More than One out of Ten U.S. Hispanics are Unfamiliar with American...

More than One out of Ten U.S. Hispanics are Unfamiliar with American Holidays, Survey Says

Halloween, Thanksgiving Top the List


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Minneapolis, MN–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–October 3, 2007–With the holiday season almost upon us, fully 15 per cent of the nation’s 40 million Hispanics – or six million people – likely will not be celebrating, this year. The reason: Basic unfamiliarity with traditional American holidays, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. That fact was one of various key findings made by Synovate Market Research last August, when it polled 500 U.S. Hispanics at various levels of acculturation. Another was that an overwhelming majority of them (65 per cent) would welcome learning more about the holidays as a way of improving their lives. Seventy-five percent opted to take the survey in Spanish.

General Mills commissioned the survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 per cent, as a way of gauging the need to make American holidays come alive for the Hispanic community. Since 2006, the Minneapolis-based food giant has been embarked on a unique, Hispanic-focused outreach program designed to help Latina moms better navigate the acculturation process. The program, “Que Rica Vida” (“What a Rich and Wonderful Life”), revolves around a series of grassroots activities each year, as well as a free, quarterly, Spanish-language magazine and web site, http://www.quericavida.com, filled with tips and information on such topics as health, education, meal occasions and holiday celebrations.

“We believe familiarity with basic cultural traditions, such as holidays, constitutes an accurate indicator of a community’s or an individual’s level of acculturation,” said Rudy Rodriguez, Director, Multicultural Marketing, General Mills. “In that regard, this study’s findings will greatly assist us in executing our overall Hispanic strategy, as well as in identifying those areas of everyday life on which we need to continue focusing.”

One holiday on which the Qué Rica Vida initiative will focus this year will be Halloween. In Los Angeles’ densely Hispanic Boyle Heights neighborhood, General Mills has partnered with the non-profit Lucille Beserra Roybal Youth & Family Center to celebrate the occasion in a big way. With the support of such brands as Yoplait Yogurt, Green Giant Corn on the Cob, Progresso Soups, Nature Valley Granola Bars, La Lechera Flakes Cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios, Totino’s Pizza Rolls and Betty Crocker Cookie Mix, the company will join the center in throwing a major Halloween “block party” in the center’s parking lot. The festival will include such relevant seasonal activities as celebrity ghost-story readings, a celebrity-judged costume contest, pumpkin carvings, holiday cookie decorations, photo opportunities with such well-known General Mills equity characters as “Buzz the Bee” and “Sprout,” and of course, a huge haunted house. Famed Latina costume and fashion designer Alicia Lawhon, whose clients include dozens of Hollywood stars, has donated a one-of-a-kind couture Halloween ensemble for the occasion, which will be raffled among the more than 1,000 neighbors expected to attend. General Mills will match her donation with a $5,000 cash gift to the Roybal Center.

“We truly want to bring Halloween alive for the community,” said General Mills Hispanic Marketing Manager and Que Rica Vida Magazine Editor Ursula Mejia-Melgar, who added that in March, “we plan to throw an equally festive Easter bash in Houston, in conjunction with our community partner there, the Tejano Center for Community Concerns.”

Other interesting findings of the Synovate survey included the following: Of the 85 per cent of respondents who demonstrated some level of familiarity with American holidays, almost two-thirds (57 per cent) mentioned the Fourth of July. Additionally, 55 per cent said it took them approximately two or more years of living in the country to become familiar with U.S. holidays, while for 24 per cent, the time was four years or more.

More than One out of Ten U.S. Hispanics are Unfamiliar with American Holidays, Survey Says