Jill, Owais, Clare B, Emilie B

Clare and Emilie's Lesson Plan:

Welcome to Central American and Mexican Culture!!!

On this page, we will teach only the most important information that you need to know in the long run about Central American and Mexican culture. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading through this page, you will be able to answer the following questions:

Essential Questions:

How has Mexican culture changed over the years, in regard to customs and traditions?

How does the daily life of Mexico/Central America compare to ours?

Why are family bonds so tight in Mexico?

How does food vary across Central America?

What is the most practiced religion in Central America and Mexico and how does the Mexican church affect its society?


Here is a Venn Diagram we filled out in class comparing and contrasting Central America and Mexican culture with US culture:

Below, you can find a powerpoint overviewing all of Mexican and Central American culture. Enjoy!


Influences of Mexico and Central America:




(pictures from google images)


Government:

- Mexico-federal republic
- Costa Rica-democratic republic
- El Salvador-republic
- Guatemala-democratic constitutional republic
- Honduras-democratic constitutional republic
- Nicaragua-republic
- Panama-constitutional democracy
- Costa Rica’s stable government makes it the most popular tourist destination in Central America.

Ethnic Groups:

- Mexico: 60% mestizo, 30% Amerindian, 9% white, 1% other
- Guatemala: 59.4% mestizo/ladino and European, 40.5% various indigenous groups, .1% other
- El Salvador: 90% mestizo, 9% white, 1% Amerindian
- Honduras: 90% mestizo, 7% Amerindian, 2% black, 1% white
- Nicaragua: 69% mestizo, 17% white, 9% black, 5% Amerindian
- Costa Rica: 94% white, 3% black, 1% Amerindian, 1% white, 1% other
- Panama: 70% mestizo, 14% mixed Amerindian, 10% white, 6% Amerindian
mestizo.jpg amerindian.jpg
Above: A mestizo girl (picture from google images) and an Amerindian girl (picture from //www.photoguyana.com//)

Economy:

- Tourism is a very big industry.
- Many countries used to be mainly agricultural, but are becoming more industrialized.
- Common exports include food, clothing/textiles, some oil, and electroinics.
- Coffee is a major industry.
- Most exports are sold to the US or to other Central American countries.
- Poverty is mostly in rural areas.
-CACM is the Central american Common Market. Because of recent wars, and widespread poverty, it has suffered setbacks.
- Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

coffeebeans.jpg

Coffee is a major part of Central America's Economy (picture from Google Images)

Food:

Staple Foods:
-vegetables: beans, corn, chiles, tomatoes
-tortillas
-rice
-beef, chicken, fish are eaten across Central Amrica: but in some countries, class determines the how often it is eaten
-a variety of tropical fruits
-coffee is very popular in most countries
tortillas-1.jpg
above: tortillas (from google images)
Mexico: The very versatile tortilla, which is a thin cornmeal pancake is used in a wide variety of dishes.Some common dishes are tortas (hollow rolls stuffed with meat, cheese, or beans), tamales (masa dough, made of corn, wrapped in a corn husk), quesadillas (tortillas baked with fried cheese), tacos (folded tortilla with meat and vegetables inside), salsa (a dipping sauce made of green or red chiles and green or red tomatoes, and salt, water, and cilantro), mole (a chile chocolate sauce that can be poured over chicken), posol (a soup-like dish with hominy and pork, white cabbage, salsa, or lemon), and menuda (similar to posole, but with cow stomach instead of hominy and pork)

