Features of Culture
The people of Canari have a rich culture and they have their own unique way of doing things. The invasion by the Spanish changes their lifestyle, but this did not change their tradition entirely. They are farmers and they have many festive that they celebrate at different times of the year. They have their own traditional meals made from a variety of potato and they are friendly towards visitors who they greet by smiling or saying hi. Their rich culture has transformed over the years but for anyone visiting the Highland you will notice that their culture is easy to learn and they use different symbols to represent different aspects of their culture. Their culture has been dynamic due to interaction with other people.
Culture has different features or characteristics and this is evident in Judy Blankenship’s ‘A year in the Highlands of Ecuador.’ The first feature is that culture can be learned (Miller, 2011). This is true based on how Judy and her husband adapted to the ways of live in the new environment with different way of doing things. She had to learn how these people do their things because they know that they have to follow a set of rules in their daily routine to avoid punishment. Judy and her husband learn to use traditional materials and crafts to build their home and the traditional cuisine of the canary people where they use potatoes to make traditional meals. She had to learn how the festive seasons took place in this place. Christmas holidays for example were celebrated differently with people going to native buildings to see historical collections (Blankenship, 2005). The children also put their present lists in an old shoe as they waited for Santa clause to come read them. The holidays begin nine days to Christmas and on the d-day; they make a special cookie that makes the celebration unique. The children in the Ecuador Highlands grow up learning different aspects of culture and they learn to obey them in order to have a smooth time with the adults.
Judy and her Husband had to adapt to the good relationships that the Canari people value. These people care about their neighbors and Judy had to learn to change her attitude and reciprocate the feelings and actions she received from her neighbors. This is because this community has a culture where one has to reciprocate when one does something good for you by doing something to show our appreciation (Milivojevic, 2010).
The other feature of culture is that it can change and interact with other cultures. The people of Canari faced challenges when the Incas attacked them and later on the Spanish. This forced them to change from their deep-rooted activities like weaving, agriculture and production of ceramics using local products. The Canari people now farm in small plots and herd sheep. The people of Ecuador have changed from their traditional believe where women used to stay at home while the husbands went to look for food. Nowadays women are the ones who go out to fend for the family and the women remain at home to take care of the children. The changing environment and the demands of the outside world threatened the deeply rooted culture. This is why they had to arrange for ways to preserve their culture through photography and festivals that revive the traditional ways of doing things.
Culture has a close association with symbols and this is no exception in Ecuador. Fire is a symbol used in many festivals among them blasting networks, glowing of candles and bond fires created during different occasions. The other symbol of fire is resurrection of death a day set aside to celebrate the dead and cleanse the graves to prevent the dead from coming back to the land of the living. The other symbols used to represent culture are in the la nación concept, which represents the women seen as the weaker sex who depend the men (Miller, 2011). Mestizaje is a symbol representing the body of a person of Ecuadorian origin blended to show that he or she is from the middle or lower status in the community. The nacionalidad is another symbol that represents the unity among the people and how they value their nationality. The other symbols of culture are the indigenous dances done during various festivals and clothes worn during different festival occasions (Blankenship, 2005). Old clothes that are collected and burned during the end of the year symbolize a new beginning as they prepare to welcome a new year, which represents a new beginning.
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