Some Hispanics unfamiliar with American holidays

by Bryan Salvage
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MINNEAPOLIS ― A survey commissioned by General Mills, Inc., and conducted by Synovate Market Research, revealed that 15% of the nation’s 40 million Hispanics, roughly six million, are unfamiliar with traditional American holidays such as Thanksgiving.

General Mills commissioned the survey 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.

"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 of multicultural marketing for 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."

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

The survey was conducted in August and included 500 U.S. Hispanics at various levels of acculturation.

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