Mexico Cultural ReportMexico is one of the most recognizable countries around the world! It has a variety of holidays and historical moments in its history. It is also a beautiful place full of various landmarks such as the Coba and Tulum. Mexico is a wonderful place to travel to for people of all ages. It also has a very nice, stable weather climate making it applicable for any time of the year. Maybe you could be interested in visiting or even moving to Mexico someday. Geographic Location And FeaturesMexico has a population of 127.5 million people and is located on the continent of North America (NationsOnline, 2017). Mexico is bordered by a large variety of countries, such as the United States which is separated from Mexico in the northern area of the country by a 3,169km long border (NationsOnline, 2017). It is also bordered by Guatemala and Belize. It also shares borders with Cuba and Honduras (NationsOnline, 2017). Mexico also has some of the most famous geographic features or landforms. Mexico’s landscape is bombarded with rainforests, deserts and seashores. Most of Mexico is sparsely coated with high plateaus and rugged mountains. Mexico is also covered with lots of natural points or places of interest. Mexico’s central plateau also known as the “altiplano” contains Mexico’s longest river, The Rio Grande, which runs 1,300 miles along the U.S. border (Gwen, 2017). To the south of the altiplano is the neo-volcanic Cordillera, which is home to most of Mexico’s volcanoes. The country’s highest peak is at an inactive volcano called Orizaba which reaches 18,700 feet (Gwen, 2017). The southern highlands of the altiplano contain Mexico’s largest known lake, Lake Chapala, which covers 417 square miles (Gwen, 2017). Mexico also has a desert landscape in its isolated northwest region, consisting of the Baja California and the Sinaloa and Sonora states which is dry and has almost no living creatures within its radius (Gwen, 2017). It also has a tropical climate or area between the Gulf of Mexico and the Sierra Madre mountains which is home to many plants and animals. Mexico’s southern region features the Sierra Madre del Sur, the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca and the Sierra de Soconusco mountain ranges which are covered with dry and tropical rainforests (Gwen, 2017). In the easternmost location of Mexico is the Yucatan Peninsula, which is covered with a rainforest containing a limestone shelf. The limestone forms a sinkhole created by the numerous caverns and underground rivers collapsing. Man made Landmarks and Tourist Attractions Mexico has some of the most famous man made landmarks in the world. For example, The Chapultepec Castle is a castle which was built upon a hill in Mexico City. Chapultepec is Nahuatl and can be translated to “at the grasshopper hill” (Bernstein, 2017). The castle was built upon the mandate of Bernardo de Galvez, a mexican viceroy, who wanted a country house built on the highest point of the Chapultepec hill (Bernstein, 2017). Mexico is also home to the Bonampak Murals. They are located in the Temple of Murals in the state of Chiapas (Touropia, 2017). They are a collection of ancient murals which depict the life of the Mayans. The Mayans painted over hundreds of paintings in three separate rooms. They tell narratives in three main colors: turquoise, red and yellow (Touropia, 2017). Mexico is also home to the city of Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan cities in Mexico. The most famous structure in Chichen Itza is the temple pyramid, El Castillo. The pyramid is made up of 91 steps on each of its faces adding up to 365 steps, which is the number of days in a year (Touropia, 2017). In the ancient city of Teotihuacan in Mexico, lies the Pyramid of the Sun which is not only the largest pyramid in Mexico, but one of the largest pyramid in the world (Touropia, 2017). Mexico also has many locations where tourists can stay. In the Oaxacan region of Mexico lies Zipolite. Zipolite beach is about one mile long and has an authentic Mexican vibe despite all the tourists habiting the sandy location. It has lots of palm trees and pristine colored waters. It is an enjoyable place where people come to relax and enjoy their time with family and friends. It contains a street known as Av Roca Blanca, which is a street right off the beach with bars, cafes, and shops (Touropia, 2017). Another awe striking place where tourists can stay is the city of Taxco. It is home to El Templo de Santa Prisca or the Santa Prisca temple. It was built in the 18th century by a rich Spanish mine owner and is made from pink stone, tiles and has twin towers on either side (Touropia, 2017). Inside the