Hispanic Heritage
Social Customs

Social Customs
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.05

     challenging words:    ancestry, chaperone, unhurried, unmarried, genuine, consideration, distinct, directly, lower, lowest, chaperones, dating, opposite, rancher, journey, remain
     content words:    New World, Many Hispanic, Senor Don, Senora Dona

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Social Customs
By Jane Runyon

1     When Spanish explorers and soldiers came to the New World, they brought many of their own customs with them. The church became a central part of the lives of natives and new settlers alike. Laughter, singing, and dancing also played a big role in the lives of all of the people. Life was simple. Life was unhurried.
2     Let's first look at the consideration the people had for each other. There were distinct classes of people in early Hispanic culture. The high class, the most respected, were from Spain or directly descended from upper class Spanish settlers. The lower classes were made up of two groups. The first group was called Mexicans. The Mexicans were mostly descended from the soldiers who had come to the New World. Many of these soldiers had married Indian women. Some of the Mexicans could trace their ancestry to the Aztecs. The third, and lowest class of people, were the native Indians of the country. These people were the laborers. They did all of the hard work that no one else wanted to do.
3     What could you expect if you were a visitor traveling through Hispanic territory in the 1600s through the 1800s? There were no hotels to stop at. If you were to come across a village or ranch, you could expect to be treated with great friendliness. You would be welcomed into any home. You would never offer to pay for your room and food. That would be embarrassing to the home owner. You would be given a fresh horse to continue your journey. Your old horse would be left behind. The owner didn't ever expect to see his horse again.
4     When you went to bed at night on the road, you would find silver coins on the table by your bed. You were expected to take what you needed for the rest of your journey. You wouldn't even think about paying the owner back.
5     If you were a rancher and lost a bull from your herd, your neighbor would give you one of his. You would pay him back if you were ever able, but it really didn't matter if you did or not.

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