Religion in Hispanic society

hispanic traditions and customsReligion is very important in Hispanic societies, with a whole host of religious symbolism and traditions.

Hispanics and Latinos are mainly Roman Catholic. Hispanic Catholics have faith in the saints, the Virgin Mary and patron saints of certain causes.

They pray, light candles and follow the many religious celebrations: Lent (Cuaresma), Holy Week/Easter (Semana Santa), the Immaculate Conception, Christmas (Navidad), Three Kings Day (Epiphany). They pray novenas to virgins or saints, which are prayers that last for nine days and are intended to solve particular afflictions or problems.

Religious symbols

Hispanic Catholics surround themselves by symbols of their faith: images of virgins, small postcards of saints, crosses on the wall, rosaries, and wall niches for religious images. In many Hispanic homes there is a portrait of “El Corazón de Jesús” showing a praying Jesus surrounded by thorns with a bleeding heart.

Nativity scenes

The traditional nativity scene or crib is highly popular in Latin America, and most homes have a pesebre, natividad, belen or crèche at Christmastime. The tradition started with the Spanish Catholic missionaries who made nativity representations in the main square of cities colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese.

Building the nativity scene is an important family event that starts on December 7, the day of the Immaculate Conception. Items are added each day to the scene, and baby Jesus is not placed in the manger until December 24. As well as the Holy Family, there are models of the Three Wise Men, a shepherd, an angel and animals such as an ox.



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