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A Mexican-Guatemalan freshman from Utah said Mexicans show love to others by making and sharing food

A picture of a flag. The middle is white with a picture of a brown bird biting a green snake. The left side is green and the right side is red.
The Mexico flag.

Yahneli Garcia-Aguilar, a freshman majoring in business management, said she grew up living on and off in Mexico. Garcia-Aguilar said she loves Mexican food because they cook their food with much care and love. She added Mexican people express their love to others through food.

She said her favorite Mexican food is pozole, a traditional dish in Mexico, usually eaten during Christmas. “You can put a little bit of sour cream on it and usually eat it with tostadas,” she said.

According to the PrepScholar website, “Pozole is made with hominy, which is processed corn with the germ removed, and meat, traditionally pork. “It’s also often made with chicken, especially for those who don’t eat pork. The stew is seasoned with a combination of spices, and it’s typically topped with garnishes like radishes, avocados and lime juice.”

Pozole means “foam” and comes from the Nahuatl word “pozilli.” “Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs, an indigenous people of modern-day Mexico,” says PrepScholar.

What are some unique cultural practices in Mexico?

Garcia-Aguilar said her mother is from Mexico and her father is from Guatemala. Garcia-Aguilar, who lived in Mexico on and off from elementary school to high school, said the Mexican folkloric dances are one of their unique cultural practices.

“We danced a lot at festivals to keep our traditions. ... At a lot of festivals and carnivals over there in Mexico, you’ll see a lot of folkloric dances.”

Mexican Folkloric dance is the term used in general, she said, and the different dances come from different states in the country, such as “Jalisco” and “Michoacan.”

According to the Rover Atlas website, “Jarabe Tapatío [a type of Mexican folk dance] is also known as Mexican Hat Dance and the attire for this traditional dance is intriguing and unique. The men wear a charro suit, whereas the females wear a china poblana dress. ... [It] is an essential traditional dance form in Mexican history.”

Mexican-Spanish and other languages

Garcia-Aguilar said the Spanish spoken in Mexico is the same in Spain but varies with the accent and different words. “In Mexico, you say ‘chido’ for ‘cool,’ and in Spain, you say ‘chévere’ for ‘cool,’ but they mean the same thing.”

She compared it to British-English and American-English, which is the same language, but speakers have different accents and different words for the same meaning. Another language spoken in Mexico is called “Nahuatl,” which is becoming a dead language now, Garcia-Aguilar said.

She said her first name, Yahneli, came from the Nahuatl language, which means “I love you much more.”According to the World Atlas website, “The most commonly used indigenous language in Mexico is Nahuatl. ... and is spoken today by 1,376,026 people in Mexico. It is mostly spoken in Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo.”

What holidays are celebrated in Mexico?

Garcia-Aguilar said they celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Cinco de Mayo. Día de Los Muertos is where they remember their ancestors and make food for them, she said.

Cinco de Mayo is where they dance Mexican Folkloric dances and have carnivals. According to the Britannica website, Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated in Mexico and the United States to commemorate the 1862 defeat of the French by Mexico.

The National Geographic Website says, they celebrate Día de Los Muertos beginning on the first day of November to honor their dead.

“Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Día de Los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life,” says the site.