Aguilasi and Raksa. Of these, only the Raksa runs entirely within the Karolian border (although the Majos is insignificant before well into the country). The Camin is a tributary of the Majos, joining at Kanton.
Main article: History of Karolia
The earliest recorded settlements in Karolia were towards the end of the Ice Age, as evidenced by bone and wooden tools found preserved in glaciers and caves. A little later there is evidence of semi-permanent settlements in the modern Great Plain area which continue into the Iron Age. It is speculated that these tribes arrived either from the south-east or by moving along the coast from the west, since the Taamras mountains would have deterred early humans from arriving from the north.
By the 2nd century BC an amalgamation of coastal tribes had developed into a significant maritime power and were able to establish trade routes across the seas around central Uletha. At this time the earliest settlements in modern Säntjana, Fontjäna and Samacja were established. In the inland plains regions, many communities were still nomadic and large areas of the semi-arid region were wild and unexplored by humans, with small-scale agriculture and most living related to herd animals. Already in this period we have evidence of a division between the plains cultures of the east and the coastal cultures of the west.
The early medieval period saw trade grow through the expansion of the Karolian states' navies, and led to trade both between kingdoms and overseas. By the 8-9th century the borders between kingdoms had been established that have lasted as the basis of the modern states. Most towns and cities were on the coast with farming inland, with large areas sparsely inhabited. The period was generally peaceful and saw religious art flourish.
This was not to last, however, as states gradually began to be drawn into alliances based on trade agreements. Lumber plantations became a lucrative source of income and were the main cause of the war fought between 1167-1174. This resulted in the king of Känton controlling Majoslinna, Santjana and Osu, which historians have dubbed the First Confederation. Majoslinna was particularly important as it controlled access to the river Majos.
During the period 1300-1450 sporadic conflicts known as the Wars of the Baronacies were fought between several alliances of the kingdoms, dukedoms and republics that had made up the First Confederation. Many Karolians fled abroad to escape the fighting or died in the conflict, which underwent several short-lived peace treaties and subsequent resumption of hostilities. At the same time, Karolian colonies began to be founded by merchants and adventurers, often as a way of funding their patrons' armies through trade. In 1452 the Second Confederation was established, but in practice this was little more than an absolute monarchy ruled by Torvo II from Kanton, who had managed to defeat his rivals and force peace with most of the others. Only Meridonia, Paliiso, Hiima and Osmila remained independent principalities during his reign. Under Torvo's rule the state controlled all aspects of trade and economy, stifling the previous mercantile trading empire and with frequent purges of perceived rivals.
The Second Confederation dissolved with the death of Torvo in 1467 and the old kingdoms were reinstated, maintaining generally peaceful conditions. Trade grew again and the majority of the country prospered. Fontjäna grew particularly rich on the wool trade and became the de facto capital of the alliance of states, although all had their own monarch or elected governor. By the mid sixteenth-century Karolian coastal states all had sizable navies and had begun to venture further afield in larger ships, many even travelling as far as central Archanta. However, with the exception of Elhadia and the Rau in what is the modern Ardisphere, the colonies established were generally small coastal enclaves and no serious attempts at acquiring large foreign territories were made. This was because of the contemporary view that as Karolia itself was an exporting country of wool, lumber and coal and goods purchased from other colonists could almost always be sold on for profit at home, there was little need to conquer land as opposed to simply holding trading agreements .
This policy would ultimately lead to the decline of Karolia as a trading power by the mid-eighteenth century as foreign powers conquered overseas territories and Karolians were forced out of much of the import trade. They were still able to export Karolian wool, textiles and minerals but the prices fetched were less than a few centuries earlier. Inevitably, this lead to a decline in living standards and increasing unrest between states who eyed each others' remaining profitable trade routes. War broke out in 1778 between an alliance of Säntjana, Osmila and Majoslinna against Fontjäna and Paliiso, which despite a temporary cessation of hostilities in 1781-1783 resumed again with Känton and Samacja joining the fight. The war ended in 1788 with no decisive victory for either side and further damage to the Karolian economy. Other mercantile states began to eye the territory for possible colonial conquest.Jän Maasriiäs was elected the first President of the unified country in 1803 by the newly formed Riikskogu. The capital was moved to Säntjana in 1835 and a new complex of government buildings constructed there in the 1840s. Karolia was not a rich country, but it could now forge a unique national identity as a nation-state. A constitution was drawn up with the agreement of all states which created the federal structure and established basic rights and freedoms for the people.