SALSA-1.JPG


above: salsa (from goolgle images)
Guatemala: They have a dish similar to Mexico's tamales, called tamalitos. Fried platanos (bananas) are eaten with honey, cream, or black beans. Meat is usually stewed, and sauces are an important part of the meal. Fruits such as papaya and breadfruit are popular. Coffee is served with lots of cream and sugar.
Belize: The staple meal of Belize is white rice and kidney beans, mixed with stewed chicken, beef, or fish. Corn is represented in some form at every meal, whether it is in a soup, or corn tortillas. Popular foods include tamales, panades (fried corn shells with beans or fish), meat pies, escabeche (onion soup), chirmole (soup), and garnaches (fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce). Fruits, such as bananas, oranges, mangoes, papayas, and limes, and many vegetables are very important.
tamales-1.jpg
above: tamales (from google images)
El Salvador: The food here also has much less spice than other Central American countries. Most people eat frijoles (red beans), cooked in different ways, thicker corn tortillas, rice, eggs, and fruit. One of the most important dishes is pupusas (tortillas stuffed with meat, beans, and cheese). Meat is mostly eaten by the wealthy, while poorer families eat their own livestock, and only every once in a while.
Honduras: The most common fruits and vegetables are bananas, pineapples, mangoes, citrus fruits, coconuts, melons, avacados, potatoes, and yams. Uniques dishes are tapado (beef stew with vegetables and coconut milk), mondongo (tripe and beef knuckles), nacatamales (pork tamales), and torrejas (similar to french toast, served at Christmas). Topogios or charamuscas (frozen fruit juice in plastic bags) are very popular in the summer months. Coffee is usually served with the main meal of the day. Soft drinks are popular, and North American fast food restaurants are prevalent in big cities.
Nicaragua: For poorer families, getting well balanced meals can be hard. For wealthier people, the main meal of the day consists of beans, rice, meat, salad, tortillas, and fruit juice. Corn is important, and oil is used frequently in cooking. A dish called gallo pinto (fried rice and beans) is eaten for breakfast and dinner in many families. Other common dishes are enchiladas, nacatamales (tamales in a banana leaf), mondongo, vigoron (vegetables with pork skin), baho (meat, vegatables, and plantains), tropical fruits, and fried platanos. Locally made cheese is also popular.
chile.jpg
above: chilie peppers (from google images)
Costa Rica: Rice and beans, such as gallo pinto (rice and black beans), are eaten at virtually every meal. A common lunch is casado (beans, salad or eggs, meat, and plantains). Some other delicacies are olla de carne (beef stew), tamales (made with meat, vegetables and cornmeal, wrapped in a plantain, and stewed) served at Easter and Christmas, lengua en salsa (beef tongue in sauce), mondongo, empanadas (turnovers), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), gallos (tortillas with meat and vegetable filling). Coffee is very popular; adults often take 2-3 coffee breaks per day.
Panama: It is said in Panama that if one hasn't had rice, then they haven't really eaten a meal, as rice is served with nearly every meal. Fish is common, sometimes in soups. For a snack, people will eat a peice of fruit. Here as well, coffee is served throughout the day. Chicha is another popular drink, made from water, sugar, and fresh fruit. In the interior of the country, common dishes are sancocho (chicken soup), guacho (rice soup), bollo (corn mush boiled in the husk), carne guisado (stewed beef with tomatoes and spices), arroz con pollo (but only on special occassions). In urban areas, there is a fusion of traditional dishes and international foods.

Other Food Facts:


All:
-The biggest meal of the day is the one eaten at midday.
-During meals, both hands (but not elbows) should be kept above or on the table.
-Food, if not eaten with utensils, is eaten with the hands, or using a tortilla as a scoop.
Mexico:
-Most meals are eaten as a family.
-Food bought at a street vendor is eaten at the stand.
Guatemala:
-Most people eat three meals a day, but poorer families may only eat one, and snack on tortillas the rest of the day. Dinner is usually light, and eaten after 7 p.m
-The entire extended family gathers for the main meal (midday) on weekends. Sometimes, women serve the meal and eat later.
-Many people eat sweetbread and coffee at 4 p.m.; schoolchildren are served hot cereal at 10 a.m.
-After the meal, everyone says muchas gracias (many thanks), to which all reply buen provencho (good appetite).
-One must always finish the food on their plate, but wait to be offered more (not ask for it themselves).
Belize:
-Meals are eaten as a family, but in some traditional families women may eat seperately or later.
-Conversation is limited, and mainly by adults.
-For some groups (such as the Kek'Chi Maya), the main meal is eaten in the evening, instead of midday.
El Salvador:
-Guests compliment the hosts food.
-The host will continue to offer more food until the guest declines; in a poorer families home, a guest isnot expected to accept more food.
-In rural families, the wife eats alone, after the guests.
-Men stand when a woman leaves the table.
Honduras:
-Fork is held in right hand, knife in left.
-Coffee breaks are taken in the late morning and mid-afternoon.
Nicaragua:
-The midday meal is followed by a siesta.
-Breakfast is eaten very early to allow the workday to start earlier.
-Rural families eat together most of the time, but urban families are usually only able to do this on holidays and weekends
Panama:
-Food is served in the following order: guests, men, children, women/cook.
Costa Rica:
-Mealtime is to be enjoyed, and is exteneded by conversation.

