The vast majority of Pætland's population fall into two distinct ethnic groups: The Sæxons and the Cymbry. The Cymbry are the oldest existing indigenous population of the region, and are closely related to the inhabitants of what is today Bakusai and parts of Talamh Chaonaigh. They overwhelmingly pracitse forms of Gwaelic paganism and speak the Prythonaidd language, which is a Gwaelic language that is heavily influenced by Sæxisc, Kinh and to an extent other Jungjuan languages like Hokanese, Jeongmian and Longzhounese.
The Sæxons are the majority population, and are descended from the numerous tribal groups that migrated into the country after the year 400. These include (in order of population) the Niđerseaxons, Ængles, Ēotas, Frescans, Gēatas and Francans, which remain defining tribal groups into the present-day. They are united under the term "Sæxons" as they all speak the Sæxisc language. They overwhelmingly follow the form of reformed paganism called Bældægdōm, although a not-insignificant minority continue to follow older forms of the religion.
Since the colonisation of Pætland, various smaller national minorities have come to exist in the country. In addition to Sæxons (64%) and Cymbry Gwaelas (29%) there is a large population of Kinh people - who make up just over 6% of the total population. They speak Kinh, although most have a native-level understanding of Sæxisc. Most follow religions including Buddhism and Taoism.
Ethnic and national diversity varies considerably within the country, as most Kinh reside in Ƿitanageburh, with relatively few living outside the capital. Ƿitanageburh itself is around ¼ Kinh. Cymbry people reside throughout the country, although their share of the population declines noticeably from west-to-east.
Both Sæxons and Cymbry are divided into tribal groupings - what can be described in the case of the Sæxons as ethnic groups or sub-ethnic groups in themselves.
The Sæxons are divided into six major tribal peoples, the Niđerseaxons, Ængles, Ēotas, Frescans, Gēatas and Francans. Of these, the Niđerseaxons and Ængles are by far the largest, approximating about three-quarters of the Sæxon people taken together, with Ēotas making up much of the remaining quarter.
The Ƿestseaxe were historically both culturally and militarily pre-eminent over the tribes of the Līcteseflēotdene Seaxe and the Geƿissæte. Both considered satellite tribes of the Ƿestseaxe, the Geƿissæte do however have significant admixture from Ængles also. The Hƿicce and later the Middelseaxe were tributaries of the Ængle Kingdom of Miercnarīce, and the Cantƿara Seaxe were subjects of the Cantƿaras, so have significant cultural and religious connections to those peoples. The Suþseaxe and Ēastseaxe are smaller Niđerseaxon tribes.
The Ængles, being a large ethno-cultural grouping have a similarly large number of tribes among their number. Unlike the Niđerseaxons, who live in the prosperous south and east, the Ængles reside in harder heathlands and uplands, and so these tribes tend to have larger traditional territories: The Ængles af Hpítpec, Bernicians, Deirans, Lindesƿara, Magonsæte, Middelængle, Norþfolc, Norþmierce, Pecsæte, Pengƿernings, Suþfolc, Suþmierce, Ƿreocansæte and the Ūtermierce. Of these, the vast majority consider themselves branches of a wider Miercena tribe which goes unrecognised by the government.
The Bernicians and Deirans are very closely related, as are the Norþfolc to the Suþfolc. Aside from these, only the Lindesƿara and Pengƿernings are culturally distinct from the other groups who are Miercena peoples. The Lindesƿara are a geographically isolated coastal people, and the Pengƿernings are the newest of all Ængle tribes - frontier settlers in Cymbry territories.
The only other grouping that has a substantial geographic population is the Ēotas. There are two tribes that are of Ēota background, the Cantƿaras and the Ƿihtƿara. Of these, the Cantƿaras ruled a significant kingdom in the south-east of the country. The Cantƿara Seaxe are considered Sæxons, although they have adopted Ēota culture due to inhabiting the same region as the Cantƿaras.
Other, more minor groupings, number Frescans, Gēatas and Francans. The Frescans inhabit coastal districts, and continue to retain a highly-endangered indigenous language of their own. The Gēatas inhabit two distinct areas, and are divided into the Ēast Gēatas in Geatasþorp County and the Ƿest Gēatas in Cyngestūn County. Their culture is especially widely-celebrated throughout Pætland. The Francans, who number about as many as the Gēatas, reside in two distinct tribal populations also, in Mærcumbe County and in a population along the upper Līcteseflēot.
