The project deals with the problem of etiquette along with various forms that it implies. Table, business, and greeting etiquette are the focal points of the research. Apart from the norms of socially acceptable conduct, the project contains the overview of such essential aspects as history, geography, population, religion, and industry. The project is based on the opinions of the leading subject-field experts and specialists that major in history, demography, sociology, ethics, and affiliated disciplines.
Keywords: Mexico, etiquette, conduct, geography, history, population, religion
Etiquette is a set of rules and conventions that regulates human social behavior acceptable in society. Every single community, bar none, has etiquette of its own. Mexico is no different to any other nation in this particular respect. Since Mexico was conquered and settled by Spanish conquistadors dispatched by the royal court of Spain in terms of an exploration mission, the subjugators also did export Spanish cultural and ethical ways from the Iberian Peninsula. Not only that, but also the influence of international norms might have created a unique cultural fusion that is characteristic of Mexico. However, not only etiquette, but also a variety of other aspects are unique. The country has solid industrial potential, gorgeous recreational areas, wonderful geography, unique history, language, and the synthesis of both indigenous and foreign religions professed by a multiethnic local population.
The Mexicans have their unique meeting etiquette. According to “Mexico” (2014), when introduced, people ought to shake hands with whoever they face and give them a slight head bow. When greeting a woman, it is necessary to bow. Shaking hands with a woman is acceptable only if she is the first to extend hers. According to “Mexico – language, culture, customs, and etiquette” (2013), rather than shaking hands by greeting other people in various social situations, women tend to pat each other on their right shoulder or forearm. Men, in turn, shake their hands until they become so acquainted with other people as to hug or backslap them. It is required that a person wait until invited before using Mexican’s first name. According to “Mexico” (2014), body language code suggests that the Mexicans are used to standing close to each other, without keeping considerable distance. Conversely, in the USA, keeping distance is a must-obey rule not to invade other people’s personal space. A Mexican counterpart may dislike it when other people they converse with show the signs of discomfort. Unlike the Americans and Canadians, the Mexicans hold a gesture, such as a squeeze of the arm, a handshake, or a hug longer. The people of Mexico may see it the sign of anger other people’s standing with hands on hips. It is also quite inappropriate to make the Mexicans see people standing around with their hands in pockets.
According to “Mexico – language, culture, customs, and etiquette” (2013), the procedure of presenting other people with gifts is also regulated. The code of conduct suggests that a guest ought to bring a gift of sweets or flower when once he or she is receives an invitation. When it comes to wrapping gifts, there is no particular protocol of how to do it. Presenting those inviting to a party or any other social event with marigolds, a plant of the daisy family, is unacceptable, as it stands for death. Red flowers are described as such that have a negative connotation or implication while white flowers are considered uplifting. They are excellent at rendering other people joyful and happy. It is acceptable and conventional to open up gifts in guests’ immediate presence. What specialists highly recommend under such circumstances is for a gift receiver to react in an enthusiastic manner. One of the most highly resorted to types of the code of conduct is a dining etiquette. Strange though it may seem; still, experts recommend arriving 30 minutes later than originally planned. What is other people consider appropriate, which is arriving on time or earlier, is thought of as being inappropriate. Arriving earlier for social engagements is likely to keep a person waiting until all other participant assemble. In Mexicans’ personal estimation, to introduce oneself is an absolute norm while at a party. At smaller parties, the ones who make the introduction are hosts.
Important in Mexico also are table manners. While eating, people should keep their hands perfectly visible, with wrists resting on the edge of the dining table. Once food taking is over, it is advisable placing fork and knife across the plate, the handles facing to the right and the prongs facing down. Experts’ advice is to avoid sitting down until the host invites to do so and tells where to sit. It is important that people not start eating until a hostess herself starts. It is exclusively men’s right to pronounce toasts. Guests are advised to leave some food untouched after they have finished eating (“Mexico – language, culture, customs, and etiquette”, 2013). According to “Mexico” (2014), it is unacceptable for a person to leave the table once he or she is done eating. The Mexicans tend to frown upon those drinking in excess, especially when the one consuming alcohol in abundance is a woman. If a person is willing to reciprocate the kindness put on display by business partners, he or she may invite colleagues at a lovely restaurant, Italian and French cuisines being the best bets. It is better to pay in advance to avoid misunderstanding and arguments about receipt. Business partners may be invited to visit their colleagues’ apartments. When they are, they should dress conventional business attire, unless told otherwise.
