Latin America - DIVERSITY OF CULTURES | Coursera Community
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  • 1 May 2019
  • 4 replies

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Latin Americans and Hispanos-Key facts
§The terms Hispano and Hispanic are different. Hispano is a more open term that makes reference to all countries, including Spain, where the Spaniard language and culture are notable.
§Hispano and Hispanic derived from Spain, which derives from Hispania. According to the Spaniard Royal Academy, Hispanic refers to those inhabitants of the old Roman Hispania (inhabitants of iberica peninsula) and citizens of Hispano-American countries, including Spain and Spanish speakers in America, Africa, Asia, and those inhabitants in the United States who come from some of those countries.
§Hispanoamérica is a term mostly used by the Spaniards. Latin America or América Latina is mostly used among the Hispano American countries. These terms are not synonym.
§Latin Americans are Americans as they belong to the American continent.
§Since 1970, the US National Census uses the term Hispanic for any person of Cuban, Puerto Rican, South or Central American descent, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. The Census gives importance to the identification of a person with the Hispanic culture regardless of the race, descent, and ethnicity.

Latin American Culture
What is culture?
  • A simple definition of culture refers to all that express the way people live within a society or group. This includes the cosmovision of that people.
  • From the perspective of cultural psychology, culture is the set of interrelated values, tools, and practices shared by a group of people who have a sense of common social identity. The cultural world views involve several psychological processes such as cognitive and personality. It is said that psychosocial processes are strongly influenced by them.
  • Horton and Hunt defines culture as everything socially shared and learned by the members of a society. From the perspective of social sciences culture is learned, social, shared, transmitted, continuous, integrated, new cultural traits are added, is changing and varied from one society to another. (Farook, 2011).

How Latin American Culture is defined?
  • Latin American culture is the formal or informal expression of the people of Latin America and includes both high culture (literature, art) and popular culture (music, art, dance) as well as religion and other customary practices.
  • Diversity is a characteristic. Therefore, it is right the reference to Latin American cultures.
  • Many cultural influences, such as:
  1. Pre-Columbian cultures which remain intact among indigenous communities such as the Quechua, Maya, Aymara, in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
  2. Spanish and Portuguese cultures because of the history of Colonization (Spain, Portugal, and UK).
  3. The culture of Africa because of the history of slavery in several countries during the colonization period. These influences are notable in dance, religion, music, and cuisine of Cuba, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and coastal Colombia and Nicaragua.
  4. Immigration in the XIX and XX centuries from several European countries changed some countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. There was also Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese and Filipino immigration that influenced the culture of some Latin American countries.
What I do love about my culture
  • Diversity of cultures and ethnicity.
  • The presence of several indigenous communities with their own languages, beliefs, practices in several countries, including Nicaragua.
  • Rich literature, poetry and music.
  • Music, dance, art, cuisine.
Popular traditions
  • Many are religious, catholic celebrations
  • Popular traditions, such as piñatas and 15 birthday parties or songs exist in many countries, including Nicaragua.
  • Güegüense, theater and dance from Nicaragua. This master piece was acknowledged as an intangible heritage of humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization since November 25th, 2005.

Find out more about Cultural Connection Week and view other people’s posts about their cultures here.

4 replies

@Rose Mary Vega , this is so excellent, such a thoughtful description of your diverse culture. I enjoyed reading about the children game Dona Ana. Is this played in schools, or just by groups of local children?
Also, I had heard about a special party for 15 year olds, but know little about it. Why 15? Only girls? What happens at this party? Thank you .
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Hi Judith,

Ian glad you liked it. Thanks for taking time to read me. Doña Ana is played by children everywere, at home, at he school, or in some street of the neighborhood when they get together.

Families celebrate the 15th birthday. Parties are more common for girls. This is a party where boya and girls are invited and they use formal, elegante dresses. The girls who is 15th, dances with her daddy at the beginning of the party. They use to dance vals, however, kids dance all type of music after dadduws and daughters danced.

Some countries celebrate the 16th years old. In Nicaragua, we celebrate the 15th year birthday. Not all girls dress pink color, I chose yellow for my dress. My daughter chose orange. Some girls prefer to do something different rather than having the party.

About traditional games played by children, there are so many, I just gave examples.
@Rose Mary Vega , thank you for your responses.We used to have many more children’s games than we do now. That might be because I don’t live in a city any more so there aren’t as many children around. In the city children could walk down their street and find many others to play with. Dona Ana sounds like it must be fun. Do children play this on their own, or is it organized by adults for them?

Here, there used to be a tradition when a girl turned 16, called “sweet sixteen”, and there would be a similar type party as you described. I don’t think this happens very often any more. Is it fairly common for a 15 year old to have such a party? You and your daughter must have looked very beautiful in the yellow and oranges dresses. It sounds like a wonderful time.
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I really like how detailed your presentation is, @Rose Mary Vega! And I appreciate that you shared both things that you like and dislike about your culture! It's very easy for outsiders to see another place through a romanticized lens, where we focus on the lovely aspects of a culture. But I'm pretty sure that every country and every culture is complex and has its own challenges. Often these challenges are only visible to people who have an intimate knowledge of that place or culture, of course. Thank you for taking the time to share about your experience in Nicaragua!