The Cymbry do not divide themselves into tribes as such, but recognise their ancestral kingdoms and identify along those lines: Ogledd Rheged, Deheuol Rheged, Elfed and Pengwern. This distinction, unlike among Sæxons, does not survive outside of rural western areas, and most urbanised Cymbry do not subscribe to any kin-based or tribal system. Those Gwaela Alba who populate the north-eastern counties retain their own system.
Pætland's de facto language is Sæxisc, although Prythonaidd and Kinh remain official languages. Sæxisc is a Germanic language which is widely-spoken across the territory by all population groups and ages. Almost 70% of the country consists of monolingual Sæxisc-speakers, with around 8% being bilingual Sæxisc-Kinh speakers and another ~20% speaking both Sæxisc and Prythonaidd. Sæxisc is the only language used as a language of government and administration, although all three official languages are subject to specific legal protections including for public services and state-subsidised media - including news, radio and television. Other minority languages including Frescan, Classical Ēotan, Gwaela Alba and various dialects of the peoples of Sora are given no such protections.
Unlike Sæxisc Prythonaidd has preserved the use of "th" and "w" in the alphabet, though differs in more substantial ways, especially as it is neither as widely-used nor as prestigious as Sæxisc or indeed as prestigious as Kinh. The language is most widely-used in the west of the country, and is the language of daily life in several western counties including Þe Pætmȳrrs, Talæsinstīpel, Deaþbed af Myrllin, Ƿēalasland and Þēoƿcēap, Gyƿrtūn and Trystanesyllt county.
Kinh is the language of the Kinh minority, who settled in Pætland during and after Vạnxuânese colonial rule.
It, as a result of its privileged position during that time, is somewhat of a prestige language among the educated classes, as well as being widely-spoken among Kinh people as a whole. It continues to be used mainly in academia, in government and in economic circles, as well as a second language on signage and for services in the capital, where most Kinh-speakers live.
The Democratic Republic of Pætland is, like most West Yojuan countries, religiously diverse although - again, like many of its neighbours - has a culturally and demographically dominant religion; in Pætland's case, the religion of Bældægdōm, otherwise known as "new school paganism" or "new vehicle paganism". It is the only country in Tiandi with a substantial population of Bældægdōm's adherents. Other religious traditions have a following in the country, including other forms of paganism such as Gwaelic Paganism and "old school paganism", so-called "new religions" such as Myeongism, Sabbatarianism and Jaatunism, and religions introduced by the Vạnxuânese.
Forms of Germanic paganism have dominated the tract of land for several hundred years, and has had a pronounced influence on the culture and on public life of Pætland. A plurality of Pætlanders, 46%, are devout new school pagans, and the vast majority of those attend temple services regularly.
Bældægdōm is a reformed form of Germanic paganism, which holds that Tiandi is the post-Ragnarok world as described in traditional paganism, as opposed to the more orthodox position that the world in existence is pre-Ragnarok. The Ealleþing of 634 is generally held to have been the beginning of the "new school" of thought, adopting a messianic view of the god Baldr in-line with contemporary Myeongist and Sabbatarian views of the messiah. The Ealleþing of 664, held at Strēoneshealh, established the view that Ragnarok had already occurred, and that as a result Baldr (Bældæg) was the only pre-Ragnarok Germanic deity that remained in existence.
The religion is governed by an established hierarchy headed by a Heāhƿītga, under whom Arceƿītgas and Landƿītgas serve at a local level. The faith has numerous scriptures, though none of which are as particularly well-known as those of other religions.
The second-largest religious tradition is Gwaelic Paganism, related to but distinct from, the forms practiced in neighbouring countries. It is polytheistic, devoting worship to numerous deities including Lugus, Cernunnos, Belunnos, Brigindu and Toutatis. The religion, owing to influences from neighbouring cultures, likewise worships in an organised manner, typically in or near sacred geographical features such as groves, lakes and standing stones. The religion is governed by druids, a position which can be held by a man or woman, and is typically a role which combines the authority of a religious figure, an academic and a community leader: Requiring a high level of spiritual and secular education.