With peace, trade recovered and the nineteenth century saw the country leave relative poverty and obscurity to embrace industrialisation and resume mercantile power through exploitation of natural resources and the creation of financial institutions. Railways rapidly expanded across the country and entrepreneurs made new scientific discoveries, as well as a growth in the population. Karolian universities began to produce important scholars and an arts scene grew up. Social reforms were passed along with the creation of a welfare state and the modern economic model in the mid-twentieth century.
Modern Karolia is a developed service economy and a significant industrial power with a large welfare state and modern communications. It maintains good diplomatic relations with its neighbours and is part of several trade organisations. The country has hosted the football World Cup twice, the Uletha Cup and the International Games.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics in Karolia
As a federal country, Karolia devolves a significant proportion of political powers to the assemblies of its constituent states. It is a semi-direct democracy with most state and federal governance decided by representatives and a minority by referenda. The balance of power generally rests with the main power block in the lower house, and coalition governments are common.
Karolia is generally considered a politically progressive state; abortion, same-sex marriages, some soft drugs and prostitution (the latter two tightly regulated) are permitted in federal law. The political agenda and economic policies are left-leaning and tend to regard issues minority rights and green initiatives as important to the national interest.
Main article: Constitution of Karolia
The Federal Constitution sets outs the principles by which laws are made and the rights of the citizen and the state. It was devised in and has had eight amendments made to it since. States may choose to implement their own constitutions in addition to the federal one, but may not diverge from it. Only Kyorimaa and Saarmae have done so.
The President of Karolia serves as head of state for the country. In practice the legislative role is minimal; apart from the ability to call presidential elections before the end of a normal term, the office holder has only nominal powers to be used in times of emergency and mostly serves as a representative at international meetings and to preside over parliament. The current president is Rülik Loeslaes.
The Chancellor serves as head of government and is usually, although not always, the leader of the largest party in the Riikskogu Assembly of Members. They have the power to call elections, propose new laws and certain other special powers. The Chancellor is formally elected by the members of the Riikskogu in the ruling block using a secret ballot. Tänii Säpaarv of the Labour Party has been Chancellor since 2008, heading several coalitions.
The Riikskogu/Parlimenta sits in Säntjana for 46 weeks of the year. Is is comprised of two houses; the Kokupaani Liikme (upper house) which is made up of 330 representatives elected by proportional representation on a national level, and the Elektorskogu (lower house), which is comprised of both the heads of state governments and city representatives. This means that citizens of Karolia are represented at national, state and at regional level.
The Kogupaani Liikme (Assembly of Members) forms the upper house of the Riikskogu and is elected by proportional representation at a national level. Members will generally belong to a political party; the main parties being the Centre Party, the Karolian Liberals, the Labour Party, the Green Party of Karolia, the Solidarity Party, the New Democrats and smaller parties such as the Karolian National Party, Karolian Way, and the Socialist Party. Representatives of this house are known as KLs.
The Elektorikogu (Council of Electors) is made up of two groups: the Electors representing the twenty-one states of the country, along with a Member for every settlement with 50,000 or more residents (or a division of settlements with multiples of 50,000 residents). The latter condition is true even if the state is also a city. All Members of the Council are independent of political parties, however it is permitted to join into blocks for a vote in order to secure a majority. Representatives in this house are known as ELs.
Every state (Liidu) in the Federation elects an Electors' Council (not to be confused with the National Council of Electors) known as the Liidukogu, and an Elector to lead it. This body will range from 20 members in the smallest states to over 100 in the largest and passes all regional legislation relating to the state. The Elector themselves is an independent and will act only to oversee the assembly and represent the state at national level; in practice much of their time is spent in the Riikskogu and they may appoint a deputy to sit in their EC at busy times.
