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Differences Between Mexican and American Culture

Mexican Culture vs American Culture

There are several important cultural differences when it comes to the United States of America and what is officially known as Estados Unidos Mexicanos (or the United States of Mexico). Despite the countries’ close proximity, and the significant number of Mexican Americans and immigrants currently living in the United States, Mexican culture is predominantly formed from Spanish and Indigenous cultures while American culture has largely developed from a mixture of influences from various European, African, Native American and Asian cultures. These cultures have had an impact on the nation’s attitudes, values, cuisine, clothing styles, technology, language, and architecture, whether indigenous to the Americas or having migrated over via immigrants over the course of the America’s history.

The United States, too, has had an effect on Mexican culture, including on its political culture except for a significant difference in how voters organize and government decision-making is carried out. While Mexico modeled its official name after the United States of America and has a similar political structure, having chosen to create a bicameral congress and a democratic republic composed of a three branch government: judicial, legislative, and executive, Mexico hosts a multi-party system, whereas America operates a two-party system. Two left-of-center parties: the socialist Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRP) and Party of the Democratic Revolution and a right-of-center National Action Party (PAN) make up Mexico’s three major political parties, while the left-of-center Democratic Party and the right-of-center Republican Party compose America’s two major political parties. This is an important difference as political activity, voter turnout and loyalty, and manner of governance are all impacted by the number of major parties in a political system.

Mexican culture also differs from American culture when it comes to language. Spanish is the national language of Mexico, brought by the Conquistadors during Mexico’s colonization, and while the United States does not have an official national language, English is spoken by 96% of the population, most business is conducted in English, and to become a U.S. citizen, applicants are required to proficiently write, speak, and read English. Spanish, a member of the Romance language family, shares some words with English, a Germanic language, on account of the impact of Old French on the English lexicon. Despite this, English and Spanish are very different languages with contrasting grammatical, phonological, and writing systems. Language shapes the way we think and culture determines the way in which thoughts are expressed, as such, Spanish and English differ significantly in the way many basic concepts are conveyed.

The United States is a secular nation, though the majority of those who adhere to a religion consider themselves Christian. In America, though religious traditions are respected and are recognized in some institutional customs such as being sworn under oath with a bible, prayers being held on the floor of the House of Representatives, and religious holiday observance, there is a separation of church and state that is an integral part of American culture.  The percentages of people who adhere to non-Christian religions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism and those who consider themselves agnostic or atheist are much higher in America. Over 80 percent of Mexicans consider themselves Roman Catholic, while only a quarter of Americans identify with this faith, despite it being the largest individual denomination in the United States. Thus, religious diversity, even within the Christian-faith, is significantly greater in America. Due to the uniformity of faith in Mexico, Roman Catholicism plays a greater role in the country’s social customs and traditions.

Mexican cuisine is a combination of the food preferences and traditions of the indigenous people of Mexico such as Maya and Aztecs, the goods which are locally available, and important dishes, flavors and foods that were brought to the country by the Spanish. American cuisine; however, includes the many tastes, customs, dishes, spices, and foods that were brought to the United States by immigrants over the last few centuries and that which are native to the land and indigenous people of America.

  • The political culture of America contrasts with Mexico on account of America having a two-party system and Mexico having a multi-party system with three major political parties.
  • Mexico’s major language is Spanish, a Romance language and the major language of America is English, a Germanic language.
  • Mexican culture is a combination of Spanish culture and that of the indigenous people of Mexico, whereas American culture combines many more cultures due to significant immigration from every major continent.
  • There is greater religious diversity in America leading to secularism being dominant in America.  Roman Catholicism is dominant in Mexico, resulting in the Catholic Church possessing considerable influence in Mexico.
  • The cuisine of Mexico is based on the food customs and preferences of the Spanish and Indigenous people of Mexico, while American cuisine has elements of the many different food traditions which have found their way to America via immigrants over the last centuries.
 Image Credit : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calenda_primer_lunes_2005.JPG

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