When you think about Mexico, some of the things that first cross your mind are the bright colors, Mariachi bands, and sombreros.

These associations that we create with a particular culture are what lead to them becoming pop culture references.

If you want to learn about what forms modern Mexican pop culture, keep reading as we fill you in:

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Mexican History

To better understand where Mexican pop culture stems from, one needs to know about the bittersweet history of the country.

Mexico was first populated over 13,000 years ago. Once the Spanish took it over, it became inhabited by people from all over Asia, Africa, and Europe, making it culturally diverse.

Mexico gained independence from the Spanish in 1821, and from then on, the country began developing the identity we all liken it to today.

What Mexican Pop Culture Consists Of

Certain factors intermingle to create the culture of a place. And these factors are usually influenced by history, art, sports, cinema, food, etc.

Here are all the things you need to know about Mexican pop culture:

Mexican Cinema

A poster of a Mexican movie called ‘Las Cenizas Del Diputad,’ which translates to ‘The Ashes Of The Deputy.’ Most Mexican movies from the mid-90s were action-based, featuring themes of romance and intrigue
One of the top Mexican movies of all time is Pan’s Labyrinth, a fantasy war movie released in 2006. It has been rated 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb, and it is nearly two hours long; nonetheless, it is a visual masterpiece (Source: Visual Hunt)

To learn more about Latin American culture, one must explore the golden age of cinema in Mexico during the 1940s and 50s.

Through this period, Mexican cinema was huge and could even be compared to Hollywood. Their films were shown all over Europe and Latin America, making it a factor that significantly influenced Mexican pop culture.

Some examples of Mexican cinema that laid the foundations for modern Mexican pop culture include:

  • Maria Candelaria the movie: A film directed by Emilio Fernández. It was released in 1943 and was awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, right after the Second World War
  • Luis Buñuel, the director: he was a naturalized Mexican who was one of the most famous directors of the era. Some of his top Mexican movies were Los Olvidados and Viridiana, released in 1949 and 1961

The most notable Mexican celebrities from these years were Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Cantinflas, and Dolores del Rio.

Furthermore, the influence of recent movies on Mexican pop culture cannot be understated either.

Films such as Como agua para chocolate, Cronoa, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Y tu mamá también have left a lasting impression on Mexico and the world.

Mexican Media

Media is an integral part of any culture. In Mexico, two leading television broadcasting companies own four primary networks that reach over 75 percent of the Mexican population.

These are Televisa and TV Azteca. The former is known as the largest Spanish-language content producing company that broadcasts over the world.

Furthermore, Grupo Multimedios is a media conglomerate that broadcasts Spanish shows In Spain, Mexico, and the US. They help export Mexican telenovelas to other parts of the world.

Television soap operas are known as telenovelas in Latin America.

Some of the best Mexican TV shows that people enjoy worldwide are La Reina del Sur, Rubí, and Lo que la vida me robó. These shows are known for their dramatic storylines based on real-life events.

Some Mexican celebrities famous for acting in telenovelas are Thalía, Verónica Castro and Lucía Méndez.

The Mexican Music Scene

A mariachi band performing on a stage for an audience. We have all witnessed a mariachi band playing in at least one movie. Music is undoubtedly a huge part of Mexican pop culture and is very important to annual celebrations
The best Mexican musicians have all taken inspiration from traditional Mexican music genres such as corridos, ranchera, banda, mariachi, and norteño. However, international indie rock has also found a place in modern Mexican pop culture (Source: Visual Hunt)

Mexican culture is very diverse, and it shows within the various music genres enjoyed by Mexican society.

Some of the typical music types native to Mexico are ranchera, corridos, bands, mariachi, and norteño. However, most Mexicans listen to contemporary music genres such as rock and pop in Spanish and English.

As a result of their influence, some of the best Mexican singers known all around the world are:

  • Alejandro Fernández
  • Julieta Vengas
  • Luis Miguel
  • Thalía
  • Paulina Rubio
  • Juan Gabriel
  • Gloria Trevi

And as far as Mexican folk singers are concerned, Alejandra Robles, Lila Downs, GEO Meneses, Jaramar, and Susana Harp are the most famous names.