temple are six altarpieces which are completely covered in genuine gold (Touropia, 2017). The city of Guanajuato is also a popular tourist destination. The city was founded in 1554 and is located in the middle of the mountains in the Sierra de Guanajuato (Touropia, 2017). The city is located next to one of the richest mining areas in Mexico. Due to this, in the 16th century mining boom, it was able to lead the construction of beautiful colonial buildings and haciendas (Touropia, 2017). There is a variety of different colored buildings and most of its traffic is located underground in tunnels making it excellent for pedestrians to walk and explore. Lastly, the city of Tulum in Mexico is a large beach full of ancient Mayan ruins, which served as an important walled city for the Mayans in pre-Columbian times (Touropia, 2017). It contains beautiful beaches next to the Caribbean Sea. There are many places to stay in Tulum which are eco friendly places bordered by jungles. These places include: The Hotel of Azulik, Ayala Tulum, Villa Pescadores Tulum, and Encantada Tulum (Touropia, 2017).Mexican Holidays Mexico’s main holidays include El Grito de Independencia (Mexican Independence Day), Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Santos Reyes, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) (MexOnline, 2017). Mexican Independence day is celebrated on September 16th to celebrate the “cry of independence” after Mexico defeated the Spaniards in 1810 and called the end of 300 years of Spanish rule in Mexico (MexOnline, 2017). Every year one day before Independence Day, the president of Mexico re-enacts the cry of independence on the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City and rings the same bell that was rung in 1810 (MexOnline, 2017). Dia de los Santos Reyes is celebrated on January 6th in remembrance of the biblical story where 3 kings visited Jesus shortly after he was born (MexOnline, 2017). Dia de los Santos Reyes is celebrated by bringing toys to underprivileged children in Mexico. Children will also write letters to the three kings asking for a toy or gift and is released in the air with a helium balloon (Tripsavvy, 2017). On Dia de los Santos Reyes, it is common for family and friends to gather to drink hot chocolate or atole and eat a sort of sweet bread, shaped like a wreath with candied fruit on top, and a figurine of baby Jesus is baked inside (donQuijote, 2017). The person who finds the figurine is supposed to host a party on Candlemas (February 2nd) and serve tamales (donQuijote, 2017). Lastly, Semana Santa is celebrated on the Sunday before Easter, known as Palm Sunday and is celebrated for 2 week after Easter Sunday (MexOnline, 2017). Students and some workers will have these 2 weeks off. Semana Santa is one of the most important holidays, if not the most important holiday in Mexico. People will gather for gatherings, processions and performances celebrating the story of Jesus Christ. Especially his life and resurrection.Mexican LifestyleLiving in Mexico as a 13 year old can be very exciting and joyous. School in Mexico usually starts in September and ends in June (FactMonster, 2017). Schools usually hold two shifts where one group of children will attend in the morning and another in the afternoon (FactMonster, 2017). Children are usually required to wear uniforms and attend every single day. Mexican children are known to play jump rope and other outdoor activities. They will also play a game called Loteria, which is similar to Bingo and is played with image cards and pinto beans (FactMonster, 2017). One of the most popular sports in Mexico is Football or Soccer. Other sports include baseball and jai ali, a handball game originating from Spain (FactMonster, 2017). Many homes in Mexico consist of the entire family living in one large home. This includes aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, children and other family members. In Mexico children have two last names, their father and mothers surname. Mexicans typically eat about four or more times a day. The first meal that is eaten is known as desayuno. Mexicans will usually have a light breakfast first thing in the morning, where they will drink coffee, hot chocolate or atole (a hot drink made with corn masa, rice and oats) and Mexican sweet bread known as pan dulce (IxtapaCantina, 2017). The most common types of pan dulce are known as Conchas (shells), which are a type of sweet roll topped with a cookie crust, Empanadas (turnovers), which are filled with fruits or meat, and Besos (kisses) which are two small domed shaped breads filled with jam, usually strawberry or guayaba, and covered in shredded coconut (DeAlbaBakery, 