Life in Mexico is a mixture of old native customs with modern ways of life. Mexico, the second largest country in Latin America, has 31 states with an evolving economy. Mexico's customs grew from developed early cultures of Native Americans before the arrival of Spain in the 1500s. The evolution of those customs continues to play a part of Mexican life.
The way of life in Mexico is a mixture of indigenous customs and those from the Spanish colonial period. For example, while many Mexicans have held on to Native Indian customs, a majority of Mexicans are Roman Catholic and that influence has impacted the culture.
Spanish is the official language in Mexico, making it the largest Spanish-speaking community in the world. Visitors, though, will find significant differences from the way it is spoken in Mexico from Spain. Some Mexicans have maintained some form of native languages from Aztec and Mayan cultures while speaking Spanish as well. There are more than 30 different indigenous languages including Nahuatl, Zapotec, Otomi and Mixtec. Those languages are still spoken by one-third of the residents. The United States and American English has also made an impact on Mexican Spanish. Experts estimate that there are more than 50 dialects of Spanish spoken throughout the country.
Soccer is the Mexico’s most popular recreational sport, played by thousands of youth and adult recreational leagues. Baseball is also popular. The 16-team Mexican Baseball League is run during the summer and is equivalent to the Triple-A Minor League baseball, one step below the Major Leagues. In northern Mexico, rodeos and horseback rides are popular. Bullfighting also remains popular and Mexico City has the largest bullfighting arena in the world. Mexico remains a popular vacation site for Americans and others. Vacationers can find good spots for diving and snorkeling, fishing, golfing, hunting, kayaking and swimming. Top vacation spots include Acapulco, Baja California, Cancun, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana and Veracruz.
According to Kwintessential.co.uk, the family remains the center structure of social life in Mexico. Extended families often provide an additional sense of stability. The father or male member of the household is usually seen as the head of the family and the decision-maker. Many Mexican families are traditional and emphasize hierarchical relationships. Changes have occurred over the years, including women taking on jobs independent from the family and girls working on farms along with boys.
Because of the country’s high birth rate, about 30 percent of Mexico's population is 14 years old or younger. Through the 1900s, Mexicans moved to cities and became more urbanized. Today, about 75 percent of Mexicans live in larger cities. Mexico City, the country’s capital, is one of the largest cities in the world with an estimated 22 million people in the metropolitan area.
Food remains an important part of the Mexican culture. Corn continues to be a staple in Mexican cuisine. Tortilla, beans and peppers like jalapenos also can be found with many Mexican meals. Meals are seen as a way to socialize. Tequila is also a popular drink.