Mexico Interesting Facts
- Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
- Mexico City is the third most populous city in the world with approximately 20 million people.
- Mexican children have two last names, the first is their father's last name and the second is their mother's maiden name. This tradition helps preserve the heritage of both parents.
- Mexico has over 60 different indigenous languages. In fact, out of an average of 100 people who speak an indigenous language, 14 don’t speak Spanish!
- Mexico City is built over the ruins of a great Aztec city, Tenochtitlan which was originally set on a lake. The city sinks at a rate of 6 to 8 inches per year because of this.
- When the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico back in the 16th century, the Aztecs believed he was the returning god Quetzalcoatl and welcomed him with open arms.
- Contrary to popular belief in the United States, 5 de Mayo is not the Mexican Independence Day. On that day, an important battle was fought in the city of Puebla, resulting in a victory against the French troops. It is mostly celebrated in the State of Puebla.
- The fight for Mexico’s independence from Spain was initiated by Father Miguel Hidalgo on September 16th, 1810. It was a war that lasted for 11 years, until the 27th of September, 1821, when Mexico was it was officially declared independent.
- Chocolate was brought to the world by Mexico, although it was the Europeans who added sugar and milk to this gift from the gods.
- Other gifts from Mexico to the world include tomatoes, vanilla, corn, avocados and chili peppers.
- Traditional Mexican Cuisine was registered as Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO in 2010.
- Mole poblano is one of the most popular sauces of Mexico’s cuisine and it includes several types of chili, pepper, annatto, many spices, tomatoes, peanuts, and even chocolate.
- Tequila can only be named tequila if it comes from a certain region in Mexico (in the state of Jalisco), though some people claim that this may change as there are other places with the same weather and soil conditions.
- Huitlacoche, chapulines and escamoles are some of Mexico’s most exquisite delicacies, but can be considered quite the opposite in many places. Huitlacoche is actually a plant disease (corn smut), chapulines are fried grasshoppers and escamoles are the larvae of a certain type of ants.
People & Culture
- Mexican children did not receive presents on Christmas Day until recently. Instead, they received gifts on January 6th, the day on which Mexicans celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men, “los Reyes Magos”.
- Modern Mexicans are a unique blend of many ancient civilizations, including the Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec, Maya, Aztec, African, French and Spanish.
- Snakes often appeared in Mexican mythology. You can see them in the serpent god Kukulcan, on the side of the main pyramid of Chichen Itza or in the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl, in Teotihuacan.
- The Aztec language Nahuatl has many words that have passed into other languages (even English!), such as tomatoes (tomatl), chocolate (chocolatl), and avocados (ahuacatl).
- Mexico has a thriving film industry with many talented artists that are now world famous, including actors and actresses like Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Salma Hayek and Ana de la Reguera and directors like Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu.
- Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most popular religious icon. The Virgin of Guadalupe is much loved and devoted Mexicans visit her every year at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, primarily on the 12th of December.
Nature & Attractions
- The jaguar is the largest wildcat in North America, and it can still be found in Mexico’s southern jungles as well as in some nature reserves and parks.
- The typical Christmas flower, the red poinsettia, originated in Mexico. It is called after a United States ambassador who exported it, Joel Roberts Poinsett. In Mexico it is called “noche buena”, after Christmas Eve.
- Mexico is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world with around 200,000 different species.
- There are 5 beaches in Mexico certified with the Blue Flag.
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