The culture of Mexico reflects the country's complex history and is the result of the gradual blending of (particularly ) with and other .
First inhabited more than 10,000 years ago, the cultures that developed in Mexico became one of the . During the 300-year rule by the Spanish, Mexico became a crossroad for the people and cultures of Europe, Africa and Asia. The government of independent Mexico actively promoted shared cultural traits in order to create a national identity.
The culture of an individual Mexican is influenced by their familial ties, gender, religion, location and social class, among other factors. In many ways, contemporary life in the cities of Mexico has become similar to that in neighboring United States and Europe, with provincial people conserving traditions more so than the city dwellers.
The Spanish arrival and colonization brought to the country, which became the main religion of Mexico. Mexico is a , and the and laws imposed limitations on the church and sometimes codified state intrusion into church matters. The government does not provide any financial contributions to the church, and the church does not participate in public education.
95.6% of the population were in 2010. are 89% of the total, 47% percent of whom attend church services weekly. In absolute terms, Mexico has the world's second largest number of Catholics after Brazil. According to the Government's 2000 census, approximately 87 percent of respondents identified themselves as at least nominally Roman Catholic.
Other religious groups for which the 2000 census provided estimates included , with 1.71 percent of the population; other Protestant evangelical groups, 2.79 percent; members of , 1.25 percent; "Historical" Protestants, 0.71 percent; , 0.58 percent; , 0.25 percent; , 0.05 percent; and other religions, 0.31 percent. Approximately 3.52 percent of respondents indicated no religion, and 0.86 percent did not specify a religion.
Mexico is known for its traditions, mostly derived from the indigenous and Spanish crafts. Pre-Columbian art thrived over a wide timescale, from 1800 BC to AD 1500. Certain artistic characteristics were repeated throughout the region, namely a preference for angular, linear patterns, and three-dimensional ceramics.
Notable handicrafts include clay pottery from the valley of Oaxaca and the village of Tonala. Colorfully embroidered cotton garments, cotton or wool shawls and outer garments, and colorful baskets and rugs are seen everywhere. Mexico is also known for its , especially for public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures.El Valle de México, s. XIX
Following the conquest, the first artistic efforts were directed at evangelization and the related task of building churches. The Spanish initially co-opted many indigenous stonemasons and sculptors to build churches, monuments and other religious art, such as . The prevailing style during this era was . In the period from independence to the early 20th century, Mexican fine arts continued to be largely influenced by European traditions.
After the , a new generation of Mexican artists led a vibrant national movement that incorporated political, historic and folk themes in their work. The painters , , and were the main propagators of . Their grand murals often displayed on public buildings, promoted social ideals. and produced more personal works with abstract elements. Mexican art was largely fostered by the work of .
Mexican literature has its antecedents in the literature of the indigenous settlements of Mesoamerica. The most well known prehispanic poet is . Modern Mexican literature is influenced by the concepts of the Spanish colonialization of . Outstanding colonial writers and poets include and .
Other notable writers include , , , , , (Nobel Laureate), , ("Los de abajo"), ("Pedro Páramo") and .
Mexico is the most populous -speaking country in the world. Although the overwhelming majority of Mexicans today speak Spanish, there is no official language at the federal level. The government recognizes 62 indigenous as national languages.
Some Spanish vocabulary in Mexico has roots in the country's indigenous languages, which are spoken by approximately 6% of the population. Some indigenous Mexican words have become common in other languages, such as the . For instance, the words tomato, chocolate, , and are in origin.
With thirty-four sites, Mexico has more sites on the list than any other country in the , most of which pertain to Mexico's architectural history. Mesoamerican architecture in Mexico is best known for its public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures, several of which are the largest monuments in the world. Mesoamerican architecture is divided into three eras, Pre-Classic, Classic, and Post-Classic. Architect is reputed to have declared the -style architecture of the as the best in the .
