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LATINX TRADITIONS: New or Old?

December 18, 2020

Traditions are a vital part of the fabric of society, and they are especially strong in groups that are embedded into a greater, more established group.

The concept of tradition itself, encompasses many different areas of life and is rooted in the ​​way of doing those things that society considers -as subconscious as this may be- important to be kept and nurtured. That’s why they are transmitted from generation to generation. 

 In the case of immigrants, as a matter of survival, traditions cannot remain as a monolithic group of values, but an organic interchange of behaviors that go both ways.  

 In the US, Latinx traditions have created a constant exchange between the established and new coming cultures, and a fascinating case of multicultural communications. Because no matter how rich a country becomes by being multicultural, it also needs to create a homogeneous sense of belonging in order to thrive as a country.

Therefore, communicators, -including us marketers- have to take into consideration the many nuances that are at play. Because it is not a matter of communicating with Mexicans, or Puerto-Ricans, or Americans. But with Latinx as individuals.

 That cultural exchange has proven to be particularly rich regarding the Latinx Community.

 We have discussed before in our Advertising free of labels and prejudice blog post,

that there are no Hispanics outside the US. It is a diverse community with its own dynamism and characteristics, as it is constantly receiving new cultural injections from different countries from Latin America.

A Puerto Rican, a Mexican, an Argentinian, do not share the same traditions! Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) people know Latinx in the U.S. have many different cultures, -according to a PEW Report – And they have been mixing with the American traditions. In a nutshell, Latinx are creating new traditions in the US. 

The understanding of the values’ nature in this new culture, Latinx traditions, is what will secure successful intercultural communications. The moment we take a step back to look at the big picture of the Latinx traditions, we discover a fascinating cultural tapestry of intertwined old and new traditions, some close to the originals, other transformed, and even some that were not that present in every day’s life. They take on a new meaning and importance once the person is immersed in the unknowns of the U.S. American culture. 

Over time we have started to display with pride certain traditions from their tierra, re-adopt them, and share them with su gente (their people), even if when back home it was not as widely celebrated.  Like “Día de la Independencia”,  the home display of “Altares de Muertos”,  or the “Rosca de Reyes” baked and shared on Epiphany.

One of the clearest examples is the Hispanic Heritage Month parades, although non-existent in any Latin American countries, they take place in every city or town where there is a Latinx community. They are an important way of maintaining unity and individuality within the US. An identity, which is so important to Latinx, and reinforces the pride of who they are: a bilingual and bicultural force that is not going to disappear. It does not mean separatism though. It just means “we are from here but we don’t forget where we come from”.

Hispanic traditions may include many activities, from religious to gastronomic or festive.

We all have been exposed to these. Some are part of our own heritage, some others come from our neighbouring countries, because they come from Mexico, or Puerto Rico, or any of the many countries represented by immigrants. 

No matter how many of those important traditions feel very close because of their common past, – Spanish-Speaking and Catholic cultures, sometimes even with some elements of pre-Columbian cultures, – Latinx Traditions are more than that:

 Like Día de los Muertos! That actually is a very interesting mix of pre-columbian and catholic traditions with US grandeur, like the celebration in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Or the epitome of the Hispanic new tradition, that has little to do with their own countries of origin, is the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. -Strictly a Hispanic American “tradition” as it is only celebrated in the US and it is mainly a political or even marketing creation. As the number of Latinx have been rising dramatically, it has been made a general celebration of Mexican-American culture, where Latinx, marketers and party goers celebrate alike. It can have more or less a political tone, but it is more an occasion for a “fiesta”, fun and food, with no deep meaning, because it is not a cultural inheritance, it is not rooted in a show of respect or love for their ancestry,

As a Latinx group ourselves, Hispanic traditions are part of the fabric of our lives. They are part of our cultural identity. They materialize the patterns and beliefs that make up the character of our culture and what we stand for when creating your content.

Because you know, everyone deserves good advertising, hasta nosotros los Latinx!

 

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