The constitution allows for a clause whereby if a certain number of citizens present a written petition to the state or federal government, it must be the subject of a proposed bill within six months and will be debated in the Riikskogu or relevant Liidukogu.
Court of Arbitration
The Court of Arbitration is not a regular body, but exists as a politically independent entity to resolve various matters relating to the government or state governments. These may include; investigating whether a piece of legislation is unconstitutional, investigating misconduct in political matters and overseeing the electoral process. It is generally made up of lawyers, retired politicians and experts in a particular field. With the exception of the Attorney General, no particular group of individuals may serve twice in the Court within the same government.
States in Karolia are semi-autonomous entities that have devolved powers of legislation. They are based upon the old kingdoms and are not equal in land area or population size. The only exceptions to this are the splitting of Säntjana, Osmila and Saarmae from Hiimamae, of Vasireii city from Aeraasmaa and of the Alafőld states. In addition, Lapise has a number of enclaves in Kyorimaa. Some cities are also states in themselves and have no separate municipal governments, others are state capitals and have both state and city authorities. States must impose Federal law, however in other areas they may devise their own laws and policies.
|Flag||State||Capital||Population est (2013)||Code|
The origin of the name Kärolija is uncertain. The most plausible theory is that it derives from the name of an ancient king called Karo, whose land would have been called 'Karo liida'. However, no written evidence survives of this name being used until nearly 600 years after his approximate period of rule. Another theory is that the word derives from that of the goddess Aulaume via the longer name Kari Aulaume. An erroneous but often reproduced assumption is that the land is named after Saint Karoli, but this is entirely incorrect as the figure postdates and is indisputably named after the country, evidenced by contemporary documents. The fact that almost all other Karolian words for country or territory have the suffix -maa or -mae may suggest that the term did not originally mean an area of land.
The Karolian flag is comprised of a yellow cross with a white border, sitting on a background of scarlet red (upper half) and royal blue (lower half). It is derived from the flag of the alliance of Fontjäna who were the most influential founders of the modern federation. The cross of golden yellow symbolises Sjent Jänas (St John) who is the patron saint of the country and who gave his name to Säntjana (St John) and Fontjäna (from the old name Fontosjäna, the Capital of St John). The blue symbolises the sea, lakes and watercourses of Karolia, as well as the royal origins of the land, whilst the red symbolises the blood shed in battle to unify the nation and the prosperity brought in peacetime.
The State Seal is comprised of the Karolian flag, above which are twenty-one stars representing the states of the country and the national motto below.
Karolia maintains a diplomatic presence in almost all states worldwide in the form of an embassy or consulate. The majority of these are shared with an office for the Principality of Meridonia since that country is too small to warrant an entire embassy of its own.
Relationship with the Ardisphere
The area of the Karolian colony known as the Raupae (Romans for 'river land') still forms the basis of a 'special relationship' between the two countries. Descendants of settlers still make up around 2% of the Ardispheric population and retain cultural and lingustic ties to Karolia. The two countries have signed various agreements concerning trade, military, immigration and culture which have maintained strong links and open dialogue. For example, Säntjana and Villa Constitution take it in turns to host a friendly football match between the winner of the two countries' respective leagues, whilst businesses can take advantage of lower tax rates when trading in the other country. Many Ardisphericans will study Karolian as a third language (after Inglish) and Karolians Castellianese.
There have been diplomatic strains between Karolia and Belphenia over the former's strongly secular and the latter's strongly religious politics and culture. Most significantly, the Belphenian state has forbidden Karolian visitors from wearing their Siikesillad on the grounds of their pagan origins, a policy which has been regarded by many Karolians as insulting to their personal freedom of expression, national culture and secular liberal politics. Many have chosen simply not to visit Belphenia and to boycott Belphenian goods, and there have been a number of businesses in both countries cease trading the other. Tensions have been periodically stirred up by Karolian satirists mocking the Belphenian government and culture and by more sincere criticism of the country by intellectuals and artists. The Belphenian press and government have been equally critical of the secular Karolian culture and politics, particularly its support for unmarried couples and celebration of pagan festivals. Neither country maintains an embassy or consulate in the other. There are, however, still direct flights between the two capitals.
