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Snapshot of Mexico – Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexico is an ethnically diverse country, with many people being descendents from both indigenous groups and European immigrants, though the southern part of the country has significantly higher levels of indigenous peoples than other areas. These southern and central regions are also home to several indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl and Yukatek Maya. Over 80% of Mexico’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic church, with attendance rates at about 47%. Many Mexican towns and cities have their own patron saints, which are celebrated with yearly feasts. Both Spanish and indigenous influences can be seen in art, architecture, and music. Mariachi performing groups (bands using singers, guitars, trumpets, and other instruments) regularly perform at festivals and restaurants, and many folk dances and traditional music are still practiced. Rock, pop, and other music styles such as norteña and ranchera are popular today. Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, though baseball is also popular. Lucha libre wrestling and bullfighting are also popular events. Mexican cuisine is based on the staples of corn, beans, and chili peppers, often used with meat, cheese, and other herbs and spices. Traditionally, the main meal is eaten during the afternoon. A soup is served first, followed by a meat dish with sauce and salsa, along with tortillas and beans. Street vendors are also quite popular, selling tacos, quesadillas, tortas, roasted chicken, and other dishes. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are another popular street vendor food. Cuisine varies in different regions, with flour tortillas, burritos, cheese, and beef being more popular in the north, while tropical fruits and tamales are more commonly used in southern cooking. Seafood, morisqueta (a sausage and rice meal), and carnitas (deep-fried pork) are more commonly eaten in western Mexico.
Missionaries first arrived in the Veracruz area in 1955, and the Church has grown quite strong in the area ever since Veracruz’s first chapel was dedicated in 1961. The Church continues to grow even stronger in the area! There are 10 stakes and districts located within mission boundaries. The Veracruz Mexico Temple was dedicated in 2000, and a CES Institute is also located close to the temple.
Thanks to Veracruz’s tropical coastal location, there is a higher prevalence of seafood and tropical foods in meals than in other parts of the country. Huachinango a la Veracuzana (red snapper with tomatoes, chili peppers, and other herbs such as garlic and caper) and arroz a la tumbada (a baked rice and seafood dish) are popular local dishes. Many meals in Veracruz include typical Mexican staples such as beans, corn, and squash, but tropical fruits and vegetables such as pineapples, avocados, sweet potatoes, and papaya are also common in meals.
Most missionaries will generally either walk or use public transportation to get around. Public transportation primarily consists of busses or smaller vans. Longer transfers are done by bus.
Veracruz is a popular tourist destination, and as such is not particularly dangerous. However, missionaries should always remain aware of their surroundings and avoid areas that seem suspicious. Try to not look like a tourist or give the impression of having lots of money, as this makes you more likely to be robbed.
Carnaval is one of the most popular events in Veracruz; it has been celebrated in the city since 1866. Veracruz has a unique cultural heritage due to its location as an important sea port. Much of the local culture blends indigenous Mexican, Spanish, and African influences. Sailors and foreign travelers are common sights in Veracruz. Coffeehouses are extremely popular dining locations in the city, and are busy from early in the morning until late at night. These coffeehouses are popular locations for socializing.
It’s a good idea to keep some sunscreen and hand sanitizer available to avoid risk of sunburn or getting sick from germs!
The port of Veracruz is a popular tourist destination, containing many interesting historic and cultural monuments. Popular sites within the city of Veracruz include the Municipal Palace of Veracruz, Fort San Juan de Ulúa, and the Cathedral of Veracruz. The city is also popular for its beaches. Further south is the unique Lake Catemaco, which was formed in an extinct volcano’s crater.
Apartado Postal 103
91700 Veracruz, Veracruz
Facebook Groups “Misión Mexico Veracruz” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/318725144872126/
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