Mexico is a country located in the Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf between Belize and the United States. It is on the border of the North Pacific Ocean, flanked by Guatemala and U.S.A (Crompton, 1979). There are several cultural subdivisions within Mexico as a nation, the most common ones being in the northern, central, and southeastern Mexico. Mexican culture is probably one of the fascinating cultures worldwide. Its uniqueness is evident in the mixture of strong native legends, artistic expressions, and some of its cultural elements. This research paper presents a discussion on Mexican culture based on the necessary things in life such as food, economics, religion, art, and music, as well as politics.
Studies have revealed that the culture of Mexico has undergone a lot of transformation over the past few decades, a situation that has led to the varied practices throughout the country. A huge number of Mexicans live in the cities while the small number still living in the rural setup play a vital role in defining the country’s collective vibrant community.
A research done by the Central Intelligence Agency indicates that Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world with several ethnic groups. The world fact book recorded by the agency indicates that the Amerindian-Spanish group accounts for 60 percent of the entire population in the nation. Amerindian people account for 30 percent of the population while the remaining percentage is made up of the whites and other ethnic groups. (‘Central Intelligence Agency’, 2013). The composition of the ethnic groups creates a culture that is unique to Mexico as illustrated below.
It is in the culture of Mexico that culinary norms vary extensively depending on income levels and social class. The working class has a particular diet that is composed of staples such as wheat tortillas. They also value foods like beans, rice, chili peppers and some types of pork sausage. Despite the variation in foods eaten based on the social class, most of the Mexicans love spicy foods full of heat. The middle and upper-income earners in Mexico are more closely aligned with foods of the Americans and Europeans, prepared in a broad range of culinary styles. The famous tequila and the well-developed beverage industry have made Mexico a known country.
The culture of Mexico appreciates food customs at ceremonial occasions. Mexico as a nation performs various religious and secular occasions that are accompanied by special food. For example, the popular religious fiesta known as “Candlemas” is celebrated every 2nd February. Mexicans being Roman Catholic faithful, the purification of Mary and the presentation and blessing of Jesus is celebrated annually with special foods cooked in varied styles. It is in the culture that family and close friends join for tamales after the church ceremony. There is also a day that the dead are celebrated with bread prepared with many eggs and sugar. During the Christmas festival, Mexicans eat romeritos, a plant that is similar to rosemary and it is served with sauce and potatoes. Independence in the country is also celebrated in September when people eat a unique dish called chile en nogada to represent the Mexican flag (Bond, 1975).
The culture in Mexico, therefore recognizes the consumption of different dishes made with a purpose to celebrate a given feast. A majority of Mexicans being Roman-Catholics makes the religious dishes very common since they are prepared in the whole nation during the feasts that are celebrated by the church.
In the Mexican culture, written materials indicate that there are prominent symbols that express and reinforce the national culture. Such symbols belong to the domains of the state, religion, and the popular culture. The Mexican Revolution has been a significant point of convergence for national identity. It is noted that the revolution refashioned the nation’s social, political, economic, and cultural characteristics. Symbolism has been aligned in the culture where students who attend public schools sing the national anthem as they honor the national flag. The flag in itself is symbolic. Its strips represent bloodshed, purity, and hope. The symbolism of the eagle represents the myth of the foundation of Tenochtitlan, which is the capital of Aztec Empire (Haddon, 1900).
Most importantly, there is the symbolism of the Roman Catholic Church in the national culture. The icon of Mexican national culture is the virgin of Guadalupe, who is viewed as the mother of all Mexicans. Her image was apparently used in the struggle for independence against the Spanish.
Art has been in the culture of Mexicans since the days of ancient Indians. Journal articles show that Mexico has produced a number of renowned architects, painters, music composers and writers. For example, Octavio Paz, a Mexican writer won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1990, capturing the Mexican culture with beautiful poetry. The Mexico’s long tradition of graphics arts is reflected to have begun back in the pre-Columbian times when the Indians prospered in Mexico. They produced sophisticated graphic art such as pottery and frescos. Up to date, the national culture of graphics arts is shown in the National Museums in Mexico City.
Mexico has a native rock scene making it an important recording center for the Spanish speaking world. The same is applicable in the production of soap opera series for television. The Mexican cinema has flourished right from 1940s and 1950s, producing world heroes such as Jorge Negrete (Lewis, 2004).
The culture of Mexico has given clothing a priority right from the ancient times up to date. Research done by fashion designers reveals that some traditional clothing is now typically won for celebrations and special occasions. For example, charro suits won by Miriachi bands are noted to be won again in the recent times. Moreover, Mexico is a country that fosters high fashion and is a home to many fashion designers. In the Cities of Mexico, fashion is influenced by international trends more so the trends in Europe and the United States.
In the culture of Mexico, etiquette is strongly informed by the culture of social hierarchies and distance. It is in the history of Mexico that they shake hands when they meet. They could also kiss each other on the cheek once in the case of a man and a woman or two women meeting. Mexicans perceive the shaking of hands as an expression of confidentiality and trust. It is also a culture in Mexico to help family members, for example in finding employment or purchasing a house.
In a nutshell, the Mexican culture, customs, manners, and etiquette have been persistent since the ancient times when the Indians were very prosperous in Mexico. Many Mexican legends are famous for utilizing their talents in arts and literature, a culture that is embraced up to date in the painting, music and even in television shows. The artistic expression, Spanish culture and the Roman Catholic practices make the Mexican culture a unique and fascinating culture.
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