Hispanic Culture 101: 5 Things To Know About Hispanic Culture

Hispanic Cultures

Hispanic Heritage Month is often celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. During this time, Americans whose ancestors hail from Spain, Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean celebrate the history, culture, and contribution of their ancestors. This tradition started in 1968 under the Johnson administration and was expanded to cover a 30-day period in 1988 by the Reagan administration.

Even if you’re not familiar with Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s still important to recognize and appreciate the different Hispanic culture traits and characteristics. Today, we are going to give you a crash course in Hispanic culture – just think of this article as a Hispanic Culture 101 class! Here are 5 things everyone should know and appreciate about Hispanic culture.

Hispanic Holidays

Like any other culture in the world, Hispanic culture is in no short supply of holidays to celebrate. Some of these holidays hold onto tradition while others are more modern, but one thing remains, each holiday has helped in preserving the Hispanic culture.

La Semana Santa Holiday

One of the reasons why the Hispanic population hold these traditions near and dear to their heart is because the holidays makes the connections between their family, their friends, and the community that much stronger.

Some of the most important holidays include:

Navidad (Christmas)

​Christmas is a religious holiday that is very important to Hispanics. The nativity scene (Nacimiento) is an important part of this holiday and is a unique Hispanic culture characteristic.

La Semana Santa (Holy Week) 

This is another important religious holiday in the Hispanic culture. Holy Week is celebrated the last week of Lent, as well as the week before Easter. This holiday week is especially popular in Latin American countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru.

Family

Family is important to many cultures around the world, but none hold it to such high regard as the Hispanic culture. Traditionally, the Hispanic family (both nuclear and extended) has been the foundation for social structure by providing members with financial and social support.

Hispanic family Nuclear

There once was a time where the extended family would live in the same home, but that tradition has become less common in the past few decades. Some would attribute this to the way the Spanish family has changed. Folks are less inclined to have children and they’re living longer.

Even still, familial ties continue to play a very important role in within the Hispanic community.

Gender Roles

A Hispanic culture trait that doesn’t seem too different than our own is that they once abided by traditional gender roles. The women would stay home and care for the children and maintain the home while them men would go out and bring home the tocino (bacon). 

Yet, much like other societies that have embraced the changing times, women in Hispanic societies are seeking higher education and making a name for themselves in careers that once were dominated by men.

Hispanic Gender Roles In Society

The women aren’t the only people who are changing the role they play. More and more Hispanic men are helping their wives with child rearing and housekeeping.

This is especially true in urbanized areas where the mother has taken a job outside the home. Women who live in rural farming towns still stay home to take care of the kids and housekeeping, but both genders will work on the farm to provide for their family.

Open And Friendly

Usually when you go out, people aren’t usually open and eager to strike up a conversation. In the US, many people adhere to a “arms-length” policy because they want their personal space. This is not a Hispanic culture trait. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Hispanics are incredibly open and friendly. When they’re in an informal situation, they will kiss a woman on her cheek regardless if she is family, a friend, or a total stranger. Men are the same. The Hispanic man never feels like his sexuality is in question when they give another guy a hug either as a greeting or as a farewell.

Meal Time

When it comes to being invited to dine at someone else’s home, the Hispanic culture have a few etiquette rules that one should follow. These rules include:

Table manners hispanic
  • ​Do not sit until you’ve been shown to your seat and are asked to sit.
  • ​Your hands should remain visible during the meal. You can rest your wrists on the edge of the table in between courses or bites.
  • ​Do not start eating until your host/hostess begins eating.
  • Most food should be eaten with utensils – this includes fruit.
  • If you haven’t finished your meal, cross your fork and knife on your plate – fork on top of the knife. To indicate you have finished your meal, place your fork and knife parallel to one another on your plate. Your fork should be facing upward with the handle of both utensils pointing to the right.
  • Allow the host to give the first toast. Then the honored guest can return the toast at some point during the meal.

​Final Thoughts on Hispanic Culture 101

The Hispanic culture is rich with tradition and customs and the few things we mentioned here today are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more traditions, beliefs, customs, and societal norms that we can’t possibly cover in one article.

With that said, if you’re entranced by the Hispanic culture, we urge you to keep learning! The more you learn about the Hispanic people and their culture, the more you’ll appreciate the language.

In the comments below, we’d like to ask you a favor. Tell us something unique about your culture that not many people know about. We all have diverse backgrounds and we think it would be amazing to share some of our customs with others!

Leave a Comment: