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Latinos,Where Do They Come From ?

Updated on November 19, 2017


Italian,french,spanish,portuguese,romanian,most People from Central and South America,the Caribean, and Several More Regions of Europe are all "Latinos"

I was compelled to write this hub because of two recent encounters, one on youtube and one on hubpages,I have come across this situation many times before in day to day casual conversations with people from different backgrounds who usually are "Latinos" but have no idea whatsoever that this is so,mainly of italian descent which is where the term originates,i guess people of latin american origin in the United States at some point started to self identify as latinos meaning from latin america instead of hispanics as the term hispanic would leave out for example people from brazil who are not hispanic but lusitanian , from portuguese descendency,which makes sense, however what doesn't make sense is that people from Italy where the original "'latinos" come from have no clue they are such.Latin America means the America colonized by european countries whose languages derive from latin ,(romance languages=vulgar latin)latin being the language spoken by the Roman empire and born in the valley of Lazio in Italy and spread throughout the empire and therefore being the language from which italian, french,portuguese,romanian,spanish,catalan,and many other languages derive from.

The Hispanic or Latino Culture .

Understanding the Hispanic Culture .


Over the past 30 years, the Hispanic population has exhibited tremendous growth in the United States. Hispanics comprise about 11% of the U.S. population, including 3.6 million residing in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Approximately 31 million individuals are identified as Hispanics. The U.S. Hispanic population is projected to become the largest minority group by the year 2006. Seventy percent of the Hispanic population is concentrated in four states - California, Texas, New York, and Florida. Mexican is the largest ethnic subdivision of Hispanics in the United States, comprising about 63.3%, followed by Central and South American (14.4%), Puerto Rican (10.6%), Cuban (4.2%), and other Hispanics (7.4%).

Hispanic is a term created by the U.S. federal government in the early 1970s in an attempt to provide a common denominator to a large, but diverse, population with connection to the Spanish language or culture from a Spanish-speaking country. The term Latino is increasingly gaining acceptance among Hispanics, and the term reflects the origin of the population in Latin America.

Family Values

Traditionally, the Hispanic family is a close-knit group and the most important social unit. The term familia usually goes beyond the nuclear family. The Hispanic "family unit" includes not only parents and children but also extended family. In most Hispanic families, the father is the head of the family, and the mother is responsible for the home. Individuals within a family have a moral responsibility to aid other members of the family experiencing financial problems, unemployment, poor health conditions, and other life issues.

Family ties are very strong: when someone travels to another town or city to study or for a short visit (e.g., vacation, business, medical reasons), staying with relatives or even with friends of relatives is a common practice. Families often gather together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, baptisms, first communions, graduations, and weddings. Hispanic families instill in their children the importance of honor, good manners, and respect for authority and the elderly. Preserving the Spanish language within the family is a common practice in most Hispanic homes.


Spanish speakers tend toward formality in their treatment of one another. A firm handshake is a common practice between people as greeting and for leave-taking. A hug and a light kiss on a cheek are also common greeting practices between women, and men and women who are close friends or family. The Spanish language provides forms of formal and nonformal address (different use of usted vs. tu for the pronoun you, polite and familiar commands, the use of titles of respect before people's first names such as Don or Dona). In nonformal settings, conversations between Spanish speakers are usually loud, fast, and adorned with animated gestures and body language to better convey points.

Hispanics usually give great importance to and place great value on looks and appearance as a sense of honor, dignity, and pride. Formal attire is commonly worn by Hispanics to church, parties, social gatherings, and work. Tennis shoes and jeans, however, are becoming more popular among Hispanic women, particularly in non-formal settings. Hispanics tend to be more relaxed and flexible about time and punctuality than U.S. people. For instance, people who are invited for an 8 a.m. event may not begin to arrive until 8:30 a.m. or later. Within the Hispanic community, not being on time is a socially acceptable behavior. Hispanics tend to be reserved about public speaking because of their heavy foreign accent.

