Cultural Snapshot: Mexico’s Vivacious Heritage Takes Center Stage

Que Pasa Calgary! Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean is the country of Mexico. It shares its borders with Guatemala, the United States and Belize. As such, it tends to have impressive coastlines, deserts, a rain forest, highlands and ample mountains to explore. The country is also known for its vivacious culture. Here are some of the highlights:

History & Language

Mexico’s first human inhabitants were believed to be the Olmecs and the Aztecs. As evidenced by the archaeological records that they left behind, both groups prospered during the pre-Columbian period. In the early 1500s, that changed with the arrival of the Spaniards. They imposed their will onto Mexico’s native population. However, the Mexican’s rose up and reclaimed their independence in late September 1821. Additional turbulence followed. Today, the country is considered to be a federal republic.

Languages spoken within Mexico vary considerably. Some people put the estimated number of languages spoken within the country’s borders to be 60+. With that said, the list of dialects that one might encounter includes Spanish, Nahuatl, Maya, Zapoteco and Mixteco.

Food & Festivals

As one may have well guessed, with so many influences involved, Mexico’s cuisine and festivals also vary. Many of the country’s main dishes include such ingredients as tomatoes, corn, wheat, rice, chilies and beans. Various beers and tequilas tend to figure prominently onto the country’s menus as well.

Enduring festivals and holidays include Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo, Day of the Virgin Guadalupe, Day of the Dead and Benito Juarez’s birthday. On those days, customary dress and culturally rich activities tend to take place. Among those customary activities are the creation of sugar skulls and special meals.

Music & Dance

Traditional Mexican music and dance tends to be varied and vibrant as well. However, it does feature iconic elements like Mariachi bands, corridos and the Jarabe Tapatio. They are often a big part of the country’s customary festivals. It is also not uncommon to see other dances taking place in the country too. They include merengues, pasito duranguenses, quebraditas and salsas.

Places to Visit

When many people think of Mexican vacations, the sun-drenched beaches of Cancun and Acapulco often come to mind. However, they are not the country’s only tourist hot spots. It is home to much more than gorgeous beaches and tequila bars. For example, no trip to Mexico would be complete without at least a visit to one of the country’s 37,000+ archaeological sites. Locations of exceptional note are Templo Mayor, Cholula, Teotihuacan and the Cuicuilco pyramid. They may be traced back to the country’s ancient inhabitants.

Those are just a small fraction of the country’s highlights. To discover additional details about Mexico’s colorful culture, stop by the QPasa Calgary website.