• United States!

    United States: Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Go Now!

    United States
    Explore the vast openness and wildlife found roaming in the western United States, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park (pictured) in North Dakota. Begin Your Journey!

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    Trinidad & Tobago: Beautiful Coastline. Go Now!

    Trinidad & Tobago
    These Caribbean islands mix Indian, African, and European cultures alongside beautiful beaches. Go Now!

  • Cuba!

    Cuba: Sandy beach. Go Now!

    Cuba
    Many people fear the unknowns of Cuba, but the history, culture, food, and impressive beaches lure many visitors every year. Explore Cuba!

  • Panama!

    Panama: Panama City skyline. Go Now!

    Panama
    Panama is best known for the Panama Canal, but the beaches draw tourists, as does Panama City (pictured), a modern capital quite different from most nearby cities. Explore Panama

  • Mexico!

    Mexico: Sunrise over the mountains in Puerto Vallarta. Go Now!

    Mexico
    Although many people just go for the beaches, Mexico offers impressive mountain vistas (pictured in Puerto Vallarta), great food, and historic ruins that compete with the best in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Barbados!

    Barbados: Pier on the beach. Go Now!

    Barbados
    This Caribbean island has hints of British culture, but is wholly Caribbean as well. Explore Barbados!

Culture & Identity of Mexico

WARNING: Much of Mexico is unsafe, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction

Life in Mexico is diverse and is ever changing. The country is urbanizing as more and more people live in cities with each passing year. Today nearly 80% of the people are urbanized and this setting greatly affects the daily way of life in the country today.

Historically many people made a living off the land, primarily as farmers, but today less than 15% of the people work in agriculture. For these people life is based on the sunlight hours, the weather, and the seasons. Work consumes a huge amount of time and the schedule from season to season and from day to day is often dependent on the weather. However, many of the remaining farmers in the country today have adopted heavy machinery, making their lives much easier and giving them the ability to work more land in less time.

For most of the population, life is centered in cities, some of which are huge cities, such as Mexico City. In these places life is varied, but for those with regularly scheduled jobs life tends to revolve around a work schedule, which for many is from about 9:00 am to about 8:00 pm. However, in the middle of many work days is a long lunch break. After work dinners tend to be late, beginning as late as 10:00 pm, however with work and schools starting a bit later in the morning than many places (although some schools begin as early as 7:00 am), these late evenings generally don't mean a lack of sleep.

These jobs come in a huge number of industries, with manufacturing and factory work a common occupation as are jobs in the services sectors. The city life, from public transportation, regularly working hours, and numerous services being easily accessible means for many urbanites life is on a regular routine.

Free time in Mexico is spent in any number of ways, but many people seem to focus their lives on family, food, religion, and soccer (football) to varying degrees. Life seems to be centered on family for most people, often times talking over a meal or screaming at a TV with a soccer game on. For many Mexicans Sundays are also a day to attend Catholic mass, and afterwards to spend time with family.

Identity

The constant instability in Mexico has stolen any identity from the people of Mexico as the most tend to identify in multiple ways and the Mexican identity is not uniformly defined, making the identity of the people even more confusing. Many people in Mexico will first identify with the city or region they are from, but others tend to primarily identify as Mexican. Both forms of identity are rooted in the local culture, foods, religion (Catholicism), and language (Spanish), while ethnicity is rarely a contributing factor to defining these identities. As most people are a combination of various ethnicities, this has little weight in the identity, however Mexicans abroad still generally identify as Mexican, which is more a statement of where they or their ancestors are from as opposed to a politically- or ethnically-based identity. For these people, the foods, culture, and history of Mexico truly form the basis of the culture and identity.

Many people also cling to a second identity of being "Hispanic" or "Latin American." People who identify as Hispanic (in the Americas) are generally a mix of Spanish and Native American ancestry who speak Spanish. It is this ethnic and linguistic link that is the true definition of the term, although today the foods, music, religion, and dress of the people are also closely associated with the term. Although the word "Hispanic" can refer to anyone with a historic tie to Spain or Portugal, in the Americas it tends to be an inclusive identity only referring to Spanish-speaking people from the Americas. The term Latin American is more inclusive as it refers to anyone from Latin America, no matter a person's ethnicity or linguistic affiliation.

This page was last updated: November, 2013