Major druidical traditions have emerged in Pætland, highly respected in both Pætland and elsewhere. These include the druidical lineage of Taliesin, which is headquartered in Talæsinstīpel, in the county of the same name; and the lineage of Merlin (otherwise called the lineage of Merlin-Nimue). Headquartered in Ƿītgasford, this lineage was ostensibly founded by the legendary druid Merlin, though this is contested by other religious authorities that claim this honour, including in Bakusai and Talamh Chaonaigh.
A political controversy continues to dog the religion as though druids in other countries, namely Talamh Chaonaigh, are elected or are appointed by various bodies / other druids, this is not the case in Pætland. Rather, all druids are appointed by the Cyneƿīsecu Inhryting for Ƿēalh-Ƿītgas a government body established to prevent "foreign infiltration" into the religion, and to regulate contact between co-religionists in Pætland and in Talamh Chaonaigh. Allegedly to ensure that the government of Talamh Chaonaigh cannot wield undue influence among the Gwaelic faithful, numerous authorities including Druid Goshild Gwenhyvar (head of the druidical lineage of Taliesin) have contended the Cyneƿīsecu Inhryting for Ƿēalh-Ƿītgas is used to repress the Gwaelic pagans.
The three faiths arrived in Pætland at about the same time, mostly the work of missionaries. Myeongism was brought to the county of Sūþtūn by Frescan converts, merchants who brought several holy texts relating to the prophet Mani (Myeong). The religion remained small, currently numbering around 7% of the population. The religion is evenly distributed among all tribes and peoples, with the country divided into two Episcopates each led by an Episcopī, who are under the spiritual governance of the Magistrī of All Yoju. The most famous Myeongist in Pætland's history was Episcopi Æliah II of Gadinmær, who was at that time the Myeongist Patriarch of All Pætland. He was President of Pætland from 21ˢᵗ Guwol 1938 to 5ᵗʰ Shibirwol 1948, with interruptions.
The Sabbatarian religion is composed of three main branches, two of which are present in the country. The larger denomination is Black-Cap Sabbatarianism, which is practised by just under 5% of the population. This religion is concentrated in the country's south-east and is mostly practiced by Cantƿaras and upper-class Niđerseaxons. This religion was brought to Pætland by Gregory of Meridiune, an evangelist who followed the orthodox Matobwe form of Sabbatarianism. White-Cap Sabbatarianism is far smaller, and is practiced by isolated communities in the south of the country.
Jaatunism is a religion practiced by small communities of Hƿicce tribespeople, teaching a dualistic cosmology with its origins in Mennefer. They are an object of curiosity for foreigners and has brought tourists to the deprived part of Pætland where they reside. The county in which Jaatunism is prevalent was named Ðātundōmalh in their honour, and to promote tourism.
The religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism were brought to Pætland by Kinh settlers from Vạn Xuân. Many Vạnxuânese do not consider these traditions to be religion per se, but they are nevertheless considered such by government authorities. They have little following outside of Kinh areas, though with some success in converting people in urban centres and among some rural Cymbry.
Social class is complex in Pætland, though has fallen in importance in recent decades. Traditionally, the upper classes have manifested in the following divisions, from higher to lower in social standing: Royalty, ealdormen, thegns and hereditary landowners often referred to as "gentry". Lower classes in Pætlandic society were usually arranged as ceorls, villeins and serfs.
The upper classes were historically, and remain currently, an exceptionally small fraction of the population. For example, only 1,840 surnames are related to the gentry class, which is the largest of the upper classes. The titled nobility are much smaller a subsection of the population that even that, with a mere few dozen individuals entitled to bear the title "Ealdorman". The upper classes were a significant element in the Democratic Republic's early history, with many Prime Ministers and parliamentarians coming from the titled classes.
The lower classes were historically peasants and small-scale landowners although in the modern era the so-called "working classes" of the industrial centres have grown numerically far greater than the "agricultural" classes, as well as socio-culturally a more significant influence on class relations.
Whilst social class as a concept is less relevant in modern Pætland, there are still laws on the books protecting and restricting the use of noble titles, and all members of the upper classes are recorded in þ'Burh's Þegnbōc. It remains relevant in select areas, including the survival of so-called "country sports".