Mexican Americans comprises the group of American who descended from Mexican. In other words these are the people who were born in Mexican but they have become American citizens. They account for more than 10% of the total population in the United States .Many Mexican Americans are descendants of the indigenous people of Mexico especially the Spaniards. Mexican Americans are mainly found in the metropolitan and rural areas in the United States. In my paper I will discuss the religious practices among the Mexican Americans. Religion is used interchangeably with the word faith. It is the belief in the existence and worship of a supernatural being and also the practices associated with that belief. Religious practices are therefore the practices which a group of people engage in during worship. In the process doing my research I used the church as my site. I visited them in church during their worship time so that I can learn through observation more about how they carry out their religious practices (Garcia, 2002)
I chose this topic of research because according to me religion is a very important aspect of life. All human beings should have a way of worshipping God. Religious practices teach people moral standards and this helps the society to raise upright society members. A society based on good moral standards has reduced crime rates. Religion is a very important aspect according to me because through religion people learn the right things leading to the establishment of a moral society. Some of the prominent believes in the world include Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic (Garcia, 2002).
Through observation I learned that the main religion of the Mexican Americans is the Roman Catholic. Their practices were similar to those of Catholics. Such practices included baptism, confirmation, weddings and taking the Holy Communion. In cases of problems depended on the priest who prayed for them. They asked the priest to pray for them either in the church or at their homestead. In case of sickness, they practiced rituals similar to those of Catholics. These rituals included praying for the sick, visiting the shrines, and lighting candles. Particular religious holidays among the Catholics are influenced by the Mexican practices. These holidays and festivals maintain their role in religion but among the immigrants of Mexican who are Catholics; these events have been given Mexican meaning. During the Christmas day, their celebration is marked by cultural traditions of Mexico. The celebrations of Christmas start with the feast of Virgin of Guadalupe which takes place on the 25th day of December. Its end is marked by celebration of Tres Reyes and indication of the three kings who brought present to Jesus. During the Christmas celebrations, they eat special holiday foods and play music. Music is a very important aspect of culture. Immigrants of Mexican continue with their traditional music even in America. Regional music is influenced by music traditions of Mexico which is important in their lives because music is a reflection of the culture of a particular group. Many music styles of Mexico are still found in the United States (Giger & Davidhizah, 2004).
The beliefs of the Mexican Americans were influenced by the practices of ancient Indians of witch craft. Some of them believed in the existence of demons. They believed that witchcraft had the power of causing evils in the society. Among the Mexican Americans witchcraft is given the name brujeria.Witchcraft according to them is illness caused by supernatural or magical powers. They do not have a scientific explanation of witchcraft they believe that witches use spells and hexes to harm people. Symptoms of witchcraft include hallucinations, a feeling that you are under the control of another person, fitful behavior and depression. The main reasons behind witchcraft include envy, jealousy, hatred and vengeance. Mexican Americans belief in alternative source of curing diseases. They have belief folk healers more than health specialists and they believe that folk healers can cure sicknesses which the nurses’ cannot manage (nurses and doctors). Keegan (1996) did a research and recorded that 44%of the Mexican Americans found in Texas Rio valley consulted practitioners once or even several times during the previous year. They mostly consulted medicine men, spiritual and folk healers. The study indicated that 66% consulted their already established health care providers ( Giger and Davidhizar, 2002).
Mexicans also believe in miraculous cures. They believe that God is directly related to sickness. Their faith in God helps in understanding cause and cure of any disorder. Saints have special religious functions and each Saint is assigned to pray for a particular illness. Mexicans also believe that disability, illness and death result as a will of God. According to them God punishes and disability is a punishment from God for doing something wrong. They believe that any attempt to change course of disability is interfering with the will of God (Garcia, 2002).
Maintenance of cultural traditions of a particular group is an important aspect of life. It is an advantage to the Mexicans because they have preserved their customs through the maintenance of customs especially through music. The Mexicans have maintained their religion. Having faith in God enhances their relationship with one another. One disadvantage that I noticed with them is about health. They seem to trust folk healers more than nurses. This can lead to deaths because a nurse diagnosis before treatment so that she is sure of what she is treating. A folk healer on the other hand may treat the wrong sickness. This method of observing without asking questions may not give the correct answer. A successful research work should include both researcher and a respondent. Asking questions would a way of getting the correct answer to a research question. Another method is use of questionnaire where the respondents are given questions to fill (Schroeder, 2006).