Karolia has a small professional army, navy and air force with around 10,000 personnel in total. They chiefly carry out disaster relief and humanitarian missions, and the country has not declared war on another state since 1908. There is no military service or conscription in the country, not does the state possess nuclear weapons or aircraft carriers. Karolia is ranked one of the world's most peaceful nations and the military are generally regarded well by the general public, being seen as a good career choice.
The International Human Rights Organisation, an NGO, assessed Karolia as having a 'Very Good' human rights rating for 2013. It noted that the international human rights charter was almost universally upheld in law and commended the freedom of the press, transparency of political processes and actions taken on environmental health issues. However, it expressed concerns that rights for migrant workers were not as extensive as those for naturalised citizens, and that some state governments do not allow religious schools.
The economy of Karolia is mainly based on the service and technology sectors, with some agricultural and manufacturing industries. It is ranked as the world's twentieth largest economy and in 2013 generated a GDP of approximately $880 billion.
The country exports coal, oil and gas as well as wool, lumber and minerals (mainly iron ore, bauxite and stone). Oil revenues have been used to fund much infrastructure in the country, and are thought to contain another 37 million barrels of crude at current extraction rate, most of which is offshore in the east. Largely due to its terrain, Karolia is a net importer of food, although it does have significant farmland devoted to hops, grapes, barley and farm sheep and cattle.
Manufacturing industries include computer systems and software, automotive components and automobiles, aircraft and aircraft components, rail vehicles, scientific instruments, and the research, technology and healthcare industries. Global companies founded in Karolia include Finira (autos), SAI (aerospace), Saiku (beer), Katna (insurance and finance) and Muusaharmone (musical instruments).
The country has a large welfare state, providing health cover, education to postgraduate level and other social services to citizens. As a result, taxation is perceived as being higher than in many comparable countries, but this must be considered against the consistently high results in international standard-of-living and quality of life surveys. Karolia also scores highly on rankings of pay equality and gender equality in public life.
Financial institutions contribute a large share of the country's GDP. The stock market is located in Osmila and lists 70 companies in its top tier.
Karolia has use the modern Korona since 1928. One Korona is made up of 100 argent, and 20 Korone is called a Loore. The Korona is a stable currency and is freely tradeable on the world markets. Both coins and banknotes are issued in various denominations. Meridonia also uses the Korona.
Karolia possesses both coal and oil reserves, although these have been exploited for the last century and are projected to last less than 50 years at current consumption levels. Karolia currently exports around 60% of coal mined in the country and has three nuclear power stations running as of 2014. The country has already begun a transition to derive the majority of its energy needs from renewable resources. This has included the building of large solar and wind farms (both onshore and offshore), and the construction of hydroelectric dams and tidal barrages. These have not been without controversy, particularly the construction of the Saatmise dam which necessitated the flooding of an ancient glacial valley.
Main article: Education in Karolia
Karolian schooling is ranked amongst the most successful in the world and has been held up internationally as a model of progressive education. Children start school relatively late aged six (although almost all attend kindergarten) and continue in compulsory education until age eighteen. Arts, sport and personal development activities are given almost equal weighting as traditional academic subjects, and there are few formal exams. Karolia also posses some of the world's top universities including those in Säntjana, Fontjäna and Vasireii. All university places are funded by the state to postgraduate level and attract international students (who pay a nominal tuition fee) from around the world. The high standard of education amongst the general population has led to a need for migrant workers to fill low-skilled jobs.