Moreover, Mexican rock has become increasingly popular since the 2000s, both internationally and domestically.

Sports In Mexico

Mexico hosted both the 1970 and 86 world cup finals in one of the most famous football stadiums ever, known as the Estadio Azteca, situated in Mexico City. This stadium also hosted the Summer Olympics in 1968.

Football is the most prominent sport in Mexico. People believe that Cornish miners introduced football in Mexico in the 19th century.

And as a result of British influences, a five-team league emerged in Mexico by 1902. These days, the top football clubs in Mexico are:

  • Guadalajara
  • Toluca
  • América
  • Tigres
  • Tijuana

Some Mexican players who have made their name in the sport include Antonio Carbajal, Hugo Sanchez, and Chicharito.

Antonio Carbajal became the first Mexican footballer to play in five world cups. Meanwhile, the IFFHS named Hugo Sánchez the best player in the CONCACAF league during the 20th century.

Mexico also has its baseball league that plays matches professionally, and it is known as the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol.

Even though it is not the strongest baseball team out there, they have won notable titles internationally and made a name for themselves, becoming nine-time winners of the Caribbean series.

Several Mexican baseball players have also been signed by baseball teams in the MLB, such as the Dodgers, who recently signed Fernando Valenzuela as their pitcher.

From a traditional standpoint, one of the most famous sports in Mexico is bullfighting, with bullrings established in all major Mexican cities.

The biggest bullring can be found in Mexico City and is named Plaza México. It can seat up to 55,000 people.

There are also popular wrestling promotions in Mexico, such as the CMLL and the AAA. And thousands flock to watch ‘Lucha libre’ (professional wrestling in Spanish) in these stadiums.

As a result, Mexico is home to some of the most renowned boxers in the world, such as:

  • Erik Morales
  • Vicente Saldivar
  • Julio César
  • Salvador Sánchez
  • Rubén Olivares Chávez

And because of their efforts, Mexico has also won numerous boxing medals in the Olympics.

Mexican Cuisine

A serving of the famous Mexican dish Enchilada. Popular Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, burritos, and tacos have become an essential part of Mexican pop culture and are a great representation of Mexican ingredients
Enchiladas are corn tortillas filled with various meats and vegetables and a savory sauce spread on top. The most popular fillings are cheese, different meats, potatoes, vegetables, beans, and cheese. These ingredients are heavily associated with Mexican cuisine, making them a huge part of Mexican pop culture (Source: Unsplash)

Mexican cuisine has always been heavily associated with powerful flavors, different spices, and colorful decoration.

The Aztec and Maya, who belonged to pre-Columbian times, inspired modern Mexican dishes by utilizing food trends made common by Spanish colonists.

The colonists ended up combining imported foods vital to them – such as beef, rice, chicken, wine, pork, onion, and garlic – with foods common within pre-Columbian tribes, such as tomato, maize, guava, vanilla, chili pepper, squash, turkey, peanut, pineapple, beans, and sweet potato.

Mexican food does differ from region to region due to ethnic and geographical differences among the natives and the varying degrees of Spanish influence.

Additionally, Northern Mexico is famous for its goat, ostrich, and beef production for meat dishes, notably Arrachera cuts primarily used in tacos.

Central Mexico is also responsible for creating some original famous Mexican dishes such as carnitas, tamales, pozole, menudo, and barbacoa.

However, within the Southeastern region of Mexico, spicy chicken and vegetable-based dishes are widely popular. Due to its geographic location, it is significantly influenced by Caribbean cuisine.

Learn Mexican Spanish To Immerse Yourself In Mexican Pop Culture

There is a lot to know about Mexican pop culture, which is both fascinating and inspiring. From food to cinema, several cultural aspects are incredibly unique to Mexico and have become identifiers for people worldwide.

And if you want an in-depth education on the workings of Mexican pop culture, you should contemplate learning the language. Doing so will also help you watch Mexican movies without subtitles!

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