Colombia

Seven Waves Beach. Tayrona Park, Colombia

​Country Information

Colombia, named after Christopher Columbus, is the second largest producer of coffee in the world and mines 90% of the world’s emeralds. Regional cultural traditions are diverse, with a broad range of distinct groups that have unique customs, accents, social patterns, and cultural adaptations. These groups are classified into three cultures: those in the interior, the countryside, and the coastal regions. Only during elections, sporting events, and beauty pageants do the regional cultures unite for a common goal.


Lifestyle and Family

Colombian society adopted a culture in which men occupy a dominant role within the household as breadwinner and disciplinarian and assume responsibility for maintaining family pride and position within the community. The role of machismo is an important characteristic of public life. Machismo is not synonymous with strict male dominance—it applies to the public personification of the male family head. With more women holding higher-paying jobs and occupying prominent positions in society, the role of machismo is now less dominant in urban centers but is still evident in rural regions.

Teen Life and Sports

After school, boys meet up with their friends to play soccer or basketball, while girls tend to help around the house before socializing. Kids from wealthier families play video or computer games after school. Teens do work on homework after school as well, but many kids don’t have free time because they’re hard at work on the farm or in the store.

Teens dress similar to U.S. teens in jeans, t-shirts, skirts and sweaters.

Diet

A typical meal is identified by size rather than content, such as a light breakfast, a substantive midday lunch, and a lighter meal in the early evening. Dinner consists of fresh fruit, homemade soup, and a main dish with meat or fish accompanied by rice and/or potatoes. Lower-income people eat a more carbohydrate-rich diet. Meals usually end with a very sweet dessert, frequently made from panela, a type of brown sugar.

Language and Religion

Spanish is the official language of Colombia, though some English can be found in urban areas. 95% of the population is Catholic.

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