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Colombians customarily describe their country in terms of the climatic zones. Included in this, and interrupting the temperate area of the Andean highlands, are the long and narrow extension of the Magdalena Valley and a small extension in the Cauca Valley.

Colombia History and Culture

Because of its natural structure, Colombia can be divided into six very distinct natural regions. Colombia did not receive substantial immigration after the period of Spanish rule. Some exceptions are the capital city of Bogota , the second largest city Medellin and the atlantic port city of Barranquilla. Shakira , a native of Barranquilla, is of partial Lebanese ancestry. Most Chinese in Colombia originally came from Panama , where they helped in the building of the railways of the Panama Canal , to help in building the train and road routes between the Pacific port of Buenaventura and the interior city of Cali.

Today, in the surrounding area of the Cauca Valley , virtually every town has a Chinese restaurant. Colombian politicians, intellectuals, and members of elite society turned to France for inspiration in the period, following independence from Spain. Colombian's civil code adopted in is based on the Napoleonic Code.

Starting in the 20th century, North American culture had increasing influence on the culture of Colombia. Shopping malls and tract housing in the style of North American suburbs are very popular and are considered status symbols. Hollywood films, American fashions, and English-language popular music are also popular.

It may have different vocational training modalities or specialties academic, technical, business, and so on. After the successful completion of all the basic and middle education years, a high-school diploma is awarded. The high-school graduate is known as a bachiller , because secondary basic school and middle education are traditionally considered together as a unit called bachillerato sixth to eleventh grade.

This higher education includes undergraduate professional studies, technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies. Bachilleres high-school graduates may enter into a professional undergraduate career program offered by a university; these programs last up to five years or less for technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies , even as much to six to seven years for some careers, such as medicine.

In Colombia, there is not an institution such as college; students go directly into a career program at a university or any other educational institution to obtain a professional, technical or technological title. Once graduated from the university, people are granted a professional, technical or technological diploma and licensed if required to practice the career they have chosen.

For some professional career programs, students are required to take the Saber-Pro test, in their final year of undergraduate academic education. Public spending on education as a proportion of gross domestic product in was 4. In , the primary and secondary gross enrolment ratios stood at School-life expectancy was A total of The family is, as it is with nearly all of Latin America, a highly important institution to Colombians as engraved by the traditional Roman Catholic church teachings.

Members of the extended family are close and children rarely move far away from their parents. There is a deep sense of familial responsibility that stretches through many generations. Traditionally, men were usually the head of the household, in charge of earning most of the family's income, while women were responsible for cooking , housework , and raising children. However, as in most cultures around the world, the dawn of the 20th century brought forth a great empowerment for women who were given a right to vote during the s rule of dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla.

Culture of Colombia - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family

The Constitution of gave a wider opportunity for women, and today, the majority of families regardless of economic class have two working parents due to the need of an income to sustain a family. At a child's baptism , the parents of the child will choose godparents , padrinos. A child's padrinos will play an important role in their life, giving advice. The Politics of Colombia take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic , whereby the President of Colombia is both head of state and head of government , and of a multi-party system.

Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of Congress , the Senate , and the House of Representatives of Colombia. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. There is a large variety of dishes that take into account the difference in regional climates.

Inland, the dishes reflect the mix of cultures, inherited mainly from Amerindian and European cuisine , and the produce of the land mainly agriculture, cattle, river fishing, and other animals' raising. Such is the case of the sancocho soup in Valledupar , the arepas a corn based bread-like patty.

Local species of animals like the guaratinaja , part of the wayuu Amerindian culture.

Culture Name

Blacks and Whites' Carnival. Colombia has many traditional folk tales and stories about legendary creatures , which are transmitted orally and kept for next generations to come. Some of them are common with other Latin American countries. The Colombian folklore has strong influences from Spanish culture , with elements of African and Native American cultures. Colombians have been producing art for thousands of years. Ornate golden figures, and jewelry from millennia ago have been discovered by both ruthless conquistadors and careful archaeological digs.

In the colonial time, the painting was characterized by the works of the three Figueroa, pioneers of this art: The full gamut of its culture—both positive and negative—is revealed in this insightful book that is ideal for student research. Colombia is one of the most diverse, regionalistic, and tradition-bound nations in Latin America. Culture and Customs of Colombia offers a thorough examination of those features of national life that make Colombia unique.

Colombian Society

The book begins by introducing the reader to Colombia's history, geography, and economy. Subsequent chapters discuss the profound importance of the formalities of Catholicism in daily and civic life, as well as the significance of traditional foods and clothing.


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The father's surname is listed first and is the one used in conversation. Always refer to people by the appropriate honorific title and their surname. If you plan to give gifts in Colombia, here are some handy tips When going to a Colombian's home, bring fruit, a potted plant, or quality chocolates for the hostess. Flowers should be sent in advance. Do not give lilies or marigolds as they are used at funerals. If you are going to a girls 15th birthday, gold is the usual gift.

Imported alcohol especially spirits are very expensive and make excellent gifts. Wrapped gifts are not opened when received. Dining Etiquette Dining etiquette is quite formal in Colombia as they tend to give importance to decorum and presentation. Below are some basic tips - if you are ever unsure the general rule is "observe and follow": Wait to be seated by the host.

Hands should be kept visible when eating. Do not rest elbows on the table. The host will say "buen provecho" enjoy or have a good meal as an invitation to start eating. It is polite to try everything you are given. Unusually all food is eaten with utensils - even fruit is cut into pieces with a knife and fork.

Colombian Culture

It is considered polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate when you have finished eating. Do not use a toothpick at the table. Business Etiquette and Protocol in Colombia Meeting and Greeting It is courteous to shake hands both upon meeting and departing.

Men should wait for a woman to extend her hand. Greetings should take some time - ensure you engage in some small talk, i. Eye contact is viewed positively.