Hispanic and Latino Traits

Sharing with Grand Parents and Family Takes Top Priority

Yes, there is an undeniable thirst to know and understand Hispanic and Latino Cultures more than ever. Why is that? Simple: More and more people are aware these cultures are here to stay due to healthy growth from different sources, and most important of all -it is transforming American culture and our way of living.

Family Is The Most Important Aspect of Latino Lives

We grow very close to our immediate and extended family. The elderly play a major role in giving advice to the adults and helping raise the youngsters. We appreciate and respect them deeply. When our parents grow old, we consider them our responsibility.

One of the most amazing Hispanic and Latino culture facts is the level of responsibility we feel for other family members. We help each other when we are experiencing poor health, economic trouble or simply need a hand to raise our children.


Visiting my family in 2003

The picture shows a typical family “asado.” A weekend reunion where we dance, cook meats on the grill and share as a family. Believe me…many of my cousins did not fit in the picture!

I still remember my sister coming to NY to help me for a month when I delivered my son. She has two children of her own and the grandparents took care of them while she was helping me here.

We Pass Down Traditions from Generation to Generation

For example, it is very normal to have several members of the family with the same name. Naming our children after grandparents and parents is fairly common, and that is how Hispanic baby names carry tradition.

Many of the traditional celebrations revolve around religion, but others don’t, like receiving the New Year and saying goodbye to the old one by “quemando el Año Viejo” which means “burning” the old year which is represented by a human size rag doll stuffed with fireworks.

Music and Dance


2006 Oruro Carnival in Bolivia
Picture by IraxIrax

Music and dance are very important elements for special occasions and everyday life! We love to get together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, baptisms, first communions, graduations, and weddings all around music and “baile” -dance.

Parties last a long time by American standards, most of the time more than four hours. Special occasions are an opportunity to show our intense passion for enjoying life.


Spanish is Key in Hispanic and Latino cultures

There are variations from country to country in grammar, lexicon, and pronunciation of letters like the ll, z, and y. Therefore we have many different dialects.

Keep in mind: There are Latinos who do not speak Spanish like Brazilians. They were colonized by Portugal and speak Portuguese.

In the U.S. many Hispanic and Latino families speak only Spanish at home because we live with grandparents who did not assimilate to the American culture or because we want our children to speak Spanish as well as English. Language continues to be an important vehicle for keeping our heritage alive.

Sharing with Grand Parents and Family Take Top Priority

Sharing with Grand Parents and Family Take Top Priority

Hispanic culture has a wealth of carnivals, holidays and festivities to enjoy music and dance. Many of these carnivals last days and are rooted in ancient Andean mythology like the Oruro Carnival in Bolivia.

Sense of Community Prevails in Hispanic and Latino Cultures

We like to identify ourselves as members of certain groups like country of origin, a soccer team, the idols we love, etc. We are very loyal to them. We feel very proud of our heritage, and consider famous Latino people ambassadors of our culture.

Religion Is a Vehicle to Express Our Faith


Easter procession in Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia.
Picture by Marcela Hede

There is no doubt that Catholic influence on Hispanic countries is strong. Hispanics and Latinos are mainly Roman Catholic although even this is changing.

The culture places a lot of faith in the saints, the Virgin Mary, and patrons of certain causes. Praying, lighting candles, and believing in God are fairly common practices.

Easter, “cuaresma” or lent, Christmas, Three Kings, visiting the seven temples during “cuaresma”, praying the “mil Jesuses” -the thousand Jesus, etc., are some examples of the religious celebrations and traditions.

One of the most known Hispanic and Latino cultures characteristic is that religion plays a strong influence in political and spiritual matters. This is likely because until recently in some countries of Latin America there was no separation between church and state, making the Roma Catholic religion “the official one.”

Social Graces

Punctuality is not our strong point. Hispanic and Latino cultures are lax about being on time.

Proper attire is commonly used for going to church and all religious celebrations as well as the parties afterwards. These traditions seem to be less common in Latinos that have been in the U.S. for a while, therefore taking some cues from American culture.

Hugging, kissing on the cheek, gesticulating with our hands, and using the proper respectful titles to address adults and the elderly are fairly common practices in Hispanic and Latino cultures. Laughing loud and playing music at high volumes during parties are also part of the culture.

Do you know that visitors don’t have to announce themselves days in advance? Instead we are pleasantly surprised by an unexpected visitor. Like we always say “Mi casa es su casa” -my home is your home-, therefore you don’t need an invitation!

Hispanic and Latino cultures are becoming a powerful force characterized by openness, happiness, and strong traditions that are infiltrating our daily lives.


  1. Jorge Jose Guevara says:

    This is a great post! I do agree that family and traditions are important to Latinos.. as well as customs like music, food, dance and spending time with people, regardless of the cost or occasion. It’s good to have passion about many aspects of life… and enjoy our culture with each other and everyone else!

  2. Same goes with Filipinos.

  3. Sebastian Mayorga says:

    Great article! I completely agree with everything said in there since being Latino myself i know exactly what all the components mention in the article mean. I am currently writing my senior thesis for my undergraduate in psychology on the effect the Latino culture has on our personalities. Having said that, is there any research, scholarly articles or books you know of that I could use as reference? If you can get back at me with anything I would highly appreciate it! I am very proud of our culture and I wish to spread knowledge about it to my fellow classmates and professors. Muchisimas gracias!

    • Marcela Hede says:

      Hola Sebastián. I don’t have any white papers or research I can recommend. However, if you do a search in Google for “effect of Latino culture on personalities white papers” you may find some possible useful results. Thanks for commenting and I would love you to write an article for this site about your findings after you finish your thesis. Let me know.

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