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Tradional and Non-tradional Cultures 1
Traditional and Non-traditional Cultures
Angie Barranco, Bob Stark, D. Toloszko, and T. Stangl-Sweet
Diversity and Cultural Factors in Psychology PSY450
Nissa Ziesler, MA, LMFT
November 8, 2010

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Tradional and Non-tradional Cultures 2
Traditional and Non-traditional Cultures
The Hispanic and the United States culture have both similarities and differences.
Although the United States culture is seen as nontraditional because of the numerous cultures
that migrated their beliefs, values, and behaviors here; it does share similarities with the
traditional Hispanic culture. Traditional cultures tend to maintain their traditional beliefs in
religion, holidays, learning methods, and rituals leaving no room for ambiguity. Nontraditional
cultures such as the United States are open to change in evolution and innovation, and also
highlights the control a person has over personal freedom and independence. This paper will
explain in detail how the Hispanic traditional culture and the United States nontraditional culture
compare and weigh against each other in their beliefs, values, and behaviors.
Traditional Hispanic Culture
Traditional cultures typically exist within the confines of either local or regional
boundaries. In the United States populations of traditional cultures are typically seen in specific
geographic locations such as the Mormons in Utah or Hispanic neighborhoods in urban areas.
Traditional cultures are prone to be narrow in focus and relatively inflexible in regard to the
dynamics of the particular culture. Traditional cultures provide an unambiguous outline of
expected cultural conduct and leave little room for behavioral variation. Traditional societal
beliefs with respect to religion, rituals, etiquette, Holidays and celebrations, eating habits, and
learning methods tend to be black and white with little room for interpretation (Devy, 2010).
The traditional Hispanic culture is no exception.
The most important social unit in the Hispanic culture is the family. To say the family is
close-knit would be an understatement. A Hispanic family consists of the mother, father, and

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Tradional and Non-tradional Cultures 3
children. Also included is the extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and
sometimes even close family friends. The figurehead of the household is the father, whereas
accountability of the house falls on the mother. Members of the family consider themselves
morally responsible and obligated to help other family members in need whether it for financial,
health, employment, or other concerns. Large family gatherings are commonplace especially for
holidays, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, Quinceaneras, and graduations. Hispanic children are
well-versed in providing respect for authority and their elders, manners, honor, and integrity.
Preservation of their native Spanish language is also of high importance (Clutter & Nieto, n.d).
Traditional Hispanics are typically quite formal in their interaction with one another. A
firm handshake for men and a quick kiss on the cheek are common greeting practices among
friends and family members. The Spanish language even offers both formal and informal use of
the word “you.” Conversation among family members is usually boisterous, animated, and laden
with numerous hand and body gestures. Personal appearance and grooming is taken in high
esteem. Formal dress is often present at most Hispanic gatherings. Punctuality is not a Hispanic
strength, and arriving late is socially tolerable. Most traditional Hispanics are Roman Catholic,
which is demonstrated in their daily behaviors (Clutter & Nieto, n.d). Religious and popular
holidays are reasons to celebrate with gusto.
Hispanics also have unique eating habits. Breakfast is typically a light meal. Lunch is
usually the main meal of the day. In some countries it is common for family members to come
home for two hours during the day to be together for this meal. La siesta is the customary knap
time taken after the large mid-day meal. The final meal of the day is taken as late as 9:00 p.m.
and consists of a beverage and light snack. Family discussion often follows meals to converse
about the day’s events (Clutter & Nieto, n.d). Hispanics love to gossip. One other unique

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