Upon the arrival of the Spaniards in the 19th century, great influences were reflected on the society and culture in the Mexicans. It is undeniable that the Roman Catholic Church portrayed a significant role in molding the Mexican urbanity, particularly the friars, who had a say in everything during that time. Catholicism is among the primary legacies and the most significant religious groups from the Spanish colonial period and the Spanish language as Mexico's language. Both Spain and Mexico were widely affected by this colonization, and the religious concept of Christianity was the primary cultural expression witnessed, which will be further discussed throughout the paper.
During the Spanish colonization, Spaniards had brought different kinds of saints. The first saint that was Virgin Guadalupe (Virgin Mary) who appeared to a poor farmer and instructed him to tell the bishop to construct a temple. For a long period, the appearance of Virgin of Guadalupe was not formally recognized by the Catholic churches. However, pressure from millions of believers made it officially known. Before Natives used to give offerings to huge stones and trees, but during the colonization of the Spaniards, the latter replaced these stones and trees with Sta. Clara and other saints. The religious symbols may be different, but the procedure in making offerings was the same.
Virgin Guadalupe is relevant in the contemporary Mexican culture because she is a sign of social justice. When she appeared to a peasant farmer, it is believed that God wanted to use those that are viewed by society as worthless as the indigenous Indian peasant was to the colonial government. Virgin Guadalupe portrays entirety from womanhood to feminism to social justice. She is responsible for the founding of New Mexico. The saint is depicted as a different version of the Virgin Mary, a dark-skinned with more features of a Mexican. Hence, it is exceptional to Mexico, expressive of how Catholicism has changed to suit the Mesoamerican context. The Mexican Catholics exemplified the cultural symbol of Virgin of Guadalupe as the suitable messenger to reaching God. Mexican Catholics believe that she is a religious deity and that she grants prayers of those who worship her. It is common among Mexicans to own a shrine at their homes in areas where they conduct prayer sessions, pray to an image (Virgin of Guadalupe) (Von Vacano, 2011). The holy Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the world's most toured Catholic pilgrim, and millions of Mexicans gather at the site during an anniversary of Virgin of Guadalupe apparition. Critics to her would mean a severe offense to a Mexican and an insult to their faith and cultural and national symbol.
Roman Catholic is the dominant faith in Mexico, and it is exceptionally culturally prevalent. A significant number of population is identified as Catholic and view it as part of their identity. However, Mexico it tolerant to other faiths with the growth of Christian churches. It was until the mid-19th century when significant changes preceded. The Liberal La Reforma presented critical changes to the political and religious Mexico regarding how churches conducted themselves. The state challenged the responsibility of Catholic churches in property ownership, education, and other roles. However, a majority of the tasks were integrated into the 1857 constitution that limited churches from such functions. The power struggles resulted in changes in how churches conduct itself and its activities in Mexico (Leibsohn & Barbara, 2015).
Due to the arrival of the friars, the Mexicans were hispanized, and this can be reflected in the Indios way of life. One way that the Spanish influenced the Indios is through their way of counting and telling time. Due to the spread of Christianity, they also adopted many of the Spanish holidays and celebrations. One example of this would be the Fiesta or feast which were joyous celebrations in remembrance of the saints. The Indios adopted much of the Spanish cuisine, and many of these dishes are still made. A primary way that the Indios were hispanized is by the use of Spanish surnames. Even up to today many Mexicans have Spanish names. Several customs depict Mexicans exemplified Catholicism such as the everyday use of phrases in daily life to pay respect such as "Si Dios quiere" (God willing and "Gracias a Dios" (thank God). Use of pronounced by formative catholic moments including baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage and death with each stage significantly representing a turning point in their lifetime (Caneque, 2013).
In conclusion, the society and culture that the Spaniards introduced to us during the 19th century played significant roles in building our own. Spanish culture and community made a substantial impact on the development of Catholicism which is still evident today. Presently, the Catholic is identical to the culture and society of Mexico visible in language and public life. Virgin of Guadalupe is relevant in the Mexican culture because she is a sign of social justice. Her role as a messenger made it common for Mexicans to own a shrine at their homes with a symbol of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Caneque, Alejandro. "The Political and Institutional History of Colonial Spanish America." History Compass, vol. 11, no. 4, 2013, pp. 280-291., doi:10.1111/hic3.12043.
Leibsohn, Dana, and Barbara E. Mundy, "Reckoning with Mestizaje," Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 2015, 1520-1820.
Von Vacano, Diego. The Color of Citizenship: Race, Modernity and Latin American/Hispanic Political Thought. Oxford University Press, 2011.
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