According to “Mexico – language, culture, customs, and etiquette” (2013), business protocol and etiquette are of undeniable importance in Mexico. People receive the judgment of the person who makes the introduction; hence, the importance of the first impression is out of question. Should people fail to produce a positive impression on such person, mending it is anything but possible. In “Mexico” (2014), it is suggested that the people of Mexico expect punctuality of foreign businesspersons. Interestingly, Mexican business partners are fine with a thirty-minute delay. It may take them about 30 minutes or so to arrive at the appointed place. Spanish is the language of business, so foreigners would better be ready to hire interpreters to conduct negotiations successfully. In most cases, negotiations may slack as such. The only reason for the Mexicans to take their time is that they build personal relationships before building business ones, that is to say, they spend some time getting acquainted with business partners, rather than rushing into business undertakings. It is highly recommended meeting with senior executives first since people may not see much of them at the later stages of negotiations, with middle management present at further meeting instead. Etiquette requires a fifteen-minute talk prior to partners’ proceeding straight to business. Refusing a coffee proposal is seen as an insult. “Hasty” is the word, with which Mexican partners describe quick agreement to proposals; thus, taking a moment to consider is the smartest move to make. In Mexico, oral requests are as good as nothing is since such are not necessary to accomplish. A written confirmation of any commitment or agreement is both safe and ethically appropriate. Important individuals do not scruple in issuing somewhat aggressive or unreasonable demands, as all they want to do is put their importance on display.
Everything should be personalized, in other words, business etiquette requests of partners to explain the benefits of a venture to a community, a family, Mexico, and a business partner personally. There is no making deals with the citizens of this country over the phone or email. Beyond doubt, these people prefer closing deals in person to doing it over the phone. It is worth noting that low-level representatives will affront the Mexicans who enjoy a serious status as well as being status-conscious. Experts advise choosing these very carefully that businesspeople will be able to avoid any misunderstanding. Mexicans counterparts are meticulous to such a degree that they will keep an eye open on whether or not a person they carry on business with arrives in a chauffeured limousine or a cab. Hotel accommodations, clothes and watch quality are also a top priority. Persistency receives award in Mexican business culture. Not receiving a response to either letters or phone calls immediately a person sends them or having meeting constantly cancelled or postponed are not reason enough to abandon business relations. What Mexican counterparts will most likely think in the first place is that their partner was not serious (“Mexico”, 2014). Apart from etiquette norms, the country is unique based on a variety of other aspects.
According to the managing director of Americas Market Intelligence, Guillaume Corpart (2012), Mexico poses a value for foreign investors, as the country possesses a wealth of experience and rich industrial potential. Driven by US consumers’ demand for goods, Mexico industry is represented by food production, including that of tobacco and beverage making up 5% of gross domestic product, automotive manufacturing generating 4% of GDP, the production of plastics and chemicals, yielding 2% of GDP, and mechanical, metal, and machinery producing 3% of gross domestic product. Retail industry alone is capable of generating as much as 17% of GDP, with leading categories represented by clothing and accessories, electronics, such as computers, television, and mobile phones, food and beverage, wellness and health products. Natural resources and mining are responsible for about 11% of gross domestic product. The industry is flourishing inasmuch as Mexico abounds with gas and oil, iron and copper that overall compose 80% of economic activity in the extraction industry. The sector of agriculture is making a switch from such staple commodities as corn to much more valued and export-motivated products of a similar kind as vegetables (tomato, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and chilies), the so-called fortified foods and dietary supplements, exotic and traditional flowers, and fruits (papaya, mangoes, berries, pineapple, melon, tune fruit, and Persian lemon). Hospitality industry also sees a major increase, with demand for restaurant and hotel services growing by 5% over the last 7 years. Places like Los Cabos, Cancun, and Huatulco are among tourists’ major destinations. The healthcare and medical service industry is showing the signs of growth as well. In terms of GDP, healthcare spending has reached the point of 6.4% in 2010, as opposed to 5.1% in 2000 (Corpart, 2012).