Karolia attracts over five million overseas tourists a year, who visit the mountain ski resorts, historic city centres, natural landscapes and cultural attractions in the country. The largest numbers of visitors were from Darcodia, the Ardisphere and Ispelia. The most popular destinations by visitor number (including domestic) in 2012 were:
|Old Town of Säntjana (Alte Linn), city and Osmila||Säntjana/Osmila||2 miliion|
|Taamras winter sport resorts||Taamramae||1,2 million|
|'Floating City' of Paliiso||Paaliso Liidu||1,0 million|
|Historic Centre and Cathedral of Känton||Käntonmaa||750,000|
|Majos Valley and Great Plain||Majos/Vaistomaa/Alafőldi-Kest/Alafőld-Lääne||720,000|
|Kiisjarlvi, glacial landscape, historic monuments and Saisraud||Taamras (shared with AR10)||700,000|
|Kyor Cathedral and city||Kyorimaa||430,000|
Main article: National roads in Karolia
The motorway network in Karolia was developed from the 1960s as a response to increasing car ownership in the country. It now covers most areas of the country and links major population centres. Speed limit is 110km/h in restricted sections and de facto 160km/h on unrestricted sections. A few sections of motorway charge users a toll to recoup construction costs.
Urban cycling is very popular and widespread for all ages in Karolian towns and cities, to the extent that it is seen as part of the national identity. Successive progressive governments have implemented a sustained programme of bike-friendly initiatives, most significantly restricting motor vehicles from city centres and building segregated cycleways. It is estimated that 60% of journeys in Karolia of under five kilometers are by cycle, and a newspaper survey of 2014 proposed that as high as 91% of Karolians use a bicycle more than once a week.
Main article: Rail transport in Karolia
Karolia's railway network is operated by the state-owned Raudtee Vabariiks Kärolias/Karolia Statale Feroviaee as well as smaller companies on individual lines. The passenger network contains around 8000km of 1544mm broad-gauge track (dual-gauge in some places) and over 1900 stations, and carries around 630 million passenger-kilometres per year. Freight is also a significant user of rail in the country.
Due to the mountainous nature of the western half of the country, the majority of rail development historically occurred around the capital and in the eastern regions. Today most significant settlements are linked to the national railway network. Karolia also manufactures rail vehicles and infrastructure components. There are lines running over the borders into Darcodia and Ispelia (same gauge) and Labourgesse (where it either meets a break of gauge or dual-gauge track).
Main article: Karolian High-Speed
In 1983 the government announced an ambitious thirty-year plan to build a network of high-speed rail lines in the country. This was motivated by a desire to strengthen domestic rail industry, on environmental grounds, and to stimulate economic growth in provincial areas. The lines would be built to Karolian gauge track, and would be served by a dedicated fleet of electric trainsets running at up to 250 km/h with provision for higher speeds. New in-cab signalling and train control systems were developed for the project.
By 1996 this line had reached Lapise in the east and by 2005 the network reached Känton, Vasantan, Gorjee and Vasireii. Currently (2014) there are still around 200km of lines under construction in the country, with further expansion plans.
Metro and light-rail systems exist in Säntjana, Samacja, Vasireii, Gorjee and Kyor. Säntjana and Vasireii also operate suburban rail networks.
Narrow-gauge and tourist railways
A number of narrow-gauge railways, primarily for tourists, operate in the Taamras mountains and other rural areas. Some are privately owned but a few are operated by RVK/KSF and are integrated with the mainline railways.
Air services in Karolia are mainly focused on the international network, as most domestic travel is by road or rail. The largest airports are located in Säntjana, which is served by Tougu Airport to the north and the new Anola-Fiore Airport on reclaimed land to the south of the city. These handle traffic from airports all over the world. Other air hubs are located at Paliiso, Lapise, Gorjee and Vasireii, and regional airports at Fontjäna, Vasantan and Kyor as well as Saarmae.
The national airline is Air Karolia (Kärolias Lennuvai) which flies to every continent and has a fleet of 130 aircraft. It operates a low-cost subsidiary, KAwings. Other private operators include Uletha Regional and Majos Air.
Karolia produces the SAI 240/440, SAI 410 and SAI 210 regional jets, as well as the Corvea general-purpose helicopter.
Karolia's main cargo ports are at Lapise, Gorjee and Vai. Fontjäna, Osu and Paliiso also have passenger ports with international connections across the Gulf of Osmila. Many passenger ferries make crossings to neighbouring countries and to the Saarmae islands in the Gulf, as well as within the urban areas of Säntjana and Paliiso.