Power Point on Religion, Food, Family Life, and Education:




Family Life:


Family is extremely important and Mexican and Central American culture. Because many areas are poor, and times are hard, people feel a tight bond with their family, who act as their support system. Extended family (parents, children, grandparents; sometimes aunts, uncles, and cousins) often live in the same house in rural settings, but in a nuclear family in urban settings. Family helps each other by trying to find jobs for their family memebers. Godparents are also considered a part of the family, even if they aren't. Many families have emigrated from rural villages to the cities, in hopes of finding more money and a better education for their children. In Mexico, the divorce rate is very low, because of the dominant Catholic religion. The father is the head of the family, but the mother keeps the household going by cooking, cleaning, etc. Many children live at home until they marry, sometimes after they marry as well. Women rarely work, but if they do, they work as nurses, secretaries, teachers, or selling produce in markets.
mex_family.jpg
above: an example of an extended Mexican family (from google images)

Language:

Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Most people in Mexico speak Spanish, but the variety of Spanish they speak is slightly different than the dialect spoken in Spain. This variety is more similar to that of the surrounding Latin American countries. About 2% of Mexico’s population speaks Nahuatl, the native language of the traditional Aztecs. Guatemala and Honduras have a Spanish speaking majority (60%), but a lot of people also speak many dialects of Amerindian. English is the official language of Belize, but Spanish is also widely spoken. Nicaragua has the official language of Spanish but the people speak more enlgish on the atlantic coast. Most people in Costa Rica and Panama speak Spanish.
Below is a lesson in language. Open this file to learn some vocabulary from the languages of Central America and Mexico.



Art:

Mexico and the countries of Central America are widely known for there folk art traditions which come from a combination of traditional Aztec art and Spanish crafts. In the valley of Oaxaca in Mexico, beautiful handicrafts and clay pottery are prized. The village of Tonala is famous for its unique bird and animal figurines. All across Central America eye-catching garments made of cotton or wool, baskets with intricate designs and hand-woven rugs can be found. Outside influences had a big impact on what art was popular in Mexico and Central America. At first the arts were mainly tribal costumes and carved artwork from the Aztec reign. In the time between the Spanish conquest and the early 20th century, the fine arts showed a great similarity to those of Europe. After the Mexican Revolution though, the new Mexican artists embraced there culture, history, and well known folk themes. The famous painters of the time, including Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros reflected their political views by painting their huge murals displaying obvious social messages. A man named Manuel Alvarez Bravo learned about the art of photography in America, and thanks to him Mexican art now includes photography.

.
(pictures from google images)


Government:

  • Mexico-federal republic
  • Costa Rica-democratic republic
  • El Salvador-republic
  • Guatemala-democratic constitutional republic
  • Honduras-democratic constitutional republic
  • Nicaragua-republic
  • Panama-constitutional democracy
  • Independence day is the national holiday, varies by country
  • Costa Rica’s stable government makes it the most popular tourist destination in Central America.

Religion:

Mexicans have freedom of worship under their constitution so they can adopt whatever religion they please. Most Mexicans are Roman Catholic, 89 percent to be exact, while 6 percent are Protestant. Most do not attend church services regularly but many go on Sundays. The Catholic Church has greatly influenced the culture, attitudes, and history of all Mexicans and Catholic holidays are celebrated all over Mexico. The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico and a national symbol. According to legend, she appeared several times to an indigenous man named Juan Diego in December 1531. Other Christian churches are also active in Mexico; some are growing quite rapidly.
The Mexican constitution was drafted during the revolution in an attempt to transfer power from the Catholic Church to the people. It guaranteed freedom of worship but banned public displays of worship and forbade churches to own property or exist as legal entities. In 1992, the law was changed, endowing churches with more legal rights. Although many officials ignored the previous restrictions, the new law relieves tension between the state and various religions—without forcing the government to endorse a specific church.

external image aao.jpg
National Cathedral: This enormous church built by Spaniards is in the Zócalo (town square) in downtown Mexico City. Indigenous and European cultures are side-by-side in the square, with the massive church near the ruins of an indigenous holy site. (Mexico City, Mexico, 2000)
(picture from www.culturegrams.com)
external image aab.jpg
(picture from www.culturegrams.com)
Saint's Day Mass: Many towns have a patron saint, whom they honor once a year. These people gather for a call to prayer during Mass. (Las Adjuntas, Mexico, May 2000)

The Roman Catholic Church’s role on Mexican history goes way back to 1519 when Mexico was conquered by Hernan Cortes (the Spanish Conqueror of Spain). He was accompanied by Roman Catholic clergy. All new Spanish territories were to be conquered under the name of the cross. The Roman Catholic Church has always been present playing different roles, some of which sometimes have led to violent confrontations.