Rituals and Religions

In the Hispanic world, religion has traditionally played a significant role in daily activity. More than 90% of the Spanish-speaking world is Roman Catholic. In recent years, other faith denominations have experienced growth within the U.S. Hispanic community. The church influences family life and community affairs, giving spiritual meaning to the Hispanic culture. Each local community celebrates its patron saint's day with greater importance and ceremony than individuals do for personal birthdays. As in other parts of the world, traces of the religions of the Indians and African-Americans of Latin America are found in the Catholicism that Hispanics practice.

Celebrations and Holidays

Hispanic countries celebrate the more popular international holidays, notably Easter, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Day, and the Three Kings' Day. In addition, each country celebrates its El Dia de Independencia. The term fiesta nacional refers to an official national holiday; las fiestas refer to festivals - local, regional, or national - that may be held only one day or may last several days. Most holidays are centered on or have their origins in religion. Many celebrations of the Catholic Church are officially designated by the government as holidays. National government offices may be closed or have limited hours for local or regional holidays.

Eating Habits

In Hispanic countries, a light meal is served for breakfast. Lunch, referred as el almuerzo, usually is the main meal of the day for Spanish-speakers. In some countries, it is customary for adult family members and children to come home from work or school for about two hours to be together for this meal. La siesta, which is a rest period taken after lunch, is known to be a common practice among adult Hispanics. In the early evening, la merienda, a light snack of coffee and rolls or sandwiches, is served. This meal is often very informal and may be just for children. In the evening, often as late as 9:00 p.m., la cena, a small supper, concludes the day's meals. Once settled in the United States, most Hispanics adopt the three-meal system. Midday and evening meals are important family or social events. Especially when guests are present, the meal may be followed by the sobremesa, a time to linger and talk over coffee or perhaps an after-dinner drink. Usually when food or additional servings are offered to Hispanics, they tend to accept only after it is offered a second or third time.

Teaching and Learning Implications

To fully engage Hispanic audiences in the learning process, particular attention should be given to gaining and maintaining trust. Greater acceptance of educational efforts will occur by learners if Hispanic community leaders are involved in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of these educational efforts. Be aware that the physical distance between Hispanics when holding a conversation is much closer than in other cultures.

Exhibiting respect for learners is another important aspect of the Hispanic culture. Teachers need to pay individual attention to learners (e.g., greeting each learner, handing papers to each individual rather than passing them down the row, being sensitive to different cultures among Hispanics, writing educational materials at appropriate reading levels). Differences in educational levels, language skills, income levels, and cultural values among Hispanics need to be considered by Extension educators when planning educational programs. Even though Hispanics share the same language, their cultures may vary considerably.

Churches, local libraries, and recreational centers (with child-care arrangements, if needed) may be appropriate places to hold educational programs with Hispanic audiences. Among Hispanics, information is passed mostly by word of mouth. Grocery stores and churches are the main places people meet, visit, and exchange information.


Gessler. The Language Learning Center - Spanish. 1998. Hispanic culture capsules. Roanoke, Va. Gessler Publishing Co., Inc.

Noble, J. and LaCasa, J. 1991. The Hispanic way: Aspects of behavior, attitudes, and customs of the Spanish-speaking world. Chicago, Ill. Passport Books.

Rodriguez, S. 1995. Hispanics in the United States: An insight into group characteristics. Department of Health and Human Services. Web Site: http: //www/

Sanjur, D. 1995. Hispanic foodways, nutrition, and health. Needham, Mass. Allyn and Bacon.

Who Are Latinos ?

Who Are Latinos ?

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    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 3 years ago from Uruguay

      Gordan Zumar as you correctly point out those terms are mostly used here in the United States mainly because of the ethnic and cultural separation that exists .

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 3 years ago from Uruguay

      thank you for reading and commenting, you make some interesting and informative points.