2017). The second meal they will have is known as almuerzo, which is a heavier type of meal similar to brunch. Mexicans will usually have an egg, meat or fried tortilla dish such as chilaquiles, fried tortillas covered in a sweet or spicy sauce and topped with eggs or enchiladas, a dish consisting of fried tortillas topped with a sweet and spicy sauce and filled with meat (IxtapaCantina, 2017). Their Third meal is known as the comida or lunch. For comida Mexicans will have several dishes including: soup or salad, a main dish, and dessert often accompanied with fruit flavored water, tortillas and salsa (IxtapaCantina, 2017). The main dish can be a dish called Mole, a sauce made of peppers, spices, cinnamon, and chocolate or tamales, corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese or a sweet filling, then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed in water (IxtapaCantina, 2017). The last meal known as la cena can be a hot drink with bread, a meal at a restaurant, or authentic mexican tacos which are sold in a street stand or truck (IxtapaCantina, 2017). A staple recipe that is traditional from my mother’s side of the family, originates in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. This dish is known as a Tlayuda or a “mexican pizza”, which is made from a baked flour tortilla or multiple corn tortillas topped with a spicy black bean puree and is topped with various types of meat such as chicken, beef, and chorizo (mexican pork sausage). It is also topped with tomatoes, slaw, lettuce, avocados, and cheeses. It can be served open faced, like a pizza or folded in half (MexicoFoodandMore, 2017). Here is the recipe for an authentic Mexican Tlayuda:Ingredients:2 Cups black beans (homemade or canned), drained with liquid reserved1 Clove garlic, minced*1 Onion, finely chopped*Chile powder to tasteCumin to taste*Salt to taste*Freshly ground black pepper to taste*2 Large (12-inch or bigger) corn tortillas1 Cup shredded Oaxaca or Mozzarella cheese1 Cup meat of your choice, like chorizo or shredded chicken, cooked, optional1 Cup chopped lettuce2 Roma tomatoes, diced1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced1/2 Cup crumbly cheese of your choice, like queso fresco or farmer’s cheese, optionalSalsa to taste*Note: If you’ve prepared black beans from scratch and already added seasonings, these additional spices might no be necessary. If using plain canned beans, it’s best to add these ingredients.Directions:Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.If using canned beans, put them in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, chilli powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.Place the mixture (or your homemade beans) in a blender. Blend after adding just enough reserved liquid from the beans to achieve a chunky-style purée.Place one tortilla on a baking sheet or pizza stone and spread half of the beans on it. Add 1/2 cup of the Oaxaca cheese and 1/2 cup of the meat. Bake for 5 minutesRemove and sprinkle with 1/2 cup lettuce, half of the diced tomatoes, half of the sliced avocado, and 1/4 cup of the crumbly cheese. Bake another 3-5 minutes, until the toppings are hot and the tortilla is crispy around the edges.Repeat procedure with the other tortilla.Top them off with salsa to taste. Eat them open-face, fold them in half, or cut them into slices and serve. – Recipe from http://mexicofoodandmore.com (MexicoFoodandMore, 2017)Mexican Clothing Today, people in Mexico wear what you would expect to see people wearing in the USA and Canada such as T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, skirts, etc. However, you can still find people in isolated villages, wearing traditional Mexican clothing. Women in Mexico would wear dresses known as China Poblanas (donQuijote, 2017). This outfit is recognized worldwide as having a white shirt, shawl and open colorful dress at the bottom (donQuijote, 2017). Men consisting of mariachis and cowboys wore black suits covered in silver buttons and decoration, and sombreros which were a large hats with wide brims which protected men from the sun (donQuijote, 2017). Sombrero comes from the spanish word “sombra” which means shade or shadow. The only time when Mexicans will dress differently is during El Dia De Los Muertos, where people wear skull face paintings and a black hats. Men will wear dark clothing and women will wear colorful dresses or maxi-dress (Tortolero, 2017). In Mexico, Spanish is the most spoken language but more there are more than 60 native languages spoken by a very minimal percentage of the population. The most popular are Nahuatl which has 2.5 million speakers and Maya which has about 1.5 million speakers.