The Tolka Canal was constructed to provide access to Lapise via the large lake. It is an important entry point for goods traveling into the interior of central and eastern Uletha.
Karolia is officially a bilingual country. The majority of citizens speak Karolian, whilst a minority, mainly in the north and Taamras mountains regions, speak Románš. The two languages are not mutually intelligible and have completely different origins, but both have equal status in the country and bilingual signs are present in many faculties. Some places may have different names in each of the two languages. Most Románš speakers will also speak good Karolian.
The Karolian language is of Ulethan-Ugric origin and is considered difficult for non-native speakers to learn and has very few relations with other languages. Regional dialects exist in many states, and place names, spelling and pronunciation can vary considerably between different areas of the country, despite attempts at language reform in the nineteenth century.
Románš is a Romance-related language spread by settlers during the early medieval period. It is spoken by a minority, and is heard less in public life than Karolian, but is not considered to be endangered. There are numurous loanwords from Darcodian.
The minority languages of Kyori, Teps and Meridonian are found towards the east of the country and the latter in the area around Meridonia (where it is the official language). They are classified as endangered and attempts are being made to further their use in schools and through radio and television channels.
Castellanese, Darcodian and Inglish are widely spoken in Karolia as second languages.
Karolia is officially one of the least religious countries in the world by percentage of the population who say that they 'follow a recognised religion' or 'believe in some kind of deity or life force'. Just 6% of Karolians surveyed in 2012 said they regularly attended religious ceremonies and 63% said they categorically did not believe in any kind of god, life force or held any other beliefs they would describe as 'religious'. Mythology and folk tales still play an important part in Karolian culture, but more as a form of national expression than as organised religion. Alongside paganism, the country was historically Christian, and churches still exist in most settlements, but are more commonly used as community centres or performance venues in modern times.
The following dates are public holidays in Karolia:
- 1st January Old Year Day - sending off the old year and welcoming the new
- 2nd January New Year Day - traditionally removal of winter decorations, house cleaning and preparation for work
- 1st March Family Day - children celebrate and give presents to parents and grandparents
- 5th April Labour Day - Holiday celebrating all workers
- July (date varies) Keskjaari (Midsummer) - picnics in the forests, games and rituals. Many Karolians dress up in folk costume and it is a notorious occasion for young couples to consummate their relationship in the forests.
- 12th August Education Day - Celebrating the work of teachers and educators. Schools and universities are often open for free classes in the week around this date
- 11th November Public Servants' Day - Police, fire, medical workers and politicians are honoured with hospitality and parades
- 13rd December Unification Day - Celebrating the unification of Karolia in 1803
- 25th-27th December Juuoli (Winter Holiday). Presents are exchanged and parties held. The President, Prime Minister and two figures from culture or philanthropy each make a speech to the nation.
Almost all Karolians will wear a Siikesilla, a pendant-like device with a design personal to them and chosen as part of a coming-of=age ceremony. It has its origins in the shamanic tradition where it was believed to offer protection and guidance to the wearer.
Midsummer (Keskjaari) is considered an occasion to abandon the traditional Karolian reserve and to engage in fun and somewhat risqué activities. The night is notorious for young couples to go into the woods and consummate their relationships, aided by the skinny dipping that is traditionally practised in lakes and rivers and the amount of wine and beer that is procured. Other activities that particularly appeal to the young and young at heart are blind kissing and chasing games that are contrived to give plenty of opportunity to check out prospective partners. Historically the night was called 'parson's coffer' due to the number of weddings (and thus fees) that would result in the following weeks. Less risqué are picnics for the extended family or groups of friends, egg rolling, sports, outdoor concerts and traditional dancing around maypoles and trees and the giving of school and community prizes. A hog is traditionally roasted for the whole village and washed down with plenty of liquid.
