Much of Argentina’s culture is a product of its European influences. In fact, Buenos Aires is commonly labeled ‘The Paris of the South’ because of the similarities in architecture and attitude.
The people of Argentina are very proud of their culture and it shows. Bordering on arrogant, Argentines will scoff at anyone who disagrees with their patriotic fervor however, a close examination of Argentina’s exquisite culture and it’s easy to see why Argentines are boastful.
One of the most popular elements of Argentine culture is its music. Specifically for Tango, street dancing, tango halls and art all pay tribute to this Argentine past time and tango icons such as Carlos Gardel are as commonly referenced and equally revered as the country itself. Classical music and opera are also significantly paid tribute and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires is one of the most popular opera houses in the world.
Despite the economic downturn in 2001, Argentina remains rich in spirit and in culture. Argentina is known as the most literate country in South America and has a large history rooted in Literature. Jorge Luis Borges is known as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and his Argentine heritage is well boasted. Argentina’s cinematic achievements are growing as well, and film festivals are very popular. Its scenic presence in The Motorcycle Diaries is impossible to ignore and is eclipsed only be being the official birthplace of Che Guevara.
As with many Latin American cultures, soccer is practically a religion in Argentina. Soccer star, and Argentine icon, Diego Maradona is best known for scoring a goal in the in the 1986 World Cup quarter final with the aid of his hand. The play, now known as “The Hand of God’ is infamous in the country as well as in World Cup History. Strong soccer rivalries exist within the country as well. Boca Juniors and River Plate are two well-known teams that face off twice a year in an event known as The Super Classico. Soccer games in Argentina are some of the most energetic and lively sporting matches a person can attend, and a trip to Argentina isn’t complete without attending one.
Food and wine are another trademark of Argentina and its wine region is gaining recognition world wide for its finely produced wines. Vegetarians will have a difficult time finding solace from the meat present in nearly every meal. The steak in Argentina is unlike any other in the world and with the favorable exchange a large steak dinner can be purchased at a steal. Don’t expect great service either; while the food is incredible, meals (even coffee breaks) don’t pass quickly. Relax – you’re in Argentina!
Religion in Argentina is mostly Roman-Catholic again, as a result of European influences. Argentina has a fairly political active nature and demonstrations and riots are common throughout.
In the Recoleta cemetery graves and tombstones of famous Argentine political leaders are commonly visited, including the gravesite of Evita Peron, one of Argentina’s most famous political figures.
Argentine values are very rooted in the family. Culturally, it is common for kids to live at home until they are much older than in the states or Europe. Sundays are reserved for family and Argentines dedicate a lot of time spent with immediate and extended family members.
If you notice it quieting down around seven or so in the evening, it isn’t because the city is shutting down. Taking a siesta (or nap) in the late afternoon is almost as common as a steak dinner and Argentines eat and stay up late as a result.