Mexican Culture – Information, customs and characteristics

We explain what Mexican culture is, the elements that compose it, its traditions, customs and other characteristics.

What is Mexican culture?

Mexican culture it is the result of both the tradition indigenous as of the Spanish culture imposed by colonization. A little smaller (in comparison) was the contribution of the African culture brought by the slaves that Europeans themselves incorporated the nascent society Latin American.

Between the cultures Native Americans that gave rise to it, the Maya, the Mexicans and the Toltec, among others. For its part, the Spanish influence was felt during the 500 years that the Spanish-American colonial era lasted, after the arrival of the Spanish conquerors to American lands in the fifteenth century.

The unique richness of Mexican culture is due, in large measure, to its mixture of modern elements and its indigenous legacy. There are still 52 different native peoples, heirs of the pre-Hispanic nations decimated by the European conquest, endowed with their own language, mythology and traditions.

Thus, in Mexico, a society similar to that of Europe and the United States shakes hands, with an important aboriginal legacy in Arts, the culture and ethnicity. Among those aspects highlights the gastronomy, considered by Unesco as Intangible Heritage of Humanity, a reflection of the history pre and post-colonial of this South American nation.

Too their visual arts are important worldwide, especially painting, with names of international prestige such as Diego de Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

The same goes for your literature, rich and endowed with a Nobel Prize, awarded to the poet and essayist Octavio Paz in 1990, and his cinema, whose “golden age” took place between 1930 and 1950, when local film production was the most important of all Latin America.

Mexican culture enjoys enormous worldwide prestige, which translates among other things into an activity tour very important, that make this nation one of the most visited destinations in the world.

Characteristics of Mexican culture

Like so many others nations Latin American, the Mexican is a mestizo culture, that is, fruit of complex dynamics of cultural syncretism whose elements come from different continents. Especially important are the Spanish and Catholic heritage, and those from the ancient Aztec Empire and other pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures.

It should be taken into account that the Mexican territory He was part of one of the cribs of humanity: Mesoamerica. From there emerged several important American cultures: the Maya, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Mixtec, the Olmec and the Mexica or Aztec, to name just a few known examples.

This causes many elements of diverse origin to cohabit, such as the religion Catholic (the main and dominant in the country) and myths, stories and mystical customs of pre-Columbian origin, as is the famous Day of the Dead.

Mexican cuisine is another example of this crossing, as the heritage of aboriginal corn, beans and hot chilli contrast with other elements of European roots. In this way, In Mexico, more than 50 languages ​​of pre-Columbian origin are spoken, in a cultural mix that demonstrates the complexity of any attempt to define the identity, Mexican.

Elements of Mexican culture

The following elements predominate in Mexican culture:

  • Gastronomy. One of the most personality cuisine in the world, heiress of aboriginal traditions in which corn tortillas, beans, chilli, guacamole, tamale, pozole and toast, as well as sauces, are protagonists. Enchiladas, tacos and tamales enjoy international renown, and in the aboriginal gastronomic variants one can find insects (such as grasshoppers, dips ), and other foods characteristic.
  • Literature. One of the most important Latin American literary traditions is the Mexican, starring colonial authors such as Sr. Juana Inés de la Cruz, nineteenth-century as Amado Nervo, and modern as Octavio Paz, Juan Rulfo, José Gorostiza, Carlos Fuentes, Fernando del Paso and many others. The inheritance of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) is very noticeable in the Mexican artistic tradition.
  • Music popular. Mexican popular music enjoys great international renown, especially ranchera songs and Mariachi culture, or Mexican corrido, having important exponents of protest music (such as Mexican narcocorrido) and Spanish rock. Notable interpreters include Pedro Infante, Vicente Fernández, Juan Gabriel, Julieta Venegas, and groups such as Café Tacvba, Maldita Vecindad, Caifanes, Maná or Molotov, in different genres.
  • Film and television. Mexican cinema and television had a very important moment in the early and mid-twentieth century, with the participation of popular figures such as Pedro Infante, María Félix, Dolores del Río, Jorge Negrete, Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”, Germán Valdés “Tin tan “Or Roberto Gomes Bolaños” Chespirito “, the last three particularly famous in the field of television humour.
  • Archeology. The Mexican archaeological legacy is one of the best known and most important in America and the world, given that a significant portion of its territory was occupied by various Mesoamerican cultures, particularly by the Aztec Empire, subjected to force by the Spanish conquerors. The main Mexican archaeological sites are Tulúm, Chichen Itzá, Cobá, Uxmal, Monte Albán and Dzibanché.

Mexican traditions and customs

Some of the main traditions and customs of the Mexican people are the following:

  • The day of the Dead. Held between November 1 and 2, the date that according to local tradition the dead are allowed to visit their living families, this is one of the most famous traditions of Mexican culture, portrayed even in animated American films such as Coconut (2017). This holiday is celebrated with dances, parades, typical foods (bread of the dead, sweet skulls) and decorations alluding to death (catrinas).
  • The mariachis. It is known as “mariachi” to musicians of a popular homonymous genre, traditionally dressed in “charro” (rider) costume, which usually accompanies celebrations such as Mother’s Day, that of the Virgin of Guadalupe, family parties or serenades romantic Garibaldi Square is famous in Mexico City, where Mariachis are always available for immediate hiring by passersby.
  • Worship of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The Catholic patron of Mexico is the virgin who allegedly appeared four times to the Indian Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, in the year 1531. The day of this virgin, known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, aka the Queen of Mexico and Empress of America , is December 12 and is one of the most important cults of this American nation.
  • Revolution Day. Annually, Mexico celebrates on November 20 one of the most important socio-political processes of the country, the continent and even the world at the beginning of the 20th century, as was the Mexican Revolution. This event, which initially aimed at the overthrow of the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz In 1910, he ended up opening the door to a re-foundation of the republic at the hands of various revolutionary leaders, who were debated in a bloody civil war whose protagonists are still remembered, especially Francisco “Pancho” Villa and Emiliano Zapata.