    • Gordan Zunar profile image

      Gordan Zunar 3 years ago from New York

      The words Latino and Hispanic are only used in the Americas. For example in Europe you won't hear such words describing anybody but a person coming from Latin America (the word Hispanic is almost unknown in most European countries). As I understand it, Latino would be anybody who was born in or descends from a Latin American country (South or Central America, or as you said, all countries whose official languages come from Latin). Hispanic would mean a Latino who speaks Spanish (excluding Brazil, French Guiana, Haiti etc.) I would not call Italians or Spaniards or Romanians Latinos, unless they were born in a Latin American country, neither would I label people in Spain as Hispanics, since the terms Latino and Hispanic come from the Americas (South and North) and not from Europe.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 4 years ago from Uruguay

      I respect your opinion , but I think it's that ,your opinion, based on religious belief which may or may not be fully or partially accurate.In any case, thank you for your comment and for reading .light is born out of the confrontation of ideas.

    • theanalyzer profile image

      The Analyzer 4 years ago from Babylon The Great

      According to the bible your lineage goes by your father's bloodline, I will not accept any caucasian lineage, it is not mine, and to correct you on what you said, we are not latino's because if we were, the need for the term "Hispanic" would not be needed, which means property of spain. Hispanics are indigenous people to the Americas that came from Israel, we were conquered and destroyed because we broke God's covenant, if I go to spain and claim Spaniard blood, I will be laughed to scorn, we are not the same. We are the lost tribes of Israel

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      I don't understand. because that is what I say in the hub so I don't know why you disagree.

    • profile image

      Primo 5 years ago

      Ciao, get a good dictionary look up Latin. It says people of Latium. look up Latium,it says a region located in central Italy(Rome).Then says original home of the Latins. Dems da FACTS. enjoy the concrete buildings. Chi vi diamo doppo.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      Of course ,I thought I had already, we'll have to agree to disagree but remember the farther you are from your point of origin the smaller the differences with your neighbors, and although you may not realize it in the eye of the bigot and the zealot all who are different than him are the wishes from the garden state where immigrants are still welcome and don't have to answer to the question "papers please"

    • profile image

      rickylicea 5 years ago

      LOL thanks, yeah i know , I especially like their song maten a las ballenas.

      Well it seems that we're not going to convince each other. : )

      However after this battle you've earned a new follower, I hope you reciprocate.


    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      thanks for the link I love EL cuarteto have many of their cd's but you don't seem to realize what they do it's satire and sarcasm, not to be interpreted literally , good try though.

    • profile image

      rickylicea 5 years ago

      Right its called Latin America because all the countries had elites from Latin Europe. However that label was not meant for the non-European population.

      The most majority point of view among Criollos (whites) in Latin America, is that the people called hispanic and latino in the U.S. are NOT.

      In fact they rather resent being associated with them, as do the "indigenistas", here's a song from your patria, expressing such a sentiment.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      In my humble opinion you have a very narrow view on ethnicity,and the hispanic culture in particular. we who call ourselves latin american do have a common root wich is the spaniard conquerors that conquered and ruled central and south america who later mixed with indigenous and black population, of course there are differences between all of us but we come from a common root,there are differences among wasps too , but they have a common root there are differences between people from the east the west and the south in the US but they are part of a nation that is the US, Americans who live in europe for example are recognized as americans.regardless of the differences between them that we may be able to see.

    • profile image

      rickylicea 5 years ago

      Well so did pretty much everyone, except blacks, that doesn't make them part of the same ethnic/racial group.

      Its not that anyone group is better than another is just that there are different groups, In uruguay is mostly people of European descent, in the Dominican Republic its mostly mulattos, in Bolivia its mostly amerindian people.

      We just don't belong together.

    • YnezJim profile image

      YnezJim 5 years ago from Louisiana

      Well written, I enjoyed reading your hub. It described my family pretty well.. I'm curious though what do you think of the word Chicano? I notice not as many people using it and instead using Latino.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      that both of them had to immigrate to the US to provide a better future for their families.

    • profile image

      rickylicea 5 years ago

      The majority of "hispanics" in the U.S. are not real hispanics. When Spain ruled these parts of the world you had to be at least 7/8 Spanish to be considered hispanic.

      What does a Mayan indian have in common with a white cuban?


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