Mexican and Central American Culture

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Mexican and Central American Culture

  1. 1. Central America and Mexico A Cultural Overview Emilie, Clare, Jill and Owais
  2. 2. Customs and Traditions <ul><li>Many holidays center around religion and the importance of family </li></ul><ul><li>The most important holiday in villages is the day of their patron saint </li></ul><ul><li>Independence Day (varies by country) </li></ul><ul><li>Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are national holidays </li></ul><ul><li>Christmas and Easter, and associated holidays, are very important </li></ul>
  3. 3. Language <ul><li>Spanish is spoken by the majority of people, however, it is not always the official language </li></ul><ul><li>In Mexico, 2% of the population speak Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec Indians </li></ul><ul><li>Language and dialects vary throughout the region, including English and Amerindian </li></ul>
  4. 4. Food <ul><li>Common Foods </li></ul><ul><li>Corn or flour tortillas </li></ul><ul><li>Different versions of tamales </li></ul><ul><li>Rice and beans, together or separately </li></ul><ul><li>Vegetables- corn, chili peppers, tomatoes </li></ul><ul><li>Fruits- bananas, mangoes, papayas, oranges, coconuts, melons, pineapples </li></ul><ul><li>Coffee </li></ul><ul><li>Other Food Facts </li></ul><ul><li>The biggest meal of the day is the one eaten at midday </li></ul><ul><li>During meals, both hands, but not elbows, should be kept above or on the table </li></ul><ul><li>Food, if not eaten with utensils, is eaten with the hands, or using a tortilla as a scoop </li></ul>
  5. 5. Family <ul><li>Family is very important </li></ul><ul><li>In rural settings, extended family live together </li></ul><ul><li>In more urban areas, nuclear families live together </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly patriarchal </li></ul><ul><li>Many children live at home before marriage, sometimes after as well </li></ul>
  6. 6. Art <ul><li>Combination of Aztec art and Spanish crafts </li></ul><ul><li>Art embraces culture, history, and folk themes </li></ul><ul><li>Photographic art is gaining popularity </li></ul>
  7. 7. Religion <ul><li>Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion </li></ul><ul><li>It also has significant political power </li></ul><ul><li>Other religions include Protestant, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Mormon, Methodist, Baptist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist, and a variety of indigenous religions </li></ul><ul><li>There are small amounts of Jewish and Muslim faiths, and very small groups of Quakers, Amish, and Mennonites </li></ul>
  8. 8. Education <ul><li>Education is generally only required for primary school (age 5-7 to age 12-15) </li></ul><ul><li>In many areas, however, families are too poor to send their kids to school at all </li></ul><ul><li>Very few go on to secondary school or university </li></ul><ul><li>There is usually a choice between a university or a vocational school </li></ul><ul><li>In (most) rural areas, and some urban ones, schools lack supplies, space, and money. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Government <ul><li>Mexico-federal republic </li></ul><ul><li>Costa Rica-democratic republic </li></ul><ul><li>El Salvador-republic </li></ul><ul><li>Guatemala-democratic constitutional republic </li></ul><ul><li>Honduras-democratic constitutional republic </li></ul><ul><li>Nicaragua-republic </li></ul><ul><li>Panama-constitutional democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Independence day is the national holiday, varies by country </li></ul><ul><li>Costa Rica’s stable government makes it the most popular tourist destination in Central America. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Economy <ul><li>Tourism is a very big industry </li></ul><ul><li>Many were mainly agricultural, but are becoming more industrialized </li></ul><ul><li>Common exports include food, clothing/textiles, some oil, and electronics. Coffee is a major industry. </li></ul><ul><li>Most exports are sold to the US or to other countries in Central America </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty is mostly in rural areas </li></ul><ul><li>CACM = Central American Common Market. Because of wars and poverty, it has suffered setbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere </li></ul>
  11. 11. Technology/Transportation <ul><li>Many formerly traditional countries are rapidly modernizing. </li></ul><ul><li>Most have telephone/cell phone service and computers in urban areas </li></ul><ul><li>Rural areas are farther behind </li></ul><ul><li>Highways help connect once isolated areas, improving the economy </li></ul>
  12. 12. Ethnic Groups <ul><li>Mexico- 60% mestizo, 30% Amerindian, 9% white, 1% other </li></ul><ul><li>Guatemala- 59.4% mestizo/ladino and European, 40.5% various indigenous groups, .1% other </li></ul><ul><li>El Salvador- 90% mestizo, 9% white, 1% Amerindian </li></ul><ul><li>Honduras- 90% mestizo, 7% Amerindian, 2% black, 1% white </li></ul><ul><li>Nicaragua- 69% mestizo, 17% white, 9% black, 5% Amerindian </li></ul><ul><li>Costa Rica- 94% white, 3% black, 1% Amerindian, 1% white, 1% other </li></ul><ul><li>Panama- 70% mestizo, 14% mixed Amerindian, 10% white, 6% Amerindian </li></ul>

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