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Hispanics or Latinos (Latinas for women) form 12% of American population. They are predominantly Spanish speaking Roman Catholics. American Latino Hispanic celebrations and gift giving customs have slight cultural variations but on the whole are similar to Christians in America. Some celebrations unique to the American Hispanic cultures are described below.
Three Kings Day (Día de los Reyes) is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on Jan. 6.
Three Kings or wise men or Magi presented the Baby Jesus with gifts of gold and frankincense. Though in Latin America traditionally gifts were given on this day but in these modern times in America many Hispanic cultures reserve their gift giving for Christmas holiday.
Some American Hispanic families try to follow the tradition and give gifts on both the days. Gift giving customs and traditions followed on this occasion is same as that for Christmas, where gifts for children things they desire such as games, CDs, baseball cards is important. Gifts are exchanged between the members of families and among close friends.
A popular part of Hispanic traditions is serving Rosca de Reyes - a crown shaped sweet bread decorated with candied fruits to resemble jewels in which tiny figures of babies are hidden to symbolize Jesus. Whoever gets the baby should host another party on or before Feb 2. This date is called El Día de la Candelaria or Candlemas.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, has its origins U.S. Congress proclamation designating the four week time frame as the National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month recognizes the many important contributions Hispanics have made to the United States.
The Quinceañera is the coming of age Hispanic celebration of Latinas on their 15th birthday. The tradition thrives, particularly among second and third generation girls of the American Hispanic society. Today, the Quinceañera celebration often is a lavish party that includes a mariachi band, a feast and many guests - much like a wedding. The young woman wears an elaborate dress in pink, white, light blue or lavender.
The invitees also adhere to Hispanic gift giving tradition and gift the Latina with a tiara, or items of religious significance such a bible or a prayer book or jewelry like a bracelet or a ring. According to modern American Hispanic society's tradition possible gifts could be a remembrance photo album, a flower bouquet, champagne glass set etc.
Written by: Grace Nancy