Every culture changes over the passage of time. The Mexican culture has also changed and is not the same as it was two decades ago. America has left a strong mark on the Mexican culture, but despite all, Mexico has managed to retain the integrity of its culture, which is quite distinguishable from any other.
Half of the Mexican population lives in cities and the rest in villages. Because of the stability and continuity of village population, the people living in villages are closer to their cultural roots than the urban population.
Mexico—A Historical Perspective
Mexico has a rich history. The historical attractions of Mexico are its main source for bringing in more tourists. Mexico has ancient ruins dating back from the time when the Olmecs, Aztecs and the Mayans had their kingdoms. The ruins of Olmec architecture are grandiose. Their massive head carvings in stone show how artistic they were.
Ancient civilizations which inhabited this region excelled in art, architecture, mathematics and astronomy, the Mayan calendar and its popularity and being one proof of their expertise.
Mexico, having remained a Spanish colony for nearly 300 years, has a strong cultural kinship with Spain, which is evident in the Mexican lifestyle.
Food, Clothing and the People in General
In cities the clothing is so modern in style that the visitor will not notice much difference. But in villages traditional dress is common. Women wear colorful skirts and cape shawls, and men often wear heavy Mexican boots, simple cotton pants and shirts, and serapes and sombreros. City dwellers still wear traditional clothes to carnivals, but in their everyday life European and American style dominates their clothing.
Mexican food is delicious and as popular as Chinese cuisine in most Western countries. Corn bread or tortillas serve as the staple food. Mexicans also love rice and chili peppers. Most of their meals taste spicy to Americans and Europeans, who love it all the same because they find Mexican food irresistible.
The elite class in Mexico favors European and American cuisine rather than their own Mexican food. In all of Mexico no celebration is complete without a drink. Thus, Mexico’s beverage industry is one of its most thriving industries.
Mexican people are warmhearted and very pleasant. They are jovial, hospitable, and fun to be with. Family life is given much importance and children are treasured. They often continue living with their parents even after entering adult life.
Because Mexico was a Spanish colony for nearly 300 years, almost 95 percent of the Mexican population now speaks Spanish. In addition, more than 5% speak both Spanish and English. Therefore, it is often easy to find a professional Spanish document translator or interpreter.
In addition to Spanish, there are about 62 other indigenous languages that are spoken in Mexico. These Amerindian native languages are given the status of Mexico’s national languages, while Spanish remains the official language of the country.
Holidays and Celebrations—A Part of Mexican Culture
Cinco de Mayo and El Grito de Independencia are two Mexican public holidays which symbolize a sense of freedom and liberty. The first commemorates the bravery of Mexican soldiers who made the French army retreat . The second holiday is a celebration of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Mexicans also celebrate the “Day of the Dead,” which surprisingly is not the morbid holiday its name implies. In essence, Mexicans honor the spirits of their ancestors on this day and visit cemeteries, anointing graves with fresh flowers and candles. This celebration affirms an acceptance of nature’s cycle of life and death.
The rich Mexican culture today maintains and cherishes its separate identity, although the American and Spanish cultures have influenced it much.