Mexico by Boye Lafayette Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1447 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

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[. . .] In Mexico, most business hours revolve around the afternoon siesta. Some open in the morning, close in the afternoon, and reopen in the evening. Others are only open for six hours or less during the day. The country caters to this custom, and the people keep it alive.

Culturally, it is hard to imagine Americans living this more relaxed kind of lifestyle that allows for rest and relaxation every day. Perhaps that is why Americans are so stressed and pressed for time. The siesta shows the basic difference between Latin culture and American culture. Americans are "too busy" to take time to rest, relax, and recharge, while Mexicans find it an imperative part of their day. Their more relaxed lifestyle seems preferable to one that pushes people harder than some can cope with, and expects so much out of so many. Perhaps if we had more siestas in our own culture, we would be a happier and less stressed nation.

The fourth word is "familia," with is the Mexican word for family, and this is another area where Mexican culture and American culture are drastically different. In Mexico, the family unit is the most important unit of society. Families are very close, and often large. In Mexico, the family is seen as a group, and decisions are often based on the best for the group, rather than the individual. Each family member has a more specific role in the family, too. The mother, the father, the daughter, and the son all have very specific roles for providing and living within the family unit. It may seem more regimented than American family life, but many Mexican families seem happier and much closer to each other and to their extended family. The father is the dominant figure, and everyone knows that. In a word, Mexican families are less democratic and more autocratic, but it seems to work for them.

Of course, here in America things are radically different. Families often live thousands of miles from each other, and only see each other once or twice a year. Here, individuality is prized above all else, and people are urged to be independent and have lives of "their own." This simply is not understandable in Mexican culture, and it shows that as our lives have modernized, we have lost much of the family feeling and familiarity that was once so important in our lives. Now, we are so busy taking care of us, that we have little time to take care of the larger family unit. That is not always the case, as more college graduates move home with their parents and more parents cope with taking care of their aging moms and dads, but our culture does not put as much emphasis on day-to-day close family contact, and the family group rather than each individual in the family. Thus, our families are more autonomous than Mexican families, and that is not always good for the culture and the overall society.

The final word is "las posadas," which is the Christmas season in Mexico. Las Posadas is actually a nine-day religious event in Mexico during the holiday season. It literally recreates the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem before baby Jesus was born. Families and neighbors come together to celebrate nine nights of posada parties in each other's homes, and each group has very specific duties during the processions and parties on each night. It is a very important part of the holiday season in Mexico and it requires quite a bit of planning and execution to pull it off each year. Las Posadas is not purely religious, there is plenty of partying too, and in bigger cities it has become less religious and more celebratory.

With our busy lifestyles, especially during the holidays, it seems that an elaborate and ongoing celebration such as Las Posadas would be nearly impossible here in America. Americans are just too busy to devote nine nights to religious celebration, and religion is not that important to most Americans, which also points out a vast difference between our two cultures. Actually, this celebration seems more in tune with the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, so Mexicans and Jewish people may have more in common than they think.

References

De Mente, Boye Lafayette. (1998). There's a Word for It in Mexico.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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