The director of Hispanic Foundation at the Library of Congress, Howard Cline (2014) claimed many ethnic groups to constitute Mexican population. Indigenous or aboriginal group of Amerindians, otherwise known as American Indians make up nearly one-sixth of the overall population, of which there more than 50 various groups. As per estimates, the Mexicans of European descent of heritage are as numerous. The fusion of European peoples and aboriginal Mexicans has generated the biggest segment of the population to this day called mestizos who are accountable for approximately two-thirds of the overall populace by means of a complex blending of perceived ancestry and ethnic traditions. Racial identity stays a strong social construct in Mexico, with the myth of racial biology refuted by social scholars. It was the arrival of Europeans that caused an increase in mestizo population due to intermarriages. It is well documented that the ethnical mixture is largely dominated by the Spanish and the Indians. Northern Mexico is the place where such blending is particularly overwhelming, whether in rural or urban regions. The Europeans to have immigrated in the course of the 20th century settle urban areas and Mexico City, in particular.
Cline (2014) noted that Spanish was the official language of instructions at schools spoken by the better part of Mexican population. Less than one-tenth of overall aboriginal population speaks its indigenous language. A total of 50 such languages are spoken by more than 100.000 individuals, inclusive of Huastec in northern Veracruz, Maya in the Yucatan, Tarascan, Nahua, Otomi, Totonac, and Mazahua on the Mesa Central Mixtec, Zapotec, and Mazatec in Oaxaca, and, finally, Tzotzil and Tzeltal in Chiapas. It is worth noting that plenty of private and public schools offer instructions in the English language regarded as the second one (Cline, 2014).
As far as religion is concerned, constitutionally, the church of Mexico and state are separate. More than nine-tenths of the overall population have affiliation with Roman Catholicism. Protestants constitute a small albeit swiftly growing segment of Mexican population, with Protestant missionaries having particular success in proselyting people from impoverished urban regions. A considerable proportion of the aboriginal population professes the so-called syncretic religions, in other words, they retain their conventional practices and beliefs besides abiding by Roman Catholicism. Visible is such religious stream in plenty of village fiestas Catholic saints together with mountain spirits, ancestors, and a variety of other spiritual forces receive their share of honor. Since the colonial period, the identities of spirits and saints have come to blend. This is not to say that the religious system of Mexico does not have various beliefs come into mutual collision and that with law enforcement agencies. The point is that Huicol and a number of other aboriginal groups apply peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus, for their spiritual ceremonies, which is thought an illegal substance by police (Cline, 2014).
Duru (n.d.) suggested that geographically Mexico was bordered by the USA to the north, by the Gulf of California northwest, by the Pacific Ocean to the west, by the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to the east, by Belize and Guatemala to the south and situated at the southern extremity of North America. The geographical attributes of the country vary from desert to swamp and from high Alpine vegetation to tropical lowlands jungles. More than half the state is situated at an altitude exceeding 3.300 feet or 1.000 meters. Plateau flanked by mountain ranges to the west and east lying parallel to the coast represents the central land area. Arid and thinly populated is the northern region of this plateau occupying about 40% of Mexico (Duru n.d.).
According to “A brief history of Mexico” (1994), the history of Mexico started with the first inhabitants’ crossing the Bering Straits from Asia as far back as 50.000 BC. The original signs of civilization are thought to have first appeared in 1.500 BC, with Olmec cities built in the jungles of the Gulf coast. Where the first genuinely urban society in the Western hemisphere began was in the Valley of Mexico Teotihuacan. That religious elites ruled an urban society is proved by the presence of monumental pyramids of the Sun and Moon. Such wandering tribes as Chicemec reached the valley of Mexico in 900 AD, starting to build cultures. The Aztecs came after the tribe of the Toltecs, arriving at the area towards the end of the 12th century. In the course of multiple clashes with other tribes, the Aztecs managed to occupy the better part of central Mexico. The Tribe of Maya remained unconquered by the Aztecs. Spaniards led by Hernan Cortes disembarked on the Gulf near Veracruz in 1519. The Spanish began a fierce subjugation of the region by aligning with different belligerent factions within the Aztec Empire.
