Culture Mexico

  • Mexico
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  • Mexico
    © Sorin Colac / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Mexico

Mexico: life and culture

Available guides

Mexico: Lonely Planet Guide.

Films

'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre','The Night of the Iguana','Under the Volcano': by John Huston.
'Viva Zapata': by Elia Kazan.
'Que Viva Mexico!': by S.M. Eisenstein.
'The Wild Bunch': by Sam Peckinpah.
'Once upon a Time', 'The Revolution': by Sergio Leone.
'Frida Kahlo' by Ana Vivas; an original portrait of the artist written with the help of her diary and paintings, as well as of Mexican society in the 1920's.

Music

The works of female composer Consuelito Velazquez ('Besame mucho').
Javier Solis (mariachis).
José Alfredo Jimenez (mariachis).
Luis Miguel (pop).
Mana (pop).

Mexico: discover the country's history

historyDates

30,000 years BC: human presence on Mexican land.
5,000 years BC: first corn and bean cultivation.
2,500 / 1,500 BC: the appearance of pottery and the end of the archaic period.
1,500 / 600 BC: the Olmec civilisation was the first great Meso-American civilisation.
2nd-8th century: Teotihuacan civilisation.
3rd-10th century: Maya civilisation in the south of Mexico and Guatemala.
15th century: Aztec empire domination.
1519: Cortez touches ground in Veracuz. Beginning of Spanish conquest.
1521: Tenochtitlan is seized, end of the Aztec empire.
1810: beginning of the war for independence.
1821: proclamation of independence by Agustin de Iturbide.
1833-1855: dictatorship of General Santa Anna. Loss of Texas, California and Arizona.
1864: conquest of Mexico by Napoleon III. Reign of archduke Maximilien de Habsbourg, before he was executed in 1867.
1872-1911: dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, beginning of industrialization.
1911-1923: Mexican revolution: 1 million people die.
1919: Assassination of Emiliano Zapata.
1923: assassination of Pancho Villa.
1926-1934: dictatorship of General Plutarco Elias Calles.
1926-1929: the 'cristeros' rebellion: the civil war between seculars and fanatic Christians ends with tens of thousands of people dead.
1934: Lazaro Cardenas is elected president. The country regains stability.
1968: Olympic Games in Mexico City. Students' demonstrations, massacre of Three-Culture square.
1981-1987: oil crisis, economic recession.
1985: earthquake in Mexico, 20,000 dead.
1994: Zapatista Indian uprising. Ernesto Zedillo is elected president.
2000: presidential elections. After more than 70 years of unshared power, the IRP, Institutional Revolutionary Party, is beaten by the opposition candidate of the PAN (centre-right wing), Vincent Fox.
2006: victory of conservative Felipe Calderon for president.

Mexico: celebrations and events

Bank holidays and national celebrations

Mexico is a pious country and eminently festive. The religious calendar is laden with popular festivals and highly colourful processions.
1st January:
New Year's Day.
6th January:
Dias de los Reyes (Twelfth night).
2nd February:
Constitution Day.
February/March:
Carnivals of Vera Cruz and Merida.
April:
Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, the most important celebration in Mexico.
1st May:
Labour Day.
May:
Cancun jazz festival (variable dates).
3rd May:
Dia de la Santa Cruz (day of the Holy Cross).
5th May:
Cinco de Mayo. Anniversary of the victory of Puebla over the French.
24th June:
St John the Baptist celebrations.
1st September:
Informe Presidencial (the president's annual speech to Congress). Bank holiday.
15-16th September:
Independence Days.
1st-2nd November:
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead/All Saints).
20th November:
Revolution Day.
12th December:
Celebrations for the Virgin of Guadelupe, patron saint of Mexico.
16-24th December:
Posadas, commemorations of the journey to Bethlehem.
25th December:
Navidad (Christmas Day).
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