Latin America is a diverse, multicultural region that has plenty to offer its inhabitants and visitors alike. Rich in history, culture, and art, there are many interesting facts to find out about this fascinating region of the world. Go ahead and read them below:
1. Modern Dance
Latin American dancing is known as one of the liveliest and energetic types of dancing in the world, especially in terms of choreography and music. With each dance comes a different style of rhythms, steps, body movements, and music. Dance styles such as salsa, mambo, rumba, cha-cha-cha and the tango hail from this part of the world. Dancing plays a big role in Latin American culture in that it is not just considered a form of entertainment, but as a metaphor for latin identity and social unity.
With an estimated population of 590 million people, not all Latin Americans speak Spanish. Spanish and Portuguese are the two predominant languages in the region. About 60% of Latin America’s population speaks Spanish as a first language with several countries speaking different dialects of the language. Portuguese is spoken by about 34% of the population, in Brazil, while about 6% of Latin Americans converse in other native languages such as Haitian-creole, Quechua, and Guarani.
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3. Hand gestures
Standard American hand gestures may be interpreted as inappropriate, rude or suggestive in Latin America so be mindful of what you are doing. A thumbs-up sign does not mean “great” or “okay” in Brazil, rather the opposite. There, it is the same as giving someone the middle finger. In Argentina, a hand swipe under the chin means “I have no clue” but elsewhere that same gesture is highly offensive.
The hand gesture typically used for “come here” in the United States, that is, the hand palm facing upwards with the index finger extending in and out a few times, means something different in Latin America. There, it is a solicitation and signals a deep romantic interest in someone. To properly convey “come here” in Latin America, keep your hand palm up and move your index and middle finger in and out together a few times.
4. Carnival Festival
Carnival season in Latin America lasts from late January to early March in the days just before Lent. The festive tradition, which has its origins in Roman Catholic practices, was introduced to Latin America by the Spaniards. Carnival is about having a good time and celebrating the fun of life before the solemn deprivations and rituals of Lent. While carnival traditions are celebrated differently in Latin America, depending on the region, commonalities include lively music, dancing, and parade floats.
5. Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Celebrated with pomp and flair in Mexico, the Day of the Dead (El Día de Los Muertos in Spanish) is a national holiday tradition celebrated by family and friend gatherings who remember and pray for those who are dead by honoring them with favorite food dishes, fruit, bread, pumpkins and the Mexican marigold (cempasúchitl), the traditional flower offered to the dead. The roots of the celebration of the Day of the Dead in Mexico can be traced back to the Native American peoples of Latin America, that is, the Mayans, the Nahua, Aztecs and Totonac.
6. World’s Hottest Peppers
Quite a few of the world’s hottest peppers come from Latin America. From the red savina chili to the habanero pepper, these are all included in a variety of spicy and smoky dishes prepared throughout the world. The most well known and popular pepper, the habanero pepper, is today heavily grown and cultivated in the Yucatan region of Mexico. It has a scoville score – the most widely accepted scale of spice – of 200,000. In contrast, the common jalapeno scores a paltry 8,000.
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