Hispanic Heritage

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The U.S Hispanic population today stands at 57 million, making up 18% of the U.S. population. Hispanic Heritage can vary from Mexicans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominican Republicans, Columbians and Guatemalans. Most Mexicans would consider themselves Catholics while some Salvadorans may say they are from a evangelical protestant church. Each and every one of them can vary depending on their Latin Origin. Hispanic terminology is for those in spanish speaking countries; however, the Latino terminology is used to denote those of Latino Origin. The Hispanic Heritage culture can consist of their traditions, language, religious beliefs or practices, legends, history, social and family values. Hispanic culture is rich in their holidays and traditions.

Some holidays are more traditional than others but they keep the culture alive. Hispanic holidays allow family, friends and communities to connect on a deeper level. It is also the perfect excuse to party. Christmas is an important holiday because they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There is a special mass at midnight commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.The nativity scene plays a big role during Christmas. It is usually placed under or beside the christmas tree.Holy week is another holiday, as the culture is deeply religious. The Holy Week is the last week of Lent and is a week before Easter. El Dia de los Muertos ( Day of the Dead) is dedicated to remembering past family members and friends. In Mexico people create alters where there are pictures of the person, flowers, their favorite foods and fruits. Most people go to the cemetery and spend the day there. It is about death but it is to celebrate the life of those who have crossed to the other side. Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) starts on January 5th and is a reenactment of the arrival of the Three Kings. Children leave goodies for The Kings, and leave their shoes out for The Kings to fill with presents.

Some Hispanic traditions are the Quince Anos celebration, it is another special  tradition that is special, it is to signify a passage from girl to young womanhood. A traditional quinceanera begins with church ceremony, followed by a party with food, music, and dancing. Carnival celebrations are held before lent which is the last chance of celebration. There are many festivities, such as, dancing and music. Have you ever been to a birthday party where instead of actually eating a cake your head is smashed in? After the Mananitas song family and friends chant “La Mordida,” to the birthday boy or girl and they must take a bite of the cake without using their hands. This usually results in a face full of cake. Mexican celebrations or traditions can consist of tamale, salsas, pozole and mole. For many, these recipes are passed down from generation to generation. But each represents a family history, culture, and diverse regions.

Hispanics tend to be highly group-oriented. The sense of family is intense and limited to family and close friends. Hispanics tend to have extended families; grandparents, aunts, cousins and even people who are not biologically related are considered family. Hispanic and Latino families are close-knit. It is not uncommon for three generations to live under the same household. Hispanic parents tend to exhibit a greater intimacy, protectiveness and strictness. Everyone is entitled to discipline within the family structure. Most Hispanics take life by each day as it comes. They are more flexible and relaxed about time, they do not keep track of time, they are usually late to appointments or parties.

Hispanics believe in superstitions. There is a great fear of the mal de ojo (evil eye). It is believed that somebody can wish harm upon you like a curse. For example, if somebody says you have a nice face, but say it out of envy, bad things begin to happen, such as severe acne. My family does this thing where you say a special prayer with an egg and it takes out all of the negative energy in your body or the harm they wished upon you. They also believe in bad salt or bad luck. Many Hispanics believe that picking up a saltshaker and handing it to them brings bad luck. Instead you must place it in reach of the person who wants it and set it down before they can pick it back up. Some even believe that if you sweep over somebody’s feet, they will remain unmarried. It is also said that if you leave the broom upside down behind the door, it can ward off unwanted visitors.

Hispanics are proud of their heritage and where they come from. Everybody carries a piece of their heritage whether it is a secret family recipe, religious beliefs or customs, or superstitions and traditions.

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