The dominated in early colonial Mexico. During the late 17th century to 1750, one of Mexico's most popular architectural styles was Mexican , which combined and decorative influences.
The , founded in 1788, was the first major art academy in the Americas. The academy promoted , focusing on Greek and Roman art and architecture. Notable Neoclassical works include the , a world heritage site, and the , both by Spanish Mexican architect .
From 1864 to 1867, during the , was installed as emperor of Mexico. His architectural legacy lies in the redesigning of the and creating the . This intervention, financed largely by France, was brief, but it began a period of French influence in architecture and culture. The style was emphasized during the presidency of who was a pronounced . Notable works from the include the and a large .
After the in 1917, idealization of the indigenous and the traditional symbolized attempts to reach into the past and retrieve what had been lost in the race toward modernization.
Functionalism, expressionism, and other schools left their imprint on a large number of works in which Mexican stylistic elements have been combined with European and American techniques, most notably the work of winner . His personal home, the , is a .
, the founder of TEN Arquitectos, has been awarded several honors for his work in . His work expresses a modernity that reinforces the government's desire to present a new image of Mexico as an industrialized country with a global presence.
Other notable and emerging contemporary architects include , , , , and .
The history of Mexican cinema dates to the beginning of the 20th century when several enthusiasts of the new medium documented historical events – most particularly the Mexican Revolution. The is the name given to the period between 1935 and 1959, where the quality and economic success of the cinema of Mexico reached its peak. An era when renowned actors such as and appeared on the silver screen.
Present-day film makers include (, ), (, ), (), (), screenwriter and owners and .
See also:Municipal president giving the "" of "Viva México" at the commencement of Independence Day festivities in 2008
Mexicans celebrate their on September 16, and other holidays with festivals known as "Fiestas". Many Mexican cities, towns, and villages hold a yearly festival to commemorate their local patron saints. During these festivities, the people pray and burn candles to honor their saints in churches decorated with flowers and colorful utensils. They also hold large parades, fireworks, dance competitions, beauty pageant contest, party and buy refreshments in the marketplaces and public squares. In the smaller towns and villages, soccer, and boxing are also celebrated during the festivities.
Other festivities include Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe ("Our Lady of Guadalupe Day"), ("The Shelters", celebrated on December 16 to December 24), ("Holy Night", celebrated on December 24), ("Christmas", celebrated on December 25) and ("New Years Day", celebrated on December 31 to January 1).
"Guadalupe Day" is regarded by many Mexicans as the most important religious holiday of their country. It honors the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, which is celebrated on December 12. In the last decade, all the celebrations happening from mid-December to the beginning of January have been linked together in what has been called the .
on the evening of January 5 marks the of and is when the figurines of the three wise men are added to the nativity scene. Traditionally in Mexico, as with many other Latin American countries, Santa Claus doesn't hold the cachet that he does in the United States. Rather, it is the three wise men who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. Mexican families also commemorate the date by eating .
The incorporates pre-Columbian beliefs with elements. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. There is an idea behind this day that suggests the living must attend to the dead so that the dead will protect the living. The celebration occurs on November 2 in connection with the holidays of (November 1) and (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using , marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. The gifts presented turn the graveyard from a dull and sorrowful place to an intimate and hospitable environment to celebrate the dead.
In modern Mexico and particularly in the larger cities and in the North, local traditions are now being observed and intertwined with the greater North American Santa Claus tradition, as well as with other holidays such as , due to Americanization via film and television, creating an economy of gifting tradition that spans from Christmas Day until January 6.
A is made from papier-mache. It is created to look like popular people, animals, or fictional characters. Once made it is painted with bright colors and filled with candy or small toys. It is then hung from the ceiling. The children are blindfolded and take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks open and the candy and small toys fall out. The children then gather the candy and small toys.
Mexican cuisine is known for its blending of Indigenous and European cultures. The cuisine was inscribed in 2010 on the by . Traditionally, the main Mexican ingredients consisted of , , both and , , , , , , , and various herbs native to Mexico.
