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Mexico: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

Cultural Sensitivity, Facts and Stats, Mexico, Travel Health & Safety Add comments

MEXICO: FACTS & STATS

Mexico Flag
Photo by
Esparta

Location: North America; bordered by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico on the East, Belize and Guatemala on the South, the North Pacific Ocean on the West and the U.S. on the North. 

Capital: Mexico City

Climate: Cold and dry in the North and hot and humid with rainfall in the South.

Mexican RancherPopulation: 108,700,891 according to July 2007 estimate.

Economy: The Mexican economy benefited from trade with the U.S. and Canada since the implementation of NAFTA. The economy is both agriculture and industry based, but modernization is yet to take off. Disparity in income distribution finds about 14% of the population below poverty line. The unemployment rate hovers around 4%. 

Ethnic Make-up: Mestizo 60%, Amerindian 30%, White 9%, Others 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 76%, Protestant 6%, Unspecified 18%. There is freedom of religion and evangelism is widespread. 

Mexican little girlLanguage: Spanish, Mayan, Nahuatl and others

Government: Multi-party democracy

Travel Issues: Visitors to Mexico require a visa for entry. You need to submit a completed application form along with a valid passport, visa fees, and passport sized photos to the Mexican embassy in your country. 

Health & Safety: Immunization against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Polio, Tetanus, and Diphtheria are recommended. Yellow fever shots are mandatory for those travelling from or transiting through African countries and other South American countries.  

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Mexican Guitar Players
Photo by  shutter.chick

The People: The people are of mixed European and Native American descent. Family bonds are strong and extended families of several generations live together. Mexicans are generally warm, friendly people and quite laid back in their way of life. 

Folklorico DancerThe Religion: Roman Catholicism is the major religion of Mexico. A large number of colourful religious festivals are celebrated with a great deal of pomp and show, with long processions and parades. 

Role of Family: Family values are handed down through generations. Traditionally women looked after the home and children, while men were engaged in farming. It is a way of life for extended families to gather around a large table for lunch and catch up with the latest gossip late into the afternoon. Now many young families migrate in search of a better life, usually to the U.S. 

Ancestors: Mexicans celebrate November 1st as the day of the dead in honour of their ancestors. There is no sorrowful mourning, but rather a celebration where streets and buildings are decorated with flowers. They pray for the souls of the dead and pay respects to their memory by decorating graves and lighting candles. 

Puebla at nightRecreational Activities: Bullfighting is a passion in Mexico. Rodeo events such as charreadas draw huge crowds who participate with exuberance. Soccer (Football) is also a national pastime and is popular with all ages. 

Anything else important for this culture: Mexicans tend to stand close when they talk. If it makes you uncomfortable, take care that you step away discreetly and not precipitately, as this may seem insulting.  

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Mexican Folklorico
Photo by  dave_apple

Meetings & Greetings: A firm handshake is an acknowledged form of greeting for both men and women. Casual conversation sets the tone for further serious discussions. Do not use first names unless invited to do so. Women are greeted with a kiss on the cheek, but do so only if the lady leans her cheek forward for you to do so. Some form of physical contact is inevitable in greeting, as a mere Hello would be interpreted as cold and impersonal. 

Courtesy: Common courtesy includes Please and Thank you at appropriate times. Social meetings are never inflexibly rigid, but tend to be rather casual. The use of titles is very important. Those with a professional title are addressed as such. You can take your cue from the introduction. 

Mexican Candy StandGift Giving: Gifts are tokens of appreciation and should be given when visiting for the first time. A box of chocolate will take care of most situations. Women can be presented flowers or perfumes. It is usual to present a gift to people who have done you a favor. If giving a gift to the opposite gender, indicate your spouse or partner’s role in it. 

Dress Code: Business suits are worn by men for most formal meetings. Extreme hot weather may find them in shirt sleeves and loosened ties. Women wear suits with either skirts or pants. 

Dining Etiquette: There isn’t any particular etiquette to be followed, but good table manners are always appreciated. If you invite someone out, you are expected to pay the bill. Splitting the bill is unheard of. It is the responsibility of the host to order the food after ascertaining the likes and dislikes of the guest. It is customary to linger at the table after the meal, and not leave immediately. 

Colorfule Adobe Mission
Photo by RussBowling

Visiting a home: When visiting a home you could carry a token gift with you. Flowers and chocolate or a bottle of good wine are perfect for any occasion. Exchanging pleasantries will take care of the initial breaking of ice, which may then slip into comfortable camaraderie. 

Children in MexicoCommunication Style: There really is no hard and fast style that can be termed uniquely Mexican. But be prepared for a flamboyant expansiveness and some amount of gesticulations that are considered normal. Resting your hands on your hips when talking is considered aggressive, while having them in your pockets is regarded as rude.

Dos and Don’ts: Petty crime and gang fights are quite common on the streets in certain areas, and it would do you well to be aware of such situations. Do not carry large sums of money on you. Credit card fraud is widespread and so it may be a good idea to pay cash at small outlets and shops. When drawing money from ATMs take care that you’re in a well-lit crowded place.

Rancher photo by wonderlane
Little girl photo by kretyen
Folklorico dancer photo by kretyen
Puebla photo by RussBowling
Candy stand photo by 
sean_mcgee
Kids photo by Jesse Michael Nix

No Responses to “Mexico: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information”

  1. Jordi Says:

    …except mexico is in NORTH America.

  2. admin Says:

    Good catch! I just fixed it:)

    Thanks!

    Cara

  3. Ryan Maness Says:

    All you nee to get in the country now is a birth certificate and a legal I.D. to get up to a 6 month visa. After June you WILL need a passport.

  4. Myra Says:

    Hello. Just an fyi: “Dia de Los Muertos” (Day of the Dead) is actually celebrated on Nov. 2nd; whereas “All Saints Day” is on Nov. 1st.

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