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Spanish Family Dynamics August 19, 2010

Posted by kvrensburg in Travel Log.

Horses at the Parade

June 8:

On Sunday I attended the Corpus Christi Parade. Not only was this an interesting procession to see, but it was also a spectacular people watching opportunity. These are some of my observations…

From what I have seen (and read) so far about Spanish families, it seems as if they are a very cohesive bunch.

For example, the children are not afraid at all to hold hands with their parents in public. And I mean children ranging in ages from young to even teenage and twenty something years. This to me is not so strange, because in South Africa it is very common to ho

ld hands, but in comparison to the U.S. it is quite out of the ordinary for teenagers to still be holding their parents’ hands.

Another factor that causes me to state that Spanish families seem very cohesive is the fact that many young adults live with their parents for many years. This is a stark contradiction to what is expected in the United States (We even have a movie that describes just this… “Failure to Launch”). To us, not being able to move out of your parents’