5 Things Americans Don’t Know About Latin Culture
Latin American culture can often be cultures that are misunderstood by Americans. There are so many groups and traditions within Latin American culture that are often so complex or the result of many traditions. Latin America is a large region that extends from Mexico in the north to Argentina in the south. It is definitely full of variety and a wide array of foods. Until the 19th century, most Latin American countries were colonies of Spain and Portugal. The European influence was important and contributed to language and religion amongst other things. Here are a couple of fun facts and cultural aspects of the Latin American heritage you may not have known before.
Hospitality Is Big
Latin American hospitality is unlike anything else. The culture in general is very romantic and welcoming. In fact, you may have heard the phrase, "mi casa es su casa" a time or two before. Meaning, "My house is your house". If you are welcomed into the home of someone with Spanish descent don't be caught off guard if you are greeted with a kiss on both cheeks. Although Americans might find this a little invasive or unsanitary, Latin Americans welcome the warmth and love. This focus on having people into your home goes into design and decor too. Open living rooms with a lot of seating, large dining tables, and even spacious outdoor kitchens with bells and whistles like outdoor stainless steel cabinets are common. Latinos are lovers of warm climates and time outside so expect to sit around the pool or a fire under the stars if you're headed to a family party.
Whether Mexican or Columbian, if you are in the presence of someone of this ethnicity expect a warm welcome and not go a minute longer with an empty cup. The culture also promotes a gentleman-like manner, where men wouldn't dare ask a girl out without a treat to dinner first. Overall, if you travel to a Latin American destination, understand that no one will be cold or standoffish to you and instead will greet you with joy.
The main religion amongst Latin American families is catholicism. Rooted back to the Spanish conquerors combined with native Americans and African beliefs. Religion is an important part of life, and individuals often pray and light candles in honor of specific figures. One popular figure is madre teresa, who is honored as a saint. Another aspect of religion is woven into honorable days such as dia de los muertos, a day to honor the dead, or Dia De Los Reyes- used to celebrate the arrival of the three wisemen in Bethlehem after Jesus was born. Overall, religion and honorary traditions hold a high importance in Latin American countries everywhere.
Machismo Is Still Prevalent
Although new generations are redefining what gender identities and norms are, machismo is still prevalent in latin american cultures. Machismo means strong or aggressive masculine pride. In many regions, the men are still thought to remain the head of the household with the women in charge of the children or more minute tasks. Men are taught to be cold, strong, and tough. This still remains a huge factor in the workplace or family life. Unlearning this behavior is important for men of this descent, however, it can't happen overnight, unfortunately.
Each Country Has Its Signature Food
Everyone is well aware of Mexican food, especially if you live in Southern California. Mexican food is known for its quesadillas, tacos, and addition of peppers and spice to many dishes. In Spain, Paella is most famous for being a rice dish often combined with chicken, vegetables, shrimp, and saffron. Ceviche is a famous Peruvian food made from raw fish cured in a mix of lemon, onion, and spices. Argentina and Chile are known for their empanadas, hot flour-based patties that are filled with meat, cheese, or beans. Brazil is known for its variety of meats such as sausages. We could go on, but it's pretty interesting to understand how each region has such diversified food and traditions around it. Latin America doesn't have an industrialized income of healthy food and natural vitamins like the US -hence the importance of supplementation there. Queue some hair skin nails vitamins, if you ever decide to travel to a Latin American country.
Latin American Is Known For Its Evolving Dance Styles
The romance and latin flare really comes through on the dance floor. Some of its dance and music is considered to emphasize sexuality. Salsa was embraced in the early and mid 1900s and has since retained its significance both in and out of the Americas. The mariachi bands of Mexico quickly stirred up quick movement and playful rhythms. Mamba, cha-cha-cha, and most popular tango are all derived from Latin American countries. A social-centered dance floor is sure to take you away until the break of dawn.
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