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Culture of Mexico


The Mexican culture reflects the complex blending of Pre-Hispanic Indigenous civilizations, Hispanic culture, and later influences from France, Germany, and the United States. African and Asian influences also play an important part in Mexican culture.


Spanish is the official and predominant language of Mexico, spoken to some extent by nearly the entire population. Mexican Spanish, while having a diverse array of regional dialects, is distinguished by its extensive borrowings from earlier indigenous languages; particularly Nahuatl. This is especially evident in the names of common plants and animals.

(need help making a table, I will provide citations on etymologies...and will look up more words) English European Spanish Mexican Spanish* Nahuatl

Owl Bujó Tecolote Vulture Buitre Zopilote Mosquito Mosquito Moyote Turkey Pavo Guajolote

  • It should be noted that some of these expressions are considered colloquial or dialectal, and are not used by all Mexicans.

Also some words of Nahuatl origin have passed from Mexican usage to widespread use in the Hispanic world, and in turn have been adopted into English and other languages (e.g. tomato, chocolate, coyote, avocado).

(More on other languages pending)


The vast majority of Mexicans who practice a religion are Christians. During the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Roman Catholicism was established as the dominant sect. While Mexico has been an explicitly secular society since the Mexican Revolution, Catholicism remains the nominal religion of over 90% of the population. As with the cultural expression of language, Mexican Christianity – especially at the popular level – incorporates many indigenous beliefs.

Perhaps the most striking example of this fusion of different traditions is the widespread veneration of the Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Day of the Dead is another example of religious syncretism, in which the European Catholic All Saints Day is combined with indigenous rites of ancestor veneration. In many Mexican communities, curanderos (traditional healers) use indigenous folk medicine, spiritual, and Christian faith healing to treat ailments and “cleanse” spiritual impurities.

Protestantism was introduced by European and American settlers and missionaries after the 19th century. The number of evangelical and Pentecostal Mexicans in particular has grown in recent years. The Church of Latter Day Saints, introduced by Mormon Americans fleeing religious discrimination in the 19th century has also gained numerous converts. Approximately 60,000 Jews live in Mexico, as do a number of Buddhists and Muslims.


Mexico is known worldwide for its folk art[?] traditions, mostly derived from a combination of indigenous and Spanish crafts. Between the Spanish conquest and the early Twentieth Century, Mexican fine arts were largely in imitation of European traditions. After the Mexican Revolution, a new generation of Mexican artists led a vibrant national movement that incorporated political, historic, and folk themes in their work. The painters Diego Rivera, Jose Clememte Orozco[?], and David Alfaro Siqueiros became world famous for their grand scale murals, often displaying clear social messages. Rufino Tamayo[?] and Frida Kahlo (Diego Rivera's wife) produced more personal works with abstract and surreal elements. Mexican art photography was largely fostered by the work of Manuel Alvarez Bravo[?].

Mexico has a long and distinguished literary tradition. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695..any Mexican literature buffs?), a nun in Colonial Mexico, wrote many fine poems and won fame for her defense of women’s rights. José Joaquin Fernandez de Lizardi (1776-1827) is often considered the first important Hispanic American novelist. For his satirical novel “The Itching Parrot” (c. 1816). ( I am no expert on 20th century Mexican lit..but I will give it a shot if no one else will)

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