Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culture of Honduras
Honduras has a diverse culture. The second largest country in Central America (after Nicaragua), it has four distinct geographical areas, the highlands in the interior, the Caribbean coast, the sparsely inhabited Mosquito Coast, and the lowlands near the Gulf of Fonseca, on Honduras' Pacific coast.
The elderly, especially grandparents, are highly respected because of their experience through their lives.
Because so many Hondurans live below the poverty line, extended family acts as a safety net, with family members helping each other through difficult times by providing both financial and emotional support, for example, a grandfather might tend a garden to help feed his extended family, or an unemployed aunt or uncle might care for their nephews and nieces while the parents are away working, and a Honduran employer in need of an employee will often hire a family member.
Honduras has one of the largest women's rights movements in Latin America, with women fighting for the right to work in factories alongside men in the 1920s, and universal suffrage being achieved in 1954.
Women in Honduras have historically been encouraged to be submissive, to raise the children and not take a job outside of the home, though this has changed, with poverty meaning that women taking jobs to earn a wage has become necessary.
Latin Americans love fútbol, and Honduras is no exception. Boys and men play it in their spare time, and the Honduran soccer team is exceptional. Outstanding players, such as Caneja Cardona , are treated like heroes.
Though it is usually fun, soccer has sometimes turned violent, with the outcome of the second qualifying round of the 1970 Football World Cup sparking a war between Honduras and El Salvador, the Soccer War, which left more than 2,000 people dead.
The 3 Bay Islands, or Islas de la Bahía in Spanish, are an archipelago made up of Roatán, Útila and Guanaja found off Honduras' Caribbean coast. The people that have traditionally inhabited these islands did not speak Spanish, but rather, English, albeit a creole of English. This has now changed, and while most can still speak Carribean English the language of daily usage is Spanish. This is partly because the schools now teach in Spanish. The inhabitants of the Bay Islands are the descendants of British pirates that used the islands as a hiding place during the 17th century. Most of these people were Anglican and black. Roatán and Útila are prime Honduran tourist jewels. Útila has the reputation of being the cheapest place in the world to get diving certification, but many of the traditional inhabitants survive by fishing. While Roatán has 15,000 people, Útila and Guanaja only have 6000 a piece. There are no roads on Guanaja, though there are plans to build one. Most of the people from Guanaja live in a tiny quay called Bonacca just off the mainland. This quay has been called the Venice of Honduras as people can take their boats right up to their houses, mnany of which are built over the water.
Much of the food a Honduran eats is grown in their own garden. Poverty is rife in the country and many simply cannot afford to buy food from the markets. A popular crop is pineapple. In Honduran cuisine, every part of the pineapple is used. The skin is used to make either a tea or vinegar. The flesh is mashed and put in pies, made into jam or juice. The top of the pineapple is put into a bucket of water until roots appear, and then replanted.
Tortillas are popular in Honduras, with many varieties (including tortillas con quesillo, tortillas filled with melted cheese) available. Baleadas are tortillas filled with meat, beans and Honduran cheese, which is certainly different to English or US cheeses. Cassava is widely eaten, as is the plantain. Fried plantain chips are a frequent sight in marketplaces, and very popular in the home, as are frijoles purple beans (frijoles). Another common dish is deep fried chicken with chopped cabbage. Popular desserts and pasteries include rosquillas and rosquillas en miel more popular in the south. Dishes on the coast and in the Bay Islands tend to us more coconut.
Tamales are a popular christmas dish made of baked cornmeal wrapped in plantain leaves with meat and a sauce on the inside.
Many Hondurans believe that saints have special powers. The patron saint of Honduras is the Virgin of Suyapa. Many Catholic homes have a picture or statue of a particular saint to whom people pray to help them solve their problems and overcome their hardship. Towns and villages hold feasts for their patron saints, the most famous of which is the Carnival celebrated in La Ceiba on the third Saturday in May in commemoration of San Isidro.
Art and Literature
Many great writers, such as Ramón Amaya Amador, José Trinidad Reyes and José Cecilio del Valle , have emerged in Honduras. However many people either cannot afford books or have no interest in reading anything other than the daily newspaper, so the market for authors is limited. However, many authors publish their work in newspapers, and their is a tradition, as throughout Latin America, for writers to have started out as journalists.
Numerous well-known painters are Honduran. López Rodezno is a Honduran painter who founded the National School of Arts and Crafts in Comayagüela , which maintains a permanent contemporary art exhibit, featuring many murals by various artists. A traditional Amerindian theme, the "rain of fish" (a tornado that travels over the ocean, sucks up fish and then drops them over villages), frequently occurs in Honduran art.
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