The winter festival is marked by several traditions that are carried on to this day; firstly, sprigs of pine, blue berries and mistletoe are brought into the house and arranged into a decorative form to welcome the good witches who will bring gifts and prosperity into the house. The best animal in the herd is selected for slaughter to form the centre of the Juuoli feast on December 26th. This is usually 'hunted' from the supermarkets these days, but many Karolians will visit a farmer themselves to select the animal to be eaten. Lamb or beef is most commonly eaten. Brewers will also concoct a special Juuoliolut for the period of the festival, the nature of which is a closely guarded secret but will usually involve the addition of fruits and spices to the beer. Recently this has also begun to be done with wine as well.
Animals and nature
Karolians retain a strong attachment to the environment and landscape of their country. The Mountain Bear is the national animal and is, at least in modern times, treated with great veneration. Other animals with special significance include the white eagle, which is thought to carry the spirits of shamans, and the Bluetail butterfly who were thought to be the messengers of the sprites and other mythical creatures.
Spirits and myths
See article Karolian mythology.
Karolians are considered to be somewhat reserved and sincere in public, but will show friendliness once a stranger's trust has been established and will be more outgoing amongst friends and family. Elements of regional identity from the period before unification are still maintained, sometimes quite strongly, and Karolians will show hostility towards any attempt at implying they are one homogeneous people. In addition, correcting others publicly, bragging about one's prowess or showing excessive schadenfreude is frowned upon; Karolians also have a preference for avoiding loud behaviour and imposing themselves on others. However, impassioned debate about intellectual, social and political ideas is encouraged within the bounds of decency. As a result, the national character is tolerant and is generally open to accepting ideas and practices from outside one's immediate tradition, which is reflected in the early implementation of universal suffrage and the adoption of equal rights for homosexuals and minorities. A balanced and comprehensive education is considered very important to Karolians and the country has a very high standard of literacy and percentage of citizens with university degrees, as well as high appreciation for arts and culture. It is considered better to express one's emotions through a considered piece of art, music or literature than to make emotional outbursts in speech.
The main (state-owned) broadcaster is RTK, which operates four channels: broadly speaking, 1 is for entertainment, 2 for factual, 3 for culture and 4 for news and sport. Broadcasts are mostly in Karolian. They also operate five radio stations: 1 for pop music, 2 for jazz and older pop music, 3 for classical and folk, 4 for news and factual, and 5 for sports. The output is paid via a license fee included in general taxation. The private broadcasters KTV, KA Sport, Sports Network and Enteert (subscription services) also broadcast to the whole country. Regional television stations in Romans and Kyori exist for a minority language audience. National newspapers are usually printed in Karolian (with Inglish foreign editions) and the most important are Aamupostiit, Santjanas Telegraf, Ekspress, and Karolia Paevi.
The oral bardic traditions of the medieval period developed into written literature by the fifteenth century. The national epic, the Vaaräsiin, which tells the story of a peasant boy who with the help of a shaman-god grows up to unite several warring kingdoms in battle and establish lasting peace, was first written down in Karolian about 1490 and is almost the first document in the Karolian language to survive. It became an important standard during the Wars of Unification in the eighteenth century and underwent several revisions to suit the political agenda of the reformists, although today the original has been revived.
In the early nineteenth century the forms of the novel and romantic poetry were taken up by the moneyed classes and a Karolian literary scene was established. Although most early examples were connected with the nationalist movement, writers quickly broadened into all the major literary genres of the period. The sense of a mainstream 'Karolian literaty tradition' which reflected the national character is most strongly expressed during the period 1850-1890 by authors such as Räfiil Joukaliin, Evert Gyusmek and poets including Taari-Kätjä Raesmaa. It should be noted that women writers were as prominent in scope and number as men, something that has continued to the present day.
Modern Karolian literature has encompassed all standard literary genres. Kaarl Os has achieved widespread popularity with a series of detective novels set in and around Lapise, which deal with contemporary social issues of integration, politics and regional identity. The writer Berneliise Kyii is known for her 'abstract' philosophical novels which often involve complex subversions of the usual conventions of time, events, and logic.
