Cultural Expressions: Characteristics and Examples

The cultural expressions traditional are also called expressions of folklore, because they represent everything that identifies a society with the roots of their ancestors. They include the names of people and musical, artistic and dance expressions, as well as ceremonies or even the architecture of a country's buildings.

These expressions represent the cultural and social characteristics of a nation or society, which makes them cultural heritage. Although in some cases the term is used to define traditions belonging to indigenous cultures or ancient civilizations, it is more commonly coined to refer to the folklore of each country.

Cultural expressions vary according to each country; They represent the traditions of each nation. They can be tangible or intangible, but are influenced by each culture and are authentic in each country.


  • 1 characteristics
    • 1.1 They are transmitted
    • 1.2 They reflect the identity of a society
    • 1.3 They do not have defined authors
    • 1.4 They do not have commercial purposes
    • 1.5 They are always in development
    • 1.6 They can be tangible or intangible
  • 2 Examples
    • 2.1 Cultural expressions in Mexico
    • 2.2 Cultural expressions in Argentina
    • 2.3 Cultural expressions in Venezuela
    • 2.4 Cultural expressions in Colombia
    • 2.5 Cultural expressions in Peru
  • 3 References


The characteristics of cultural expressions are specific to each culture, but they comply with a series of specific parameters that are repeated regardless of the country in which they are studied.

They are transmitted

These expressions are transmitted from generation to generation and usually have several decades of existence. The origins of some go back several centuries, although they have changed their shape over time.

They reflect the identity of a society

As they are old, cultural expressions often reflect the way of thinking and acting of a society since its inception. They are expressions of particular folklore of each country.

They do not have defined authors

Cultural traditions are forged over time and, given their age, it is difficult to recognize a particular person as the author of one of these manifestations. In many Latin American societies, the current traditions have been inherited since pre-Hispanic times.

They do not have commercial purposes

The creation of these expressions does not seek to fulfill a commercial purpose. They were created for cultural purposes and this is the purpose they have maintained during the time in which they prevail, even today.

They are always in development

Most of these expressions have changed over the years. They adapt to the current state of societies; this happens in particular with intangible expressions, such as dances and chants.

They can be tangible or intangible

The way in which each society expresses its folklore usually includes tangible elements, such as drawings, body paintings, graphic designs, woodwork, designs made with mosaics, metallurgy, carpets, jewelry and body ornaments, ornaments with stones, among many others.

However, it may also include other types of intangible expressions, among which are dances, music, rituals and traditional games, or even particular ways of thinking of a country that have been inherited from previous generations.


Cultural expressions in Mexico

One of the main cultural expressions in Mexico, recognized worldwide, is food. Tacos, enchiladas and beans are an important part of the Mexican diet and are essential in Mexican restaurants around the world.

Mexican tacos

In addition, arts like mariachi music are also expressions with a definite cultural roots of the society of this country. There are also traditional clothes, such as the huipil for women or the sarape for men.

The Virgin of Guadalupe also has a party in Mexico celebrated on December 12, pertaining to the belief that the Virgin appeared to an Indian during the early years of the Spanish Conquest.

Cultural expressions in Argentina

Tango stands out as the most popular folk dance in Argentina, with worldwide influences. In addition, the most popular music of Argentina is one that was created in order to accompany the tango dance.

The dance of tango

As far as food is concerned, large quantities of beef are usually consumed. Dishes such as parrillada, which include almost all parts of a cow, are typical of this country. Also it is customary to consume roast and spaghetti, for the Italian roots of many inhabitants.

There is a sport called duck, which is local to Argentina, which is practiced on horseback and consists of two teams competing with each other.

Cultural expressions in Venezuela

Venezuela presents a wide variety of cultural expressions, but particularly highlights its food. Flour-based dishes such as arepa or cachapa are traditional breakfasts and dinners in the country. In addition, it is also customary to consume fried empanadas.

One of the symbols that most represents the inhabitants of the nation is the figure of Simón Bolívar, the liberator responsible for the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The presence of statues in his honor is common in many of the main towns of the country.

Statue in honor of Simon Bolivar, Liberator of Venezuela

Many traditional buildings are still in force in the country and represent the folk architecture of the colonial era, such as the town of Coro.

Cultural expressions in Colombia

Colombia has a great diversity of dances and music that identify the region. In general, they have Spanish influences and have adapted to Colombian culture over the centuries. It is common to have patron saints, besides believing in folkloric superstitions and urban legends; Many of these also have Spanish roots.

Paisa tray, traditional Colombian food

Many traditions of the coastal region of Colombia are closely linked to African cultures. The Andean region has a musical rhythm similar to that of Venezuela, thanks to the close relationship that both nations have had since independence.

The arepa is also typical food in Colombia, as well as the so-called paisa tray. It is also customary to consume a lot of fish, particularly in the coastal regions.

Cultural expressions in Peru

A lot of Peruvian traditions come from the times before the time of the Conquest. The clothing, dances and traditions of the country maintain a close relationship with the indigenous ancestors that inhabited the region.

Dance of the Scissors, Peruvian tradition

Traditional festivals are very common in Peru. In addition, dances such as the Baile de las Tijeras have been considered a cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. This country also shares many Andean traditions with other South American nations such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

In Peru it is customary to eat guinea pig, and these are not seen as pets. In addition, it is customary to use traditional clothing from the region in many urban areas.


  1. Traditional Cultural Expressions, World Intellectual Property Organization, (n.d.). Taken from
  2. Traditional Cultural Expressions, Lexology, 2012. Taken from
  3. Mexican Culture: Customs & Traditions, Kim Ann Zimmermann, July 19, 2017. Taken from
  4. Cultural Traditions in Argentina, (n.d.). Taken from
  5. Culture of Venezuela, Every Culture Online, (n.d.). Taken from
  6. A guide to Peru's cultural traditions and habits, Britt Fraccolli, (n.d.). Taken from
  7. Colombia Local Traditions, Colombian Travel, (n.d.). Taken from

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