In Mexico, and in most of Latin America, calling a person you meet for the first time by his or her formal title, such as a Doctor (whether MD or PH.D) “Doctor“, or an Engineer “Ingeniero“, or an Accountant “Contador“, etc., has far greater more social importance than in the United States.
The title is perhaps an indication of social stratification, separating those who have obtained professional training from those who have not, but whatever the reason for its existence, anyone who does business in Mexico should be aware of the importance of the use of personal titles.
Jeremy Schwartz provides a nice summary of this social practice in his post here at the Uncovering Mexico Blog.
An important part of doing business in Mexico is celebrating Mexico’s rich cultural traditions.
The Mexico Premiere Blog included a nice overview of Mexican Christmas traditions in a post by Flor Hernandez of Frascati, an Italian Restaurant in La Cruz de Hunacaxtle, about 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. The post is copied in its entirety below:
Christmas or Nativity celebrates the birth of Jesus. In Mexico, Christmas is a religious holiday where the following elements are present.
The Posadas are an enactment of the ordeals suffered by St. Joseph and pregnant Virgin Mary looking for a place to spend the night, as they were attending to the census in Bethlehem.
Each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve).
It seems that the Posadas were introduced in New Spain (Mexico) by the Augustinian monks of San Agustin de Acolman, as a way to convert the Indians to the Catholic Religion, back then they used the Pastorelas, that are a type of a theatrical Play with a great touch of humor, where God defeats the Devil, Pastorelas are very popular in Cities like Mexico DF, Queretaro, Guanajuato, and others.
Posadas are a family get-together around food, music, peaceful thoughts and harmony that is very important in this time of the year.
El Ponche con Piquete
For the adults there is Ponche with Piquete (sting) which is a hot beverage or “Punch” made out of seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks, with a shot of alcoholic spirit.
Piñatas origin seems to be at the XVI century, like Posadas and Pastorelas, Piñatas were a useful tool to convert Indians to the Catholic Religion, the Piñata represents sin that appears to us, in nice shapes and colors, the person that hits it is blindfolded, as we walk through the world “blindfolded” not knowing where evil will arise and tempt us. The Piñata is filled with candy, fruit and toys for the children, that symbolize the blessings and prices given to us by God once we overcome the temptations of evil.
Aguinaldos are bags of candy and fruit that are given to the participants of the Posada, it is also by that name, that employers give a Christmas Bonus equivalent to one month of salary to their employees.
Chants for Baby Jesus
Before Christmas dinner, the children in the house, in front of the Nativity set, sing chants for baby Jesus. Then, the members of the family make a wish, followed by hugging each other and expressing all the good wishes kept in the heart for a whole year.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon delivered a speech last night about the tragic death of his 37 year-old Secretary of the Interior following the crash of the government Learjet in which he traveled before landing in Mexico City. The speech, as translated on the President’s website, is copied below:
Ladies and gentlemen of the media:
Today, on his return from a working trip to the state of San Luis Potosí, Interior Secretariat Juan Camilo Mouriño lost his life. The Secretary of the Interior was accompanied by José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, Miguel Monterrubio, Arcadio Echeverría, Norma Díaz, Captain Julio César Ramírez Dávalos, co-pilot Álvaro Sánchez and flight attendant Gisel Carrillo, who were also my collaborators.
I would like to express my sincerest condolences to victims’ relatives, and my absolute support during these difficult times, particularly to Mari Gely, María, Iván and Juan Camilo, the Interior Secretary’s wife and children, and all his relatives.
His children should know that their father worked until the very last to leave them a better country and a good name. Mexico has lost patriotic Mexicans who worked in the service of the Mexican state; Mexicans who with their tireless, everyday work were building a better country for everyone.
The Federal Government, in conjunction with the proper authorities, will undertake all the necessary investigations, to determine the causes that led to this tragedy. In the meantime, we will confine ourselves to the information derived from the corresponding investigations. In particular, I will refer to Juan Camilo Mourilo who, as you know, was one of my closest collaborators and one of my dearest friends.
Through his death, Mexico has lost a great Mexican: one who was intelligent, loyal, committed to his ideals and country, honest and hard-working. A man whose talent, tact, strategic skill and capacity for dialogue enabled Mexico to advance in many of the major reforms that are being undertaken in the country and who enabled government to advance towards obtaining its goals regarding Mexicans.
For many years of struggle, I shared with Juan Camilo the ideal of a new country, the ideal of a better, different country, the ideal of a Mexico in which justice, democracy, freedom, security, respect for others and the environment would shine forth. We never hesitated to commit our lives to achieving our dream of enhancing our country. His death is a great blow to me yet at the same time, a powerful reason to fight without cease and now, more than ever, for the ideals we shared.
I have instructed my team to redouble its efforts in its everyday work, to work together without surrendering; to work harder every day to achieve the Mexico in which we believe and in which the Secretary of the Interior and his team believed.
I would ask Mexicans, in addition to their prayers, to remember Juan Camilo as a young, committed man, who was both honest and intelligent and offered Mexico his enormous dedication to transforming our country. I would also ask all Mexicans to allow no event, however difficult, as this one obviously is, to reduce our desire for a better Mexico.
We will be informing you and the entire Nation of the investigations regarding this case and in due course, I will inform Mexicans of government’s corresponding decisions.
Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco) has lobbied Congress to increase fines for companies and impose prison sentences for executives found using competitive practices, according to a Financial Times report.
Under current law, a company has to have committed anti-competitive practices three times within 10 years in order to be subject to break-up by Cofeco, the report said. Eduardo Perez Motta, Cofeco’s chief, said that such a high legal standard made break-ups almost impossible to prove and carry out.
The threat or imposition of stiffer penalties on Mexican companies for anti-competitive behavior would be a positive development for Mexican consumers and business. Several sectors of Mexico’s economy appear to be dominated by one or two major players.