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Mexican Vacations - Traditions and Culture

Coastal Mexican Resorts Amenities

Mexico is a country everyone should visit and learn the unique culture and traditions, with its’ beautiful indigenous dances and music, along with the celebrations they love to share with all those on vacation. When the tourist learns the culture, they will never forget. The various Mexican holidays and festivals allow all of us to enjoy a different look at some of the celebrations, participation is a must to experience the mariachi bands.

As a family resort community, Barra de Navidad and Melaque offer the tourist excitement and adventure. After some sight seeing, practicing your Spanish with the beach vendors of Mexico, enjoy relaxing on the beaches of white sand with a warm breeze off the Pacific Ocean. You do not have to vacation in Hawaii to feel the same weather that is also dominant in Melaque, Mexico. Sit on the sunny beach and watch the palm trees blow softy back and forth, or take a nighttime walk over the sands of the beach to see the sunset over the Pacific.

Mexican Cuisine and Cooking

Melaque offers many opportunities to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine, with many restaurants offering traditional dance performances complete with authentic Mexican dress. While exploring the many restaurants and shops surrounding El Palmar, trying your Spanish will get you a warm smile from the locals, a helping hand for directions, or a plateful of tacos.

Mexican food started with native flavors, gradually adding spices influenced from India, Europe, Spain and China. The main staple was corn and beans, using chiles and heavy spices to add flavor to the dishes. Mexican coastal communities relied on seafood as a source of meat for their cuisine. The Spaniards introduced garlic, onions, wheat, cheese, and chicken, which soon became part of Mexican cooking as well. Native Mexicans used mostly corn, tomatoes, goat and fish.

Chiles are used to flavor anything from soups and sauces, to salsas and mole. Beans such as black beans and pinto beans are used in refried beans, bean salads and soups. The traditional fat used is lard; this gives great flavor to the masa used for tamales and for refried beans. Tortilla chips, corn tortillas and masa are made from ground corn. Cooked tomatoes can be used to flavor rice, soups or salads. Raw fresh tomatoes can be used as toppings and fillings for tacos and burritos, or to make great salsas. Cactus can also be used as a base for main dishes; they even have special knives to help work with the prickly spines.

Mexican Mole Sauce and Chili Powder 

Mole sauce is a sauce using 30 different spices combined with peanuts or peanut butter, and cocoa to bring out a rich flavor. This thick sauce has also become a favorite in Mexican restaurants around North America, often served over chicken.
 
The most common spices used in Mexican cuisine are oregano, cumin and chili powder. Chili powder is a blend of dried, powdered chilies, oregano and cumin used to season meats and vegetables. Chipotle is another chili powder that has gained popularity outside of Mexico. It is a dried and smoked jalapeno used in sauces and salsas, and in the marinade called Adobo.

Essential for Mexican Cooking

  • Avocadoes: a rich, buttery fruit used to add Mexican flair to any dish.
  • Black beans and Pinto beans: used in dishes like refried beans, frijoles negros, black bean salsa or salads. Kidney, haricot, and lima beans, garbanzos are also popular in Mexican cuisine.
  • Cheeses: Oaxaca is a Mexican white cheese ideal for quesadillas, can substitute mozzarella. Queso fresco is a soft, crumbly cheese adding a touch of saltiness, can substitute feta.
  • Mexican Chocolate: this chocolate has a bitter, earthly flavor and works well with mousses and flans, spiced turkey breast and mole sauce. If it is not in your local Latin markets, you can substitute semisweet chocolate with a dash of cinnamon added.
  • Crema: a Mexican style of sour cream, used in hot or cold sauces and found in Mexican grocery stores or large supermarkets. Crema can bring flautas or tacos to the next level; sour cream is a substitute except in hot sauces, as it can make it separate or curdle.
  • Limes: the juice can be used to finish a dish, squeeze it into salsa or over tacos, to create a bright, tart pop of flavor.
  • Mexican Oregano: this variety is savory and little more aggressive than the herb Canadians and Americans may be used to.
  • Poblanos: mild chile peppers roasted and peeled, if cut into strips they are called rajas.
  • Tomatoes: many Mexican sauces are tomato-based.
  • Tortillas corn and flour: make your own or look for ones with the fewest ingredients, as they are more likely to be the freshest on your grocery store shelf.
  • Other common ingredients: chayote, jicama, tomatillo, plus over 200 varieties of chile peppers (more than 100 are indigenous to Mexico)

Mexican cooking and flavors run the gamut, from the highly complicated to the purely simple. A great mole sauce made properly, is just as complex as any French sauce. Or a simple roasted chicken tostada shows how Mexican cooking truly covers both ends of the spectrum.

Mariachis, Music and Mexican Culture

Mariachi is a form of folk music originally played only with string instruments, musicians were dressed in the white pants and shirts of peasant farmers. Influences from other music such as polkas and waltzes, adding trumpets and the use of charro outfits by the musicians, came later on.

Most claim the origins lie in the state of Jalisco but the neighboring states of Colima, Nayarit, and Michoacan have also claimed it. However, by the late 19th century, the music was firmly centered in Jalisco. Most legends put the origin of the modern mariachi in the town of Cocula, in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Many well known mariachi groups have come from Cocula and surrounding areas.

The usual size of a mariachi band could consist of as many as eight violins, two trumpets and at least one guitar. Guitars may include the traditional vihuela, a high-pitched, round-backed guitar, and a guitarron or bass guitar. Sometimes you will see a Mexican folk harp providing bass, as well as ornamenting the melody. Mariachi vocals may be delivered in a variety of styles; bolero is a romantic style, huapango uses falsetto, son jaliscense is an aggressive style and so on.

Mariachi bands are expected to play requests and may need to know hundreds of songs. Most of the songs are about love, betrayal, death, politics, revolutionary heroes, machismo, or animals and country life form the genre origins as rural son music.

Mariachi’s beginning as a son meant that it was originally a form of dance music and dancing is still important to mariachi. The most common dance technique found with mariachi is zapateado, a kind of footwork from Spain with pounding movements into a raised platform which often provides the percussion rhythm of mariachi and son music. The dance performed varies by region. Another dance style associated with both son and mariachi is jarabe, including the jarabe tapatio or Mexican hat dance.

Jarabe Tapatio, Mexican Hat Dance