Popular dishes include , , , , , and . Popular beverages include water flavored with a variety of fruit juices, and cinnamon-flavored prepared with or water and blended until it becomes using a traditional wooden tool called a . Alcoholic beverages native to Mexico include , , and . is also popular in Mexico and are exported. There are international award-winning Mexican wineries that produce and export .
The most important and frequently used spices in Mexican cuisine are , , , , , , and . , a smoked-dried jalapeño pepper, is also common in Mexican cuisine. Many Mexican dishes also contain and , which are also some of Mexico's staple foods.
Next to , is the most common grain in Mexican cuisine. According to food writer Karen Hursh Graber, the initial introduction of rice to Spain from North Africa in the 14th century led to the Spanish introduction of rice to Mexico at the port of in the 1520s. This, Graber says, created one of the earliest instances of the world's greatest 's.
In southeastern Mexico, especially in the , spicy vegetable and meat dishes are common. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico has quite a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location. Seafood is commonly prepared in the states that border the Pacific Ocean or the , the latter having a famous reputation for its fish dishes, à la veracruzana.
In contemporary times, various world cuisines have become popular in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion. For example, in Mexico is often made by using a variety of sauces based on and , and very often served with -chili blended soy sauce, or complemented with vinegar, habanero peppers, and chipotle peppers.
originated in Mexico and was prized by the . It remains an important ingredient in Mexican cookery.
Music and dance
Main articles: and
The foundation of Mexican music comes from its indigenous sounds and heritage. The original inhabitants of the land used drums (such as the ), flutes, , as trumpets and their to make music and dances. This ancient music is still played in some parts of Mexico. However, much of the traditional contemporary music of Mexico was written during and after the Spanish colonial period, using many influenced instruments. Many traditional instruments, such as the used in , were adapted from their old world predecessors and are now considered very Mexican.
Mexican society enjoys a vast array of music genres, showing the diversity of Mexican culture. Traditional music includes , , , and . Mexicans also listen to contemporary music such as and . Mexico has the largest media industry in Latin America, producing Mexican artists who are famous in the and parts of Europe.
Folk songs called have been popular in Mexico since the early nineteen hundreds. It may tell the story of the Mexican Revolution, pride, , romance, poverty, politics or crime. Notable contributions to the country's music are the and the .
Mariachis perform along streets, festivals and restaurants. A common Mariachi group can include singers, , a , a , vihuela, , and . The most prominent Mariachi group is , which was originally formed in 1897.
Other styles of traditional regional music in México: or (Huasteca, northeastern regions, violin and two guitars known as quinta huapanguera and ), Tambora (Sinaloa, mainly ) , Jarana (most of the Yucatán peninsula) and (North style, and ).
Folk dances are a feature of Mexican culture. Significant in dance tradition is the "", known as "Mexican hat dance". Traditional dancers perform a sequence of hopping steps, heel and toe-tapping movements.
Among the most known "classical" composers: ("Estrellita"), Revueltas, Jordá (Elodia), , ("Sobre las olas"), Carrillo (Sonido 13), Ibarra, Pablo Moncayo (Huapango) and .
Popular composers includes: , (""), , , , and .
Traditional Mexican music has influenced the evolution of the and genre. Some well-known Mexican pop singers are and . Latin rock musicians such as , and have incorporated Mexican folk tunes into their music. Traditional Mexican music is still alive in the voices of artists such as .
The traditional national sport of Mexico is , which consists of a series of equestrian events. The national horse of Mexico, used in , is the . , a tradition brought from Spain, is also popular. Mexico has the largest venue for bullfighting in the world - the in Mexico City which seats 48,000 people.
is the most popular team sport in Mexico. Most states have their own representative football teams. Among the country's significant teams include , , , and . Notable players include , , , , , , , , , and .
The country hosted the in 1968 and the in and , and was the first country to host the FIFA World Cup twice.
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