About My Hispanic Heritage


Ivy Lagarto, Design Editor

Being born into a Hispanic family has shaped the course of my life and my personality today. My relatives taught me the significance of my Cuban and Honduran culture, emphasizing the importance of exercising our traditions and celebrations in daily life. My culture has influenced my childhood environment, experiences and the person I grew up to be.. As Hispanic Heritage Month nears, I take pride in my origins and value the way they sculpted me into who I am today.

One of Latino culture’s main principles is familism. In a study by the American Sociological Association, familism is described as a concept in Hispanic families that promotes the needs of the family over one individual. This concept consists of sharing goals, family retention and supporting one another. The ASA also found that familism and practicing cultural traditions that encourage wellness can promote mental health and physical health.

As a child, I spent the majority of my time at family parties; I was usually playing with my cousins while the adults were playing dominoes, dancing and chatting together. If not, I wandered around and spent time with family members, sometimes begging to play a round of dominoes with them. Family parties are a core memory for me: falling asleep in a random family member’s bed, dancing to our cultural music, the food cooked by my father for our relatives, the games we played, the conversations we had and many more precious memories highlight a prime experience of my childhood as a Latina. 

Having a family to endlessly support me has undoubtedly advanced my physical and mental health, and having my loved ones by my side always gave me a sense of security. Growing up in a family-oriented environment also built up my loyalty and discipline. Familism taught me to put my family over everything and that nobody would be there for me the way my family would. The tight bond I have with my relatives motivated me to consistently pursue the opportunities that they never could, such as proper education. 

Knowing the sacrifices my family made by immigrating to the U.S. and abandoning everything they had for a better life encourages me to pursue my studies to make my family proud. Research shows that familism promotes discipline and better performance in school. An obligation for children in many Latino families is to take education seriously, as family members who were denied that opportunity continuously emphasizes the importance of education. The role that family has played in my life continues to motivate me to prioritize my studies to achieve the best possible future and someday be able to provide for my family the way they provided for me.

Latino traditions influenced my life in more ways than I know. Unity with my relatives as a child made me more open to meaningful bonds in life and cultivated my capacity to love – making me want to grow as close as I can to those I care for and to support and protect them in any way I could. Family integration has made me strive to be the best person I can be for my family and friends. 

My mannerisms have also been impacted by my culture, as Hispanic people tend to be very affectionate. I was taught to give a kiss on the cheek whenever saying hello or goodbye, always ask how somebody is doing upon greeting them and to be physically affectionate even with those I just met. Even if it’s just a hug, physical acts are my way of showing affection, and I could even say this practice has impacted my love language. Today, I see this tradition influenced my values, a primary one being to provide compassion, respect and honor to others. My heritage has played a big role in forming my personality and self-expression, and everything I was taught comes down to my cultural rituals, thus sculpting the basis for my character. If I were not Cuban-Honduran, I fully believe that I would be an entirely different person. 

Latino customs also influenced my beliefs and foundations. The manner in which I was raised gives me a desire to raise my children in a similar way. I wish to express the importance of my culture and our language to my future children, instilling the traditions that I hold dear to my heart. In the same sense, I shall provide and protect my children the way my family did for me, making every effort I can to give them the family unity and chances that I was fortunate to have. Because of the customs ingrained in me, I will do everything in my power to teach my children profound love, politeness and integrity — hoping that someday they will continue the cycle. 

With Hispanic Heritage Month inching closer, I am endlessly grateful to have been born into a Cuban-Honduran family. I admire my family for all they have done for me, and the sacrifices they have made to provide me with possibilities that they were never offered. My culture means everything to me. Without my heritage, I would miss a big chunk of my identity – which is why I deeply appreciate my culture and hope to reflect on the positive effects it has had on me in the future. My understanding of life and my way of being has been shaped by my Latino culture and I would not have it any other way.