Mexico Culture and Traditions


An ancient country, Mexico is rich in traditions. The population is proud bearer of that mexicanidad which parallels the hispanidad of the conquistadors, and has a profound sense of honor. Often at the birth of a child, celebrated with rites and parties, a tree is planted, the child’s alter ego, a symbol of his life. Engagement and weddings are occasions for banquets; The funeral rites, at times completely Christian, at times pagan, are also very popular. The largest number of festivals is linked to religious celebrations. Mexican Christmas begins on December 16 with the search for the first of nine posadas where the Madonna will be hosted who will change house from evening to evening, until the eve, while the fervor of the party will increase. Numerous local festivals and pilgrimages are added to the great religious feasts (Holy Week, Corpus Domini, San Giovanni, solemnity of the dead). The competitions that conclude the festivities (foot races, javelin throwing) are widespread, as are the folk dances. Famous among all, the dance of the volador, in which four dancers, tied a rope to their ankles, jump from a pole 30 meters high and making wide turns around the pole itself land with great agility. Patriotic holidays are also celebrated with equal fervor (15/16 September, Independence Day; 20 November, anniversary of the insurrection led by Madero in 1910; 5 May, first victory against Napoleon III’s soldiers, 1862). The traditional Mexican dwelling is the adobe house (sun-dried brick). The clothing is full of colors. Famous are the rebozo (wide shawl with bright colors) and the sombrero (wide straw hat). The white blouse and trousers are of Spanish import. Rich craftsmanship, especially ceramics, with vases, jugs, and plates painted in fresco. Indian art still inspires a large part of the production, in particular of terracotta, and processing of fabrics, lacquers, painting on wood, leather, drawings on bark, where the Aztec taste is often found. The guitar is the most popular accompaniment to popular songs. From Spain came the passion for bullfights, from North America the taste of the Mexican charreada or rodeo, an exhibition of horsemen and a parade of splendid Amazons. Tortilla triumphs in Mexican cuisine, crushed cornmeal that can be stuffed with meat, cheese, spicy sauce; beans, rice, chicken and pies predominate. National drinks are tequila and pulque, distilled from the fermented juice of two varieties of agave.


From 2000 BC With the peoples of the Olmecs, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Maya and Aztecs, Mexico belonged to the area of Mesoamerican advanced civilizations. Its hallmarks were the formation of cities and states, monumental temple buildings, organized state religion, higher craft and artistic techniques and, in some cases, the development of writing, calendars and sciences. After the Spanish conquered and colonized the country, with the merging of Spanish and indigenous traditions, Mexican culture emerged. For example, Indian and Christian religious beliefs mixed and the Spanish of the conquistadors took up words from the Aztec language. – Mexico is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the American continent.

Many old towns, such as those of Puebla, Guanajuato, Cuernavaca or Oaxaca, exude a colonial atmosphere. In Mexico City, the national palace (begun in 1523) was built in the center of the chessboard-like system of streets above the destroyed palace of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma. The cathedral on the southwestern part of the former Aztec temple district was founded in 1525 and is based on old Andalusian architecture.

After the revolution at the beginning of the 20th century, muralism was an independent Mexican art. In the large-scale frescoes and murals, social and historical themes are expressed with aesthetic references to Renaissance painting as well as to pre-Columbian and modern art. The most important representatives were José Orozco (auditorium of the university in Guadalajara), David Alfaro Siqueiros and Diego Rivera (university stadium in Mexico City). The internationally known painter Frida Kahlo was married to the latter. Her fantastic-surreal (self-) portraits revolve around her own fears and pains (film biography »Frida« with Salma Hayek ; 2002).

With the Mexican Revolution, a national Mexican literature emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. Outstanding representatives are the poet and essayist Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize 1990), the magical realist Juan Rulfo (novel “Pedro Páramo” 1955) and the narrator Carlos Fuentes .

Marimba music and the mariachi bands with trumpets and stringed instruments as well as changes from solo voice and polyphonic singing are popular.

According to thefreegeography, the ancestor of Mexican rock music is Carlos Santana , who created Latin rock.

As a continuation of ancient Indian tradition, a cultic dance, the “flying game”, has been preserved among the Totonaks, in which four men, turning upside down around a high pole, sink down to the ground, while a fifth dances on a platform on the pole makes music. The Mexican All Souls Day on November 3rd is a synthesis of Indian and Spanish culture. The “Day of the Dead” is celebrated as a happy festival where families picnic at graves and eat decorated skeletons baked according to Aztec tradition, the “bread of the dead”.

The national sport is charrería, a competition with elements of rodeo and bullfighting. However, the most popular sport is soccer. In 1970 and 1986 the World Championships took place in Mexico. Wrestling is also popular.

Mexico Culture and Traditions