Focus On Mexico

Customs and Superstitions

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  • The country to the south of the US, Mexico is known for its varied customs,  traditions and superstitions. Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world and fifth largest in the continent of North America. This section will introduce you to the customs and superstitions around Lake Chapala and throughout Mexico.
  • Customs and Superstitions

    Mexican Superstitions

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    People still tend to believe in common superstitions despite all the technological and scientific advances in today’s world. Performing little rituals or honoring good or bad luck omens can give people a sense of control in their lives. Many superstitions have grown surrounding modern-day activities that tap into ancient roots of numerology, odds and evens and rhyming chants.

    In this section we will try to present the fact and fiction behind some common Mexican customs and superstitions, such as the evil eye and the dangers pregnant women face when they go out during a lunar eclipse.

    Mexican superstitions run as deep as the rich cultural and religious history of the nation. Superstition and religion both delve into the realm of the unknown, using tradition and faith to give creedence to customs and claims that can't be verified in practical ways. While religion sometimes keeps superstition at bay, superstition has its own way of twisting stories and truths in order to keep the public in awe of its power. 

    Superstitions Based in Part on Truth

    One traditional superstition is that if a pregnant woman walks outside during a lunar eclipse, she runs the risk of giving birth to an infant who is part wolf or who has a cleft palate. This superstition is based, at least in a small part, on truth.

    Babies born with a condition called hypertrichosis do grow excessive hair on their faces, necks and sometimes on their torsos and backs.  Hypertrichosis is a hereditary condition in which the eighth chromosome has been adversely affected. It has been given much publicity in the past 20 years in Mexico because of a family that shares the trait.

    This superstition may have begun hundreds of years ago, when one of the first cases of hypertrichosis was found. The same may be true of a cleft palate, as this is a very common birth defect linked to vitamin deficiencies, congenital maladies and cell interference with certain drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.

    Neither of these conditions can be blamed on a walk in the moonlight, but it may have been noted that a woman who experienced either of these conditions in her newborn had been outside during a lunar eclipse. Superstitions in place to counter this tragedy give the woman a chance to waylay this malady. If she must be out during a lunar eclipse, she can tie keys around her waist to reflect the light, thereby avoiding both problems.

    The Evil Eye
    Another common Mexican superstition has to do with the evil eye. Called "mal de ojo" in Spanish, the evil eye can cause all sorts of calamities to people and also to material items.

    In reality, the evil eye can be condensed down to jealousy and desire. If a stranger looks upon your child or baby with either of these emotions in her eyes, she has just given your child the evil eye. To keep the evil eye at bay, whenever a person looks at a baby and offers a compliment, she must touch the child at the same time.

    If a child is suffering from a high fever, crying fits, or nausea and swelling in some part of the body, it is generally thought to be due to the evil eye. If the person who gave the child the evil eye is located, she must pass three mouthfuls of water to the child to break the spell. A red bracelet can also be worn to protect against the evil eye.

    Other widespread superstitions include the following:

    • Never walk beneath a ladder.
    • Never cross a black cat’s path.
    • If you drop a tortilla, you will have lots of company.
    • If you cut a baby’s fingernails before the age of one year, the child will have impaired eyesight.
    • Tuesday is unlucky; never start a journey or anything important on this day

     

    Mexican Customs

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    The country to the south of the US, Mexico is known for its varied customs and traditions. Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world and fifth largest in the continent of North America.

    Mexican culture is marked by the influence of the Mayas, Aztecs and Iberian communities. Spain had colonized Mexico for 300 years. The United States too, has influenced the culture of Mexico to a great extent. These influences are reflected in the customs and traditions of the country.

    Traditional Music
    The traditional music in Mexico, is diverse in its form and every region has a different flavor of folk music.

    Bull Fighting
    It is one of the popular traditions in Mexico. Bullfighting is an activity inherited by Mexico from Spain. Though an illegal sport, bullfighting is extremely popular in Mexico and draws large crowds to the arenas.

    Weddings
    In Mexico, there is a tradition to have Godparents for the marriage ceremonies, who sponsor the wedding and also the benefactors of the newly wed couple. The couple is gifted with a Bible and a rosary by their Godparents. There is a custom in Mexico to tie a 'lasso' around the necks of the couple during the marriage ceremony. It signifies the bonding and love between them.

    Christmas
    The specialty of the Christmas celebrations in Mexico is the procession known as 'La Posada'. During the procession, 'the search of shelter by Mary', the mother of Jesus, is enacted. The 'Flame leaf' or the Poinsettia, holds great importance in the Christmas celebrations in Mexico. 'La Misa Del Gallo' is the term used for the midnight mass, that takes place in Mexico at the time of Christmas. People sing lullabies for the newborn Jesus at the midnight mass.

    Aztec Story of Creation
    Tribal people from the central regions of Mexico, are known as the Aztecs. The Mexican people believe in the Aztec story of creation. According to the story, life began in water. Tezcatlipoca, Huizilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl and Xipe Totec were the four Gods who created water and rest of the Gods emerged from the water.

    Interesting Customs and Traditions
    Here are some interesting customs in Mexico enlisted below.

    • On the eve of New Year, women walk around the streets to collect money at fiestas. People throw money and wish them good luck.
    • People leave a lamb at the entrance of their house on New Year's eve. The passersby, keep money near the lamb in order to wish a healthy new year to the family.

    The customs and traditions followed in Mexico are varied and diverse. There are many interesting traditions that have been forgotten with time. Being receptive and open to the cultures of different communities, Mexican culture has developed a special flavor of its own. These influences are reflected in the various traditions and customs of Mexico.

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