The term globalization is frequently used today. It has become a familiar term to most people. However, the word globalization is relatively recent. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word was first used in 1930 with the basic meaning of “one world, one planet or one globe”. Over the years, the term has been used in various aspects of life with a much more complex meaning: “the word globalization can apply to global society, global community, global ideas, global beliefs, global culture and so on”. Regarding culture, globalization has to do with the process of transference of concepts, significances, and principles throughout the world to expand and strengthen collective relationships. This process is found in cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture media, international travel and colonization. In Mexico, the colonization together with the pre-existing conceptualization brought in a new term: Mexicanization. The basic meaning of the new word is the inherited precepts or imported cultures that have had to be adapted to Mexican culture. From examining the definitions above and a fragment of Mexican history before and after the Spanish conquest, it is clear that cultural globalization in Mexico is not a new reality but an old process that has been happening since ancient times in two different aspects of Mexicanization: The use of a piñata in birthday parties which represents the reward that is acquired by destroying “evil” and the creation of Mariachi as the most important exponent of Mexican music.
Nowadays, the piñata is one of the most representative elements of Mexican culture, inside and outside the country. The piñata is a circular clay jug decorated with colorful paper. It could be filled with different kind of candy, fruit or even toys for children. Seven cones that symbolize the seven deadly sins are placed around the piñata. During the celebrations before Christmas and in birthday parties, the piñata is hung from somewhere high and it is customary to hit it with a stick until it breaks. The breaking of the piñata symbolizes the struggle of the human being against evil. By overcoming sin, people receive all kind of blessings represented by the goods inside the piñata, which fall from heaven to all individuals at the celebration. To a certain extent, the current symbolism is Christian, from the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico. However, even before the conquest, two of Mexico’s oldest civilizations already used a circular clay bowl for their religious celebrations. In order to honor their gods, the Mayans and the Aztecs used to fill a clay pot with offerings. Then, during the corresponding ceremonies, the vessels were beaten until they broke, exposing their contents to the images of the gods. Research has shown that similar artifacts were used in China. Figures of animals were created such as cows and buffalos. Those shapes were later decorated with paper and ribbons. In the new year, the figures were beaten and then burned, and the ashes were preserved as a symbol of good luck during the year. Surprisingly, these two practices in distant horizons came “face to face” with each other at some point in history. It has been said that the Italian explorer Marco Polo traveled to China, learned about this celebratory device and took it to Italy in the 14th century with the name of pignatta that translates as “clay jug” in English. The pignatta later passed to Spain with the name of piñata. Finally, brought by the conquerors, the piñata arrived in Mexico where it combined with the existing concept creating what is known today in Mexico and the world as the Mexican piñata. Nowadays, the piñata had gone global. In fact, the tradition of the Mexican piñata is observed in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Canada, the United States and many countries in Latin America.
The mariachi music is the sound of Mexico. The mariachi is basically a group of musicians (four musicians or more) who perform on the streets, at parties and on Mexican national celebrations. The musicians are also famous because they are hired to give a serenata (a set of love Mexican songs) on behalf of a man to the beloved woman, under a balcony or at the entrance of her house. Even though mariachi music represents the “heart and feeling” of every single Mexican man and woman, it has been said that it is not purely Mexican. The mariachi was inspired by the Spanish orchestras which included violins, harp and guitars. However, Mexican mariachi created a distinctive version which originated in the state of Jalisco in the 19th century. One of the main differences is that Mexican mariachi combines Spanish, native and African sounds and it differs from region to region. According to UNESCO “Mariachi music transmits values of respect for the natural heritage of the regions of Mexico and local history in the Spanish language and the different Indian languages of Western Mexico'. Over the years, the mariachi tradition has been extended from Mexico to other countries around the world such as Colombia and particularly the United States, where it was introduced by Mexican immigrants.
The information presented suggests that cultural globalization responds to the primary need of the human being to know about other nations, what they think and do. It is the result of innate curiosity and the desire to learn and grow. In this way, and thanks to new communication technologies, cultural globalization facilitates mutual knowing and understanding. It enables empathy among peoples. It is like seeing each other face to face, trying to find similarities and differences and making a respectful interchange. It is a sort of lending and borrowing process. In addition, cultural globalization means moving from the cultural to the multicultural to favor coexistence and accepting the other the way he or she is. Globalization is to welcome change.
In conclusion, cultural globalization allows each nation to look at what other cultures have inherited through history and the contribution made to include existing concepts and ideas. Globalization is a continuous coming and going of ideas that does not cease. The important thing is to remember that cultural globalization is not a new fact, the word is, but cultural exchange is part of what each nation was and is today as well as what it will be in the future as a result of exchange. The contact between cultures fortifies globalization and globalization in turn enriches and spreads cultures. It is a perfect circle.