Amazing Kids! Magazine

Inside Hispanic Culture

By Briana Ramirez, age 15, California

 

Culture is a way of expressing to the world your roots of where you come from, what you believe in and your own opinions. Culture has elements which can help it be defined by language, religion, traditions such as holiday celebrations, music, and dances. Every culture has a specific group that follows and shares similar attitudes, beliefs, morals and opinions allowing their culture to be represented throughout their actions and personality. Culture values set standards which serve their followers as guidelines for social living, it helps them decide what is desirable, worthy and beautiful. Therefore, allowing your culture to be considered as a connection to your past and also a guide to your future.

Being a Latina visiting various different parts of Mexico has been one of my family’s yearly traditions. It is important to my family that I am not only aware of our cultural beliefs, but that I also get to observe and experience the Hispanic culture from within. One thing I noticed is how being honorable, not only to yourself but to your family name as well. is very important because in the Latino world part of your respect is earned from having a pure last name. “Honor among Latinos is highly valued. It means not bringing shame to your family or family last name.” (Figueredo) Latinos are a very united family which honor each other and teach children to do so as well. “Latinos are oriented towards their group, family, versus an individual. Their children are very well loved and are taught that the good of many comes before the good of a single person.” (Figueredo)  A Hispanic family believes and expect to see their loved ones happy before themselves. This code of honor has continued to be passed on to various generations and many Hispanic families manage to allow their children to follow this code of honor at a very young age. This valuable code and element of Hispanic culture will continue to be taught to following generations ahead.

Language is considered to be the key to the world of culture, a system of symbols which allows people to communicate with one another. Without language in a particular culture it would simply not be complete. Ideas and beliefs would not be able to be spread thus isolating the creation of a new culture altogether. In Mexico, the Spanish language has dominated the region ever since the Spaniards conquered in 1519. Now in 2015 90% of Mexico’s population is Spanish speaking. Although, there are several new languages that are dominating the world around us such as English, Hispanic parents frequently encourage the Spanish language, causing it to become their child’s first language as well.  This idea of spreading your language is important, celebrating many of the Hispanic traditions without knowing the language would be heartbreaking. It is honestly wonderful to visit an area where everyone speaks the same language. In America, English has obviously become a dominant language, but we have so many other languages like Korean, Spanish, and Japanese etc. Due to the diverse population in America there are constant conversations in different languages causing a separation between our diverse societies. However, in Mexico it is simply one general language, Spanish. Regardless of where you go in Mexico everyone will speak this similar language, there will generally not be any side conversations in a different language. Every child is able to communicate with one another whether they are arguing or sharing a simple joke. This dominant language is able to wonderfully join together every citizen of Mexico and allow them to chatter about whatever they desire.

Another key element of culture is religion. The majority of Hispanics are Catholics. “The Catholic culture believes that sin explains a lot, maybe even everything, about why the world is the way it is. Because of human beliefs and shape of the human history.” (Scott) Attending church is a part of Latinos’ weekly routines. Many of the Hispanic cultures’ celebrations are influenced by their Catholic religion. Every village in Mexico has a saint they praise by dedicating a yearly festival to admire their loyalty to this saint. For example in La Laguna Grande the village hosts a festival consisting of games, trampolines and rides in which they admire the saint San Miguel Archangel every year on the 29th of September. As a child I remember having the greatest time of my life at these festivals. Although it didn’t compare to an amusement park or the LA county fair, it was filled with everyone I saw as my second family. My friends and I would always wander throughout this festival discovering and eventually buying different treats. Most of all we loved spending our entire afternoon on the two story trampoline. This festival not only allowed my friends and I to have lots of fun, but it also helped us learn about the importance of our religion and emphasized our faith on this certain saint. Another famous tradition celebrated on November 1st would be el Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead. During this day we host a festival in which we admire those that are no longer with us in the world. The festival contains various music genres such as the traditional Corridos, Banda or Mariachi. It will also have a performance of Folklorico which is a traditional Mexican dance. One very popular art, tradition, and national sport that takes place more than once throughout the year is a Charreria. A Charreria is a festive event which incorporates many competitions where one must use several different techniques to trap a bull while on a horse. This event also consists of food, music and many other dancing performances. The practice of this national sport usually begins at a young age. Many children soon begin to love the sport because they are usually following in their father’s footsteps and also they instantly enjoy the contact with the animals. La Charreria is known as a uniting factor among several Hispanic families and attracts a variety of people from very different social and economic backgrounds. All of these festivals manage to gather some of our closest friends and family and allow everyone to have an amazing time while they praise those they love, enjoy themselves, and dance their hearts away.

Culture defines our world and the society we live in by allowing everyone around the world to be unique and different in their own way. Culture has allowed people to express themselves and their country by their actions. Beliefs, language and traditions such as holiday celebrations, dances, and music are the key elements which make up culture. Culture has also contributed a change around the world due to the fact that certain cultural motives have changed our society’s way of life. Culture, specifically Hispanic culture, has now become an essential part of our wonderful, creative world and will continue to remain that way in the several generations that follow.