Conquest completed, the Spanish crown established a colony of New Spain governed via viceroys for the following 300 years. By the beginning of the 19th century, the population had fallen from 25 to 6 million people due to ceaseless massacres, merciless conquests, and diseases exported from Europe by conquistadors and colonists. The Catholic Church became the wealthiest and most influential institution in the entire colony in the process. The Spanish crown multiplied its wealth in its coffers thanks to galleons of silver and gold bound for Spain. Colonial power inevitably met with its ultimate decline following the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. In 1810, Mexico gained its much-coveted independence. General Santa Anna became dictator on 11 occasions, with Mexico becoming victimized by foreign states. The USA seized Texas in 1845 and forayed into Mexico City in 1848. America went on to pay 15 million dollars for New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas.
Meanwhile, France conducted an incursion into Veracruz in 1838, and Napoleon the 3rd took control of Mexico City. Benito Juarez became the sole aboriginal Mexican president and signed in 1867 reforms into law that allowed confiscating church property among other things. Taking power in 1876, Porfirio Diaz kept it until 1911, enacting the policy of industrial modernization, controlling overseas investors, and increasing the power of big landowners. Imprisoned by Diaz, Francisco Madero broke out of prison and spearheaded a revolution against the president. A new constitution was established by congress in 1917. Halting progress of 1920s, the election of a president to let land distribution gain a momentum and nationalize oil industry that went from flourishing to collapsing in 1982 due to a heap of debts. However, now the country is showing the signs of industrial progress (“A brief history of Mexico”, 1994).
Etiquette is a unique set of socially acceptable rules that regulate table manners, greetings, human communication, business relations and a variety of other aspects. Mexico has a unique set of rules that do differ from those acceptable in other countries. While foreigners are expected to come sharply in time, business partners of Mexican descent may arrive at least 30o minutes later. During communication, the Mexicans hardly keep distance not to violate personal space as the Americans do. The abidance by the rules of business etiquette guarantees the success of business ventures. Various types of flowers may evoke different emotions among Mexican hosts who invite people to the residence. However, Mexico is excellent in other aspects just as well. Its industry represented by health, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, service and other branches is flourishing these days. Mexican population is rather diverse, with indigenous, mestizo or blended population, and the citizens of European descent constitute the majority of the populace. Spanish language is predominant, although there are plenty of local aboriginal dialects spoken by Mexicans. From a religious point of view, the people of Mexico are Roman Catholics; still, the influence of syncretic religions is strong enough. Geographically, the country is extremely diverse, represented by plateaus, highlands, lowlands, deserts, swamps, and other peculiarities. The historical aspect of Mexico is quite controversial, with the local population subjugated, converted into Catholicism, and made to serve the Spanish Crown. Still, the political liberation came in the 19th century, although the country was riven by external foes claiming different part of the territory.
A brief history of Mexico. (1994, January). New Internationalist Magazine, 251. Retrieved from: http://newint.org/features/1994/01/05/simply/
Cline, H. F. (2014, November 3). Mexico. Ethnic groups, languages, and religion. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/379167/Mexico/27384/Ethnic-groups#toc27386
Corpart, G. (2012, October). Outlook on Mexico’s Hot Industries. Americas Market Intelligence. Retrieved from: http://americasmi.com/archivos/Article_-_Mex_top_industries_-_20120930.pdf
Duru, J. (n.d.). Mexico weather, climate, and geography. World Travel Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/mexico/weather-climate-geography
Mexico – language, culture, customs, and etiquette. (2013). Kwintessential. Retrieved from: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/mexico-country-profile.html
Mexico. (2014). E-Diplomat. Retrieved from: http://www.ediplomat.com/np/cultural_etiquette/ce_mx.htm