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Mexican Families

            There are many similarities, as well as differences, in the structure of the Mexican family as compared to the United States. Unlike in the U.S., where children are encouraged to leave the family home after graduation from high school or college, in Mexico children are expected to stay at home with their families until marriage. In Mexican families children and the elderly are both given special attention. For instance, grandparents are not sent to nursing homes, but are welcomed into the family of their children to be cared for and nurtured. Grandchildren are taught to respect and listen to the elderly, especially their grandparents. Also in Mexico it is common to have large families where nieces, nephews, and cousins frequently gather together for family events. The family meal is an important time for gathering the family together for discussions. As opposed to the American family, who have the family dinner in the evening, the Mexican family has their main meal in the mid-afternoon. .
             Since family is most important in Mexican culture it is not uncommon that families plan their vacations that include the entire family, including children, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and cousins. If possible they travel outside the country and keep business behind them as they relax. On these vacations children learn about other cultures, which enriches the knowledge gained from their school studies.
             The U.S. is a land whose people celebrate many different religions, however in Mexico 90% of the people celebrate Catholicism and the family participates in Sunday Mass on a regular basis. Traditionally, the women in the family are more involved in church activities. After the Sunday Mass the family frequently goes to a restaurant for a late breakfast and conversation. These two events usually take up the entire morning. .
             Along with religion there is another importance in a young woman's life. Somewhat similar to an American girl's "sweet sixteen" a young Mexican girl will have a quinceanera, which is a celebration of her fifteenth year.

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