French Cultural Rites and Customs
The interviewed person is French. She states that an important custom or even ritual is getting together to have dinner. She stresses that inviting people to such dinners can also be regarded as a ritual. An invitation to a dinner should be seen as an admission to a community. French people put a high value on their families, close friends, and the entire nation. Therefore, the invited person is excepted to appreciate it. In other words, a small gift is expected from the new person. The gift can be a bunch of flowers and some sweets. The gift can depend on the extent to which the invited person knows hosts.
The interview emphasizes that flowers also play a significant role in the life of the French. She claims that this attention or even affection towards flowers can be explained by French people’s focus on everything beautiful. Thus, there are certain conventions concerning flowers, so (if there are any doubts), the invited person should ask the seller of flowers about the perfect bunch for the occasion. Furthermore, French people are proud of their wine, so it can be a bad idea to come with this product, especially if it is foreign (unless the hosts are interested in tasting them).
This cultural peculiarity of French people can be explained by their focus on the challenges their nation faced and their contribution to the development of society. Tomalin (2013) states that French people are still proud of their ancestors, who gained liberty and created their democratic republic. The sense of community is central as people still believe that together they can change the world. Inviting a stranger to their community is quite a serious step, and it is expected that the invited person will share certain values.
Chinese Cultural Rites and Customs
The interviewee is Chinese. Since he has recently been invited to a wedding, he decided to speak about Chinese weddings as an important cultural custom. The interviewee emphasizes that marriage is one of the most important milestones in a Chinese person’s life, which can be partially explained by Chinese society’s peculiarity. Chinese society is collectivist, which makes social ties crucial. Thus, marriage is regarded as a way to form new social ties. It is not only about the happy couple, but it is about their families as well. Young people do not usually get married without their parents’ consent.
Arranged marriages can also take place, but they are not common anymore. Before the marriage, the bride and groom’s families try to get as much information about each other as possible. The wedding is usually a lavish dinner party aimed at saving face and making relatives satisfied. Weddings are also events developed in accordance with the person’s status. The interviewee believes that the Chinese wedding is the time to show off. It is also the major milestone in the life of Chinese girls who start getting ready for this event quite early. The red color is a traditional color for the bride as it symbolizes good luck.
As the interviewee mentions, marriage is a way to build new social ties, which are crucial for the highly collectivist Chinese society. This occasion is also regarded as a way to show the family’s wealth and reveal its status. Perkins (2013) states that many families went bankrupts to arrange the traditional Chinese wedding, which resulted in quite strict laws in the middle of the 20th century. Families were discouraged from spending much, but the economic growth brought back the tradition to arrange expensive weddings.
Spanish Cultural Rites and Customs
The interviewed person is a Spanish female who chose to talk about Quinceañeras. The interviewee stressed that she loved this tradition as it revealed the way women are treated in Spanish society. Quinceañera is a party thrown by a fifteen-year-old girl celebrating her passage from childhood to womanhood. Relatives and friends get together to spend this day with the girl. The celebration often starts with a specific mass in the church and continues at the girl’s place. The girl wears a beautiful dress and receives many presents. This day is a very important landmark. The interviewee thinks that the celebration could have a different meaning in the past, but now it marks the end of childhood and even adolescence as the adult life begins. The interview like this tradition as it shows that females are regarded as equal members of the society as their passage to adulthood is marked in such a way. The interviewed person also mentions that the most touching part of the day is the girl’s dance with her father or brother.
Quinceanera is quite common in Latin America, especially in Mexico. According to Sanabria (2015), this tradition is not only concerned with such concepts as adult life and womanhood as the celebration is a way to show adherence to a particular ethnic, cultural, as well as social group. Mexicans see this custom as a way to reveal their respect to and maintain their nation’s traditions and customs. This day is one of the occasions for family members to get together as family ties are essential for Hispanic families.
Perkins, D. (2013). Encyclopedia of China: History and culture. New York, NY: Routledge.
Sanabria, H. (2015). The anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean. New York, NY: Routledge.
Tomalin, B. (2013). France – Culture Smart!: The essential guide to customs & culture. London, England: Kuperard.