Mexican culture has ancient roots that date as far back as 1800 BC when elaborate cultures such as the Mayans, Aztecs and Olmecs first began to emerge. In 1521, Spain conquered and colonized the area known today as Mexico; because of this, the majority of Mexicans today are Spanish speaking Roman Catholics. However, there are 62 indigenous languages also in use. Due to the Spanish colonial era that spanned 3oo years, Mexican culture is often categorized in two sections: Pre-Hispanic and Colonial.
Mexican art is a mix of traditional folk crafts and Spanish art. Some of Mexico’s most famous art-forms include black clay pottery from Oaxaca, and brightly coloured woven garments, baskets and rugs. Similarly, Mexican music is a blend of indigenous and Spanish traditions. Folk music uses quintessential Mexican instruments such as maracas, flutes and sea shells, while Spanish-inspired music uses European instruments. Mexico’s most famous musical genres include Mariachi and Banda. Finally, Mexican cuisine is known for its spice and signature ingredients such as maize, beans, jalapeno peppers and avocados. Mexico is also famous for its alcoholic beverages such as mescal and tequila, which are both made from the Agave plant.
The most important national holidays in Mexico fall on September 16th, November 2nd and the 24th and 25th of December, when Mexicans celebrate Independence from Spain, the Day of the Dead, 'Noche Buena' (Holy Night) and 'Navidad' (Christmas), respectively. Apart from national holidays, each town or village hold an annual festival, or “fiesta”, attributed to their patron saint. Its not uncommon for these celebrations to go late into the night, and its common to find vibrant decorations, fireworks, music, dances, parades, and of course pinatas. Pinatas are a trademark of Mexican fiestas, and are three-dimensional paper-mache constructs, made sometimes in the shape of animals or people and filled with treats of various kinds. Hanging from the ceiling, the goal of the game is to break open the pinata with a long stick, with the difficult challenge of being blindfolded. Regardless of where you might be from, this game will certainly be fun for everyone, and serve as a cultural ice-breaker!