So, you’re eager to learn some interesting facts about Mexico?
Contrary to popular belief, Mexico is not a country filled with drug lords, high crime or lazy Mexicans eating burritos. Mexico is much better than that.
Quick Answer – Facts About Mexico
- Cultural Facts about Mexico – Understanding the Culture
- Mexico’s Cultural Site – See the Mexican Pyramids
- Folk Art to Handicrafts – Mexican Artifacts
- Facts about Mexican Literature – Magnificent Literary Works
- Learn about Mexican Music – Rich Musical History
Let’s dispel some stereotypes. In this article, I’ll share some interesting facts about Mexico’s architecture, art, literature, music, dance, and clothing.
Interesting Facts About Mexico
The origins of Mexico’s culture can be traced back to nearly 3,500 years.
The history goes right back to the pre-Colombian Mesoamerican era that consisted of several advanced indigenous civilizations.
Civilizations such as the Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Aztec, Mayan, Toltec, and Teotihuacano before the conquest and colonization of Spanish settlers in the 16th century.
Cultural Facts About Mexico
Mexican culture today is a reflection of the gradual blending of native culture (particularly Mesoamerican) with other Spanish and immigrant cultures.
In fact, Mexico has one of the richest histories and cultures in the world.
Here are some general facts about Mexico:
- Mexico has an estimated population of 132 million people according to worldometers.info
- The Federal District, which encompasses Mexico City is the Capital of Mexico. On January 29th, 2016, it ceased to be the Federal District and is now officially known as Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX).
- The official currency of Mexico is the peso
- The predominant language spoken in Mexico is Spanish, although the government recognizes 68 indigenous languages.
Mexico’s Historical Sites
Many of Mexico’s older architectural structures, including entire sections of Pre-Hispanic and colonial cities, have been designated World Heritage sites for their historical and artistic significance.
Mexico has the largest number of sites declared World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the Americas.
Some of these sites include:
- The National Park of Palenque an ancient Maya city-state
- The ancient ruins of Monte Alban an archeological site in southern Mexico
- Puebla (city) See this guide to things to do in Puebla for more.
- The Casa de Cortes, La Antigua, Veracruz, is one of Mexico’s oldest archaeological sites
It was constructed around the 1520s by the indigenous Totonacas from the river and volcanic stone as well as coral rock, and a special glue mixture comprised of snails, cactus, oyster, seawater, and calcined lime.
It is believed to be the home of Herman Cortes, although he did not live there.
The Casa de Cortes dwelling is believed to be an entry point during that time for arriving Spaniards, African slaves, and storage.
People traveling to Mexico usually visit one of the many pyramids on their list.
Since Mexico has pyramids, which are different from the pyramids in Egypt – it holds some of the most important landmarks in the Americas.
Unlike Egyptian pyramids, Mexican pyramids were built as homes for deities. These pyramids were flat at the top with a temple used for religious ceremonies and rituals.
They were also used as landmarks for navigation, and there’s some evidence to suggest that the pyramids were also used for military defense by some city-states.
The Olmecs, the first major Mesoamerican civilization, built pyramids between 1,000 BC. – 400 BC.
According to Wikipedia, Mexico has 29 pyramids.
Facts about Mexican Art
Mexican art falls into several categories:
- Murals and paintings
- Baskets and rugs
The term ‘artesania’ (arts & crafts) collectively refers to Mexican handcrafts and folk art fashioned for the purposes of utilitarian, decorative or other purposes.
Items such as wall hangings, vases, and other items, were created for celebrations, festivities, and religious rituals.
Mexican artesania has its origins in the crafts of the many Pre-Hispanic cultures within Mesoamerica.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a powerful symbol of Mexican identity, faith, and culture. It marks the date in 1531 when the Virgin Mary purportedly appeared before a native Aztec man named Juan Diego.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is located in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico.
This basilica is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world and the world’s third most-visited sacred site.
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spanish: Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.
Literary facts about Mexico
Did you know that one of Mexico’s most famous writers, Octavio Paz, is the only Mexican to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990?
Here are some more facts about Mexico’s most prolific author and poet:
- Paz published his first collection of poems when he was just 17 years old.
- Paz’s masterpiece Piedra de Sol – (“Sunstone”) along, surrealist poem. The poem’s structure is based on the Aztec calendar and it addresses themes such as romance, eroticism, and death.
- Paz’s most recognized work is his 1950 book of essays “The Labyrinth of Solitude.”
- Unfortunately, Paz died of cancer on April 19, 1998. You can read more of his work to get a taste of his style.
Musical Facts about Mexico
Music is an essential part of Mexican culture and features a wide range of musical genres and performance styles.
Mexico’s music can be traced back thousands of years to the days of the Aztec and Mayans who performed ritualistic music during ceremonies and other events.
Mexico’s music is largely influenced by its diverse history as well as the indigenous native peoples of Mesoamerica, European settlers, and African slaves.
Mexican music typically sings of love, country, passion, history, legend, and oppression.
Two dynamic musical genres in Mexican culture everyone should know about are:
- Mariachi – originally taking form during the mid-19th Century during the French invasion of Mexico. Mariachi musical instruments usually include a Violin, Vihuela, Guitar, Guitarron, Trumpet, and Harp.
- Ranchera – also originating from the mid-19th Century Ranchera music sings of love, patriotism, nature and honor.
Originating on ranches in rural parts of Mexico, Rancheras are varied and can reflect the tempo of a waltz, polka or a bolero.
Facts about Mexico’s Dance Culture
Los Voladores de Papantla, which is considered by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage is one of Mexico’s most unique ceremonies.
Different to many other Latin dances, it consists of five participants, four of whom launch themselves off a 30-meter high pole while the fifth person remains on top, dancing and playing a flute and drums.
According to one myth, the ritual was created to ask the gods to end a severe drought. Los Voladores de Papantla has its origins near the Puebla-Veracruz border.
Clothing Facts about Mexico
The most recognized piece of traditional Mexican clothing is the Sombrero, sarape, charro suit, guayabero, baja jacket, and poncho.
The most recognizable pieces of traditional women’s clothing are the huipil, quechquemitl, and rebozo.
Mexican clothing has its origins in native and European elements. Before the colonization of the Spanish in the early 1500s, traditional Mexican clothing was primarily made from cotton, agave, and bark.
After the arrival of European settlers, the native Mexican people started incorporating silk and wool.
The culture of Mexico is a reflection of its complex and extensive history dating back over 3,000 years with evidence that it was first populated some 13,000 years ago.
Interesting Facts About Mexico
Through the gradual blending of native Mesoamerican, Spanish, and other immigrant cultures Mexico today enjoys a vast array of cultural traditions.
Much of Mexican culture revolves around religious values and the church, as well as the concept of family and inclusiveness.
So, we’ve finally come to the end of this piece on cultural facts about Mexico.
I hope you learned something and maybe you’re even inspired to visit Mexico in the near future.
📌 Like this article? Pin it…
💬 Leave a nice comment or let’s start a conversation below!
“Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”