The white blouse richly embroidered with red roses, the woven sash and belled skirt of rustic cloth, and a traditional petob (head covering) fastened to the hair reflect the typical dress of the Nahua.
Numbering well over a million, the Nahuas are the largest group of indigenous people in the country, living mainly in Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Mexico. Seven different tribes of Nahuatlacas speak Nahuatl, also known as Mexicano. They carried the powerful influence of the Aztec culture through the Spanish conquest into modern day Mexico where they've integrated with the general population while maintaining a connection to their native soil.
The Mazahuas, living predominately in the State of Mexico, number fewer than 150 thousand. A derivation of the Otomies, the Mazahuas have endured through the centuries, inhabiting parts of the country since pre-Hispanic times. Generally, they devote themselves to cultivating their small parcels of land, but will frequently migrate to the cities in search of work.
The Otomi are concentrated principally in Hidalgo, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, and Mexico. Many live in poverty, cultivating the poor soil to produce maguey (also called agave). They build their homes from its large spiny leaves and use it to produce pulque, an alcoholic drink.
Many Africans who came to Mexico entered what are now the southern states, then migrated northward, leaving traces of African influence in everything from music (the popular marimba originated in Africa) to mulattos (people of mixed race). Mexico's War of Independence was fought by Indians, mestizos, and mulattos, among whom were both Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, a leader of the independence movement, and Vicente Guerrero, Mexico's second president.
The State of Mexico is the site of a unique annual phenomenon: the 5,000 kilometer migration of millions of colorful, fragile creatures, each weighing less than on gram. Each November, monarch butterflies leave Canada for the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, a wooded area spanning the border of Mexico and Michoacan, to spend the winter maturing and reproducing. In February and March, they return to Canada.
The pyramid of Teotihuacan, "the place of the gods," rises from the floor of the Valley of Mexico, an archeological zone in the northeast of the state. Ancient indigenous people believed it is the birthplace of the gods, including Quinto Sol, without whom nothing could exist.
The state's economy is largely industrial, based in the production of automobiles, paper, textiles, and chemicals, as well as machine assembly and food industries. Textiles include woolen and cotton items, carpentry, wooden carvings, pottery, metal and basketwork. The Zumpango region is known for its paper lampshades, onyx and obsidian figures, and stone molcajetes or mortars.
Did You Know…?
The work Mexico comes from the Nahuatl metztli meaning "moon," xictli meaning "navel or center," and co meaning "place." So, Mexico means "the place in the navel or center of the moon." In ancient Mexico, Lake Texcoco was known as the Lake of the Moon, in the center of which lay the great city of Tenochtitlán.