Customs and Traditions:

The customs and traditions of Mexico/Central America have a lot to do with religion and the importance of family. They celebrate holidays and festivals together as a family. Some of the holidays include El Dia de Los Muertos (the day of the dead) and Cinco de Mayo. El Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday celebrating the dead ancestors of the Mexicans. They leave out food for their ancestors, hold parades and dress up in costumes, which sometimes creates comparisons to our holiday of Halloween.
Juan_Torres-red_Catrina_daisy_dress_cu.jpg









Cinco de Mayo is the fifth of May. It is a holiday celebrating a battle between the Mexicans and the French at puebla. The Mexicans beat the French on the fifth of May, so it is a day to celebrate Mexican nationalism. At the celebrations, they have music and traditional dances like the salsa. The also reenact Aztec rituals, because they are descended from the Aztecs.
The most important holiday in rural villages is the day of their patron saint. Independence Day, which varies by country, is very important. Father's Day and Mother's Day are national holidays. Christmas and Easter, and their associated holidays, divide the year into two distinct seasons. Carnival is another huge holiday. It takes place before the beginning of Christian Lent (in February and March). It is lots of celebration and parades, with dancing, music, and costumes. Below are some pictures from Carnival:
carnival_2.jpgcarnival_4.jpgcarnival_3.jpgcarnival_1.jpg(pictures from google images)

Jill's Cinco de Mayo Photo Gallery:


photogallery1.png
Picture_1_copy.png
photogallery2.png

Education:

In Central America, primary education is 6 years of education between the ages of 6 and 12 after kindergarten. This is followed by secondary education which is 3 years of education between the ages of 12 and 15. Primary and Secondary education is compulsory and free. However, many pupils drop out after primary education before they even start secondary education because of household work and chores at home and because their help is needed on their family’s farms. Rural families also have difficulty in sending their children to secondary school because they cannot afford to pay for the transportation or uniform and supplies for their children. After completing secondary school, students can go to vocational schools or to a university. There are universities located in Central America.

external image aad.jpg
Schoolchildren
Schoolchildren, grades one through six, gather for a picture in the yard of their school, which has three rooms and three teachers for all grades. The children wear uniforms. (Santa Rosa, Mexico, June 2000 picture from google images)

In Mexico, education is also free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15, however, the attendance of the student is not enforced and some schools require the students to pay fees. Because of this, the rural and farming communities in Mexico have a hard time affording education. The city folk, however, do not have much problem and the overall literacy percentage in Mexico is 91 percent. In the past, it has been lower than this but because of newly built schools and universities, Mexico is becoming literate. After secondary education is completed, the students have two choices of where to go next. Preuniversity education ( 3 years) or technical education (2 to 3 years). Obtaining a university degree can take anywhere from 3 to 7 years. Enrollment in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has increased rapidly in the last decade

Daily Life:

In rural areas in Mexico people get up when the sun gets up. Everyone eats a big breakfast as a family, usually cooked by the matriarch of the family, the woman who runs the household. The men and women will then go out to the fields or their jobs along with the older male children. The older female children stay to work around the house and take care of their abuelito (grandfather) and abuelita (grandmother). The younger children go to school.
In Central America, daily life revolves very much around upholding family bonds, everybody works together everyday for the common good of the family.

"Everyone was more than willing to share their ride with me, an American woman standing alone by the side of the road.
I had to wonder if the tables were turned and the same situation would have taken place at home here in my country...with a Latino standing alone by the side of the road. How many of us would willingly share our ride with him/her?"

This is the video of Jill's interview with Carlos.


We hope that you learned a lot about Central American and Mexican Culture by reading this page and thank you for taking the time to visit it. Hopefully, you had a great time!

Owais Naeem and Jill Hackney Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

Title: Modern Culture of Central America and Mexico

Objectives:
• Students will be able to gain knowledge of the type of religions in Central America and Mexico and how they affect their society.
• Students will be able to compare the Mexican education system with American education.
• Students will be able to identify foods from different Central American countries.
• Students will be able to describe the importance of family systems in Central America.
• Students will be able to summarize the major points of modern Central American culture.
Essential Questions:

1. What is the most practiced religion in Central America and Mexico and how does the Mexican church affect its society?
Most of Central America's inhabitants are Roman Catholic while only a few are Protestant. Likewise, in Mexico, 87.9 percent are Roman Catholic while 6 percent are Protestant. Mexico's Catholic Church has had much influence on the history, attitude, and cultures of Mexicans and Catholic holidays are celebrated widely.

