A Gringo’s view of Argentine Culture and Worldview

Colorful La Boca!

just fyi: I am not trying to be comprehensive in this post, just sharing some things that I have learned.

  • Argentine-philes – Argentines are like Texans, don’t mess with Argentina, don’t bash Argentina.  Very proud of their country and culture.
  • Portenos – self-identity of Buenos Aires natives
  • Holy Kiss –  let the lady guide, turn head to the left, occurs with friends/acquaintances and at introductions
  • Personal space – high density population, very touchy feely, “close talkers” – not an American sense of personal space, especially when in conversations
  • Quieter – Americans tend to be loud and brash; be cautious when in a group to keep the volume down.
  • Standards of Propriety – many women have had plastic surgery, Advertisements use half naked women
  • Argentine Catholicism:
    • Very strong self-identity (even when not very involved)
    • Tred lightly when discussing Catholicism
      • Bible is very well respected – take any issues back to the scripture
    • A strong self-identity as a Catholic doesn’t mean they have a personal relationship with Christ (as is true of any denomination)
    • Many Argentines are suspicious of organized religion.
    • If they believe in Heaven/Hell, many Argentines believe that you go to heaven by being a good person.
  • Baptist
    • Unfamiliar with the Baptist denomination
    • No preconceived notions about Baptist (for good or ill)
  • Significant Jehovah’s Witness influence – especially in our adopted barrio of Villa Ortuzar
  • Security:
    • Big city dwellers tend to worry about safety
    • Until about 25 years ago, BA was abnormally safe, as the crime rate has risen, people feel less secure.
  • European influence
    • Unlike most other South American Countries, Argentines consider themselves European and not Latino.
    • Also unlike most other South American countries, Argentines did not marry the indigenous population, so they retain a lot of European features and culture.
    • After independence from Spain, Argentina encouraged immigration from throughout Europe which resulted in a significant Italian influence and immigration.
  • Language: Castilian (castellano) – think Spanish with a heavy Italian influence.
  • Food:
    • Influenced by Europe.
      • Think Italian – lots of pasta and pizza (chunky pizza – lots of vegetables) on menus
      • Think English – plain – meat and potatoes
    • Beef is king
      • They prefer it rare to medium rare
    • Drink mate instead of coffee
      • Communal drink
    • Dulce de leche is their sweet of choice (instead of chocolate)
  • Sports:
    • Soccer (futbol) is more of an obsession than a sport
    • Many Argentines are active – jogging, running, etc.
  • Relationships:
    • Argentines spend their spare time with friends and family
      • Meal time is often long – a relationship building exercise that can last 2-3 hours.
    • Children are highly valued but seldom corrected
  • Pets – many Argentines own a dog, usually a large well-behaved one.
  • Dance – the tango is the national dance, thought to originate in the barrio La Boca.
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One Response to A Gringo’s view of Argentine Culture and Worldview

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | Hope for Buenos Aires

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