Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and Guatemalan Culture

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Guatemala's culture is a unique product of Native American ways and a strong Spanish colonial heritage. About half of Guatemala's population is mestizo (known in Guatemala as ladino), people of mixed European and indigenous ancestry. Ladino culture is dominant in urban areas, and is heavily influenced by European and North American trends. Unlike many Latin American countries, Guatemala still has a large indigenous population, the Maya, which has retained a distinct identity. Deeply rooted in the rural highlands of Guatemala, many indigenous people speak a Mayan language, follow traditional religious and village customs, and continue a rich tradition in textiles and other crafts. The two cultures have made Guatemala a complex society that is deeply divided between rich and poor. This division has produced much of the tension and violence that have marked Guatemala's history (Guatemalan Culture and History).

Much of Guatemalan life revolves around families. Guatemalans say that parents are espejos (mirrors): through them, you learn who you are and what you can become. Children are able to depend on their parents for advice and guidance throughout their lives. Family members tend to live near each other, and Guatemalans rarely live or spend much time alone. Families also care for elderly relatives, and godparents (padrinos) are considered an important part of the family. Guatemalan women tend to marry young and have many children. Women give birth at home, though in cities they may go to a hospital (family life). The typical rural family is industrious; men usually work the fields, while women care for the children and weave beautiful textiles with motifs that are unique to each community. A diet of corn, beans, and a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is standard. Chicken and rice dishes are also common. Beef or pork is less common among the poorer classes, but popular among middle and upper sectors in both town and country. Among...
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