2. How does the daily life of Central America compare to the daily life in America?
In rural areas in Mexico people get up when the sun gets up. Everyone eats a big breakfast as a family, usually cooked by the matriarch of the family, the woman who runs the household. The men and women will then go out to the fields or their jobs along with the older male children. The older female children stay to work around the house and take care of their abuelito (grandfather) and abuelita (grandmother). The younger children go to school.
In Central America, daily life revolves very much around upholding family bonds, everybody works together everyday for the common good of the family.
In America however, we are much more self oriented. In comparison to Central America, many families do not each breakfast together everyday, much less a big one. I think this quote sums it up nicely.
"Everyone was more than willing to share their ride with me, an American woman standing alone by the side of the road.
I had to wonder if the tables were turned and the same situation would have taken place at home here in my country...with a Latino standing alone by the side of the road. How many of us would willingly share our ride with him/her?"

3. How does food vary across Central America?
While everyone shares the same basic staples of beans, chiles, tomatoes, rice, and tortillas, dishes vary greatly within each country. Rural villages mostly eat home cooked meals, made from produce they grew themselves. More urban areas tend to have more access to foreign, more modern foods. For example, in Honduras and Panama, North American foods such as pizza and hamburgers are prevalent in cities. One other notable difference in food is that El Salvador cooks with fewer spice than other South American countries.

4. Why are family bonds so tight in Mexico?
Because there is so much poverty and hardships in most families, they need to stick together. Extended families often live in one home, and they try to help each other out as much as possible. Family members try to find jobs for their relatives, and also gather together for many holidays. Many Mexican holidays often center around godparents, which shows another form of family solidarity beyond blood ties.

5. How has Mexican culture changed over the years, in regard to customs and traditions?
The past culture of Mexican has been very traditional and heavily entwined with community. Family is very important. However, Mexico has long been a war torn country, and younger generations are beginning to become more independent of their families to try to change some of the corruption. Nowadays, people still celebrate the old holidays. The still go to festivals for Cinco de Mayo and el Dia de los Muertos, they just celebrate in other ways. In addition to eating traditional foods, they have added more modern foods and beverages, like Pepsi and Coke.

Activity:
1. Owais will present his PowerPoint, going over the topics researched by him and Clare.
2. Jill will teach Emilie and her topics in a different manner, instructing based off of the information directly on the Wikispace.
3. Students will be filling out a worksheet created by Jill throughout her and Owais’s instruction, answering essential questions and basic informative questions on the material.
4. Jill will show her movie, and students will fill out the rest of the worksheet based off of that.
5. If there is any extra time left, Jill will teach the students a very basic salsa step, seeing as the salsa is a Central American dance.

Materials: Worksheets (Provided by Jill), PowerPoint (on the Smartboard), and a DVD player (connected to the Smartboard).

Assessment: Worksheet discussed above.



Emilie and Clare's Lesson Plan and VennDiagram Assesment





Works Cited:
[[code]]
Cortes, Carlos. Personal interview. 6 May 2007.
 
"Belize." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Belize&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"Costa Rica." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Costarica&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"El Salvador." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Elsalvador&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"Guatemala." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Guatelmala&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"Honduras." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
[[http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/ world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Honduras&sname=Die t&snid=13|http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Honduras&sname=Die
t&snid=13]].
 
Kalman, Bobbie. "A Blend of Traditions." __Mexico: The Culture__. New York: Crabtree
Publishing, 2002. 4. __History Reference Center__. EBSCO. 3 May 2007
[[http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=17891935&site=ehost-live|http://search.ebscohost.co
login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=17891935&site=ehost-live]].
 
"Mexico." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Mexico&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"Nicaragua." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Nicaragua&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
"Panama." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest/UMHSlib. 8 May 2007
<http://onlineedition.culturegrams.com/world/
world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Panama&sname=Die
t&snid=13>.
 
 
 
"Central America." __Encyclopedia Americana__. 2007. Scholastic Lib. 10 May 2007
<http://ea.grolier.com/>.
 
"Education." __Country Studies__. 10 May 2007 <http://countrystudies.us/mexico/
62.htm>.
 
"Mexico." __Encyclopedia Americana__. 2007. Scholastic Lib. 10 May 2007
http://ea.grolier.com/.
"Mexico." __Countries and Their Cultures__. 1459-1460.
 
Mexico." __CultureGrams World Edition__. 2007. ProQuest. 10 May 2007
http://online.culturegrams.com/world_country_sections.php?contid=6&wmn=North_America&cid=102&cn=Mexico&name+Diet&snid=13>.
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Topics Involving the Culture of Mexico and Central America:

  • Food (clare)
  • Family Life (clare)
  • Language (emilie)
  • Art and Music (emilie)
  • Religion (owais)
  • Customs and Traditions (jill)
  • Daily Life (jill)