Bordering the United States to the south and several Central American nations is the large land and populated nation of Mexico. Its cities are modern and the rural region more traditional. With a population of 111 million people it is the most populous Spanish-speaking nation. Most Mexican villagers follow the older way of life more than the city people do. More than 75% of the people of Mexico live in cities of over 50,000 inhabitants. Those individuals that classify themselves as Mexican date the beginning back to 1821 when Mexico achieve its independence from Spain.
The Spaniards introduced the Roman Catholic faith to the region to the Native Indians, but those individuals coming to Mexico as a Spanish colony originally from Spain continued their native Spanish in Mexico. Approximately 89 percent of all Mexicans are Catholics and 5 percent of the Protestant religions, an essential element in Mexican genealogy. The many fiestas celebrated in small villages to the largest cities involve the honoring of a patron saint.
When the Spanish monks brought wheat to Mexico to use in Roman Catholic religious ceremonies, the growing of wheat fields started. The first wheat was brought to Mexico in 1523 around the area now occupied by Mexico City. The grains were given to the native inhabitants to produce flour for unleavened bread used during Roman Catholic religious ceremonies.
Most Mexicans speak Spanish. There are many indigenous (native) languages also spoken throughout Mexico due to the numerous Native Indians of the area.
Mexicans have strong family bonds along with a family structure including extended family members. Bring the family together for any celebration is important. They also have a great love of their heritage, not only from Spain, but also what was achieved in the New World is an interesting note in Mexican genealogy.
Due to the years of Spanish colonial rule much of the Mexican architecture had a Spanish style, especially that of Spanish Baroque.
During many Mexican celebrations is the use of the pinata. The object is made from paper-mache. It is created to look like popular people, animals, or fictional characters. Then, it is painted with bright colors, filled with candy or small toys and hung from the ceiling. The children are blind-folded and take turns hitting the pinata to break it open. Everyone then shares in the treats inside the pinata.
Mexican foods are a mixture of the native Indian and Spanish cultures. The popular food items include maize, chicken, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, chilies, avocados and guavas. A meal can consist of tamales, burritos, tacos pozole, and enchiladas.
In celebrating the numerous festivals, music and dance is an integral part. Traditional dancers perform a sequence of hopping steps, heel and toe tapping movements. Traditional folk songs are favorites since they tell the story of Mexican pride, romance, and politics. The Mexican Mariachis are small music groups which include a singers, guitar, violin and trumpets.
Horses came to Mexico from Spain and have grown to be an important work animal for agricultural and transportation as well as entertainment. The Mexicans excel in equestrian sporting events, especially the Charreria. A tradition from Spain is bullfighting, also very popular in Mexico. Other sporting games include soccer, baseball, basketball and Jai alai. Mexican have a long history of excelling in professional boxing as well.