Main article: Music in Karolia
Music is a very important part of traditional Karolian culture, particularly in the east. For centuries in rural communities it was to a great extent an individual's skill at singing, playing instruments or reciting epic poetry that decided their social standing and suitability to govern or marry, as it was considered to be a measure of their ability to empathise and communicate with others. This has been the basis for a long line of violin, clarinet, pipe and baijos (the traditional 8-string guitar) virtuosi which continues with no less prominence to this day, especially amongst the minority Plains communities. Both solo and choral singing are also widely practised and can call upon many rich traditions of repertoire. In the mountainous areas of the Taamras the mountain horn and pipes are more commonly found in traditional music groups, along with the voice and the local style of throat-singing. Karolian folk music traditions have been used by classical music composers in the twentieth century and by contemporary electronic music artists. Several folk music festivals attract performers from across the country and overseas.
In classical music, the Säntjana Philharmonic Orchestra regularly tour the country and abroad, alongside other main orchestras such as the Karolian Radio and Television Orchestra, Lapise Festival Orchestra, Northern Camerata and National Symphony of Karolia. The nineteenth-century opera house and new Konserthus in Säntjana are considered to have some of the finest acoustics in the world. Toomas Pästoreii (1871-1950) is considered the most important Karolian composer and a national hero: his eight symphonies, four ballets and three operas often deal with national themes as well as containing music of progressive significance. Today his great-grandson Jänne Särepäva is highly regarded as a leading contemporary composer and conductor on the international stage, alongside Bekka Liitä, Saarä Torviipära and Enu Kaaps, known for his blend of minimalist and electronic influences. The Karolian Academy of Music attracts students from all over the world.
In popular music, rock, pop and dance music all compete for space in the charts, with a large underground electronic and experimental scene centred around the capital and the university city of Fontjana. Mainstream bands such as 1967AM, Dispossessii and The Extreme (rock), DJ Strange (dance) and ShoutNow (pop) headline national festivals, mainly singing in English. The styles considered most Karolian are heavy metal, and also 'new folk' or 'prog folk' music which combines elements of traditional music with almost any other style, often with complex harmonies and instrumentation supporting innovative and witty lyrics.
Film and television
Karolian cinema tends to be mostly for a domestic audience due to the language. Minority language films are supported by the Cultural Office. A few Karolian films and directors have made a global impact, particularly the 1994 character portrait Jaari Hiirtinen which won several major international awards.
Football is the main sport played in Karolia and is hugely popular, with a five-tier professional league system, youth and women's leagues organised by the Kärolijas Jalkpalli Liidu, the national football association. Most significant settlements also have a amateur team (or more than one) which play in one of the regional leagues with the chance to reach the final and play at the Stadium of Karolia in Säntjana. The main teams are Säntjana Linna FC (Säntjana City, winners of the 2013-14 season); FC Losse Säntjana (Säntjana Castle); Fontjana FC; Känton 1880; Gorjee Football; Kyor Linne and FC Vasireii, all of whom currently play in Liiga 1, the highest tier of the national league. Strong local and regional ties mean that clubs maintain a loyal following from large numbers of fans and games are often fiercely competed. Also important is the ''Riikspreema'' (National Cup) which is a year-long tournament involving all amateur and professional teams in the country, culminating in the final in June. The national side is considered to be amongst the top teams in the world and have won the football World Cup in 1958, 1986 and 2002, finished runners-up in 2014 and been fourth in 1966 as well as hosting in 1934 and 1986. Kyor Linne won the Archanta Champions League in 2015.
Floorball is also played at a significant level in Karolia, and most towns and cities have a professional team. The current champions are Rauspä Club from Vasantan.
Being a coastal nation, sailing and rowing have always been strong in the country and Karolia has produced many winners in international competitions. The Saarmae sailing races in August are a popular holiday destination. Powerboat races off the coast around Säntjana and Osmila also take place in the summer.
In the mountain areas, winter sports attract a large following, with several downhill skiing champions and numerous medals in international tournaments. The Karolian Winter Games is an international competition involving several winter sports.
Karolia is mainly a beer-drinking nation but also produces and consumes a sizeable quantity of wine, thanks to its warm climate. The most famous beer is Saiku and the best wine Tokay.
- The Karolian Colonises- List of nations under Karolian rule