Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culture of Argentina
The Europeans heavily influence Argentine culture in various areas. Art, literature, architecture, music and lifestyle have all been affected greatly. Buenos Aires has perhaps been influenced the most due to the high rate of people of European descent and the uniquely European character of the city. Museums, cinemas and galleries are popular in the capital. The Argentine cinema has achieved international recognition, being used as a place to display the tragedies of the Dirty War.
The best-known element of Argentine culture is probably their music and dance, particularly the Tango. In modern Argentina, tango music is enjoyed in its own right, especially since the radical Astor Piazzolla redefined the music of Carlos Gardel. Folk music and dance are popular in provincial Argentina, whether of European folk-style like Basque or Welsh dance, or a blend of European and pre-Columbian style. An example of the latter is the Chamamé of Misiones.
Argentines are extremely involved in sports. Fútbol (soccer) is more of a national obsession than a game. Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986, and the exploits of Diego Maradona have kept fans, paparazzi and columnists busy for the past 10 years. Tennis, rugby and hockey are also important and Argentina won gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for men's basketball. The rich, heavily influenced by English customs, have traditionally enjoyed polo and Argentina dominates this sport.
The official Argentine religion is Roman Catholic. The official language is Spanish, though Italian is widely understood, due to the large amounts of immigrants in the capital. Some immigrant communities retain their language as a badge of identity, such as the Welsh community of Patagonia who have even held an Eisteddfod, as well as the Basques, Arabs and even Ukrainians.
Argentina is known for its asado of grilled meat, particularly beef. European foods are also common, especially Italian staples like pizza and pasta, plus English tea, Welsh cakes and German beer. Traditional foods of the provinces such as locro hark back to the pre-Columbian period, with a reliance on maize, beans and squashes. Sweets, especially dulce de leche, are popular too. Argentina is also famous for its wine, notably red wine from Mendoza.
In terms of literature, Argentina's most famous author is Jorge Luis Borges, considered one of the greatest 20th Century writers. Che Guevara was an Argentine, writing The Motorcycle Diaries about his travels around the country and South America. Mafalda is a cartoon character in the series of cominc strips by Quino that managed to show the world's troubles through the eyes of a small girl.
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