Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

Traditions, Too, Can Be Undocumented Immigrants

There are considerably more ‘Days’ in the year than there used to be.  The biggest single driving force behind this fact is probably the Hallmark Card Company. 

We already had Labor Day, Memorial Day and the like, in addition to regular old birthdays and anniversaries.  Over time the list grew to accommodate Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day, Valentine’s Day and other celebrations which were specifically introduced into the calendar at a certain moment in history, and now appear to everyone to be “traditional”.  Even more recently we’ve had the introduction of Secretaries’ Day, Teachers’ Day, Postal Workers’ Day and other gratuitous salutes to a bewildering list of “deserving” groups.  All these Days do wonders for florists and the greetings card industry.

Pi has observed in previous blogposts that humanity has a strange habit of inventing “traditions” where none existed before.  One of the strangest is also a foretaste of the ongoing Hispanicization of America.  It’s called the Quinceañera.

In many Hispanic families in the USA there is a ‘tradition’ (actually one of those made-up traditions) of throwing a huge ostentatious party for your daughter when she turns 15 and starts wearing high-heeled shoes.  Add up the venue and entertainment cost, the band , the puffy white dress for the lucky little girl and the princeling uniforms for her brothers, and the bill for a Quinceañera celebration rapidly flounces past $10,000.

A sizeable market of services has already grown up around these 15th-birthday celebrations.  In Texas, 200 Hispanic girls turn 15 every day.  In another 15 years it will be 300, implying a national figure of around half a million a year.  The Quinceañera is not common to all US regions or Hispanic countries of origin, so not all those little princesses will be getting a fairytale coming-out party.  But the numbers make this new ‘tradition’ a pretty noticeable cultural phenomenon nationwide.

The really bizarre thing is that it is now also being taken up by families in the Anglo community, (as Hispanics call their white Anglo-Saxon neighbors).  Presumably little white girls have started getting jealous of the attention lavished on their morena schoolmates.  Quinceañeras are becoming the new “Sweet Sixteen” parties in places like Texas.  This trend from nowhere may have something to do with conservative Texan parents’ enthusiasm for the principle of teenage sexual abstinence pledges.  Or it may be just an excuse for a glitzy party.

Either way, it points to the inexorable  Hispanicization of the USA.  One in five adolescent Americans is already Latino or Latina in origin;  in 25 years, the proportion will be one in three. 

Get ready for more puffy white dresses and teenage girls dancing with their daddies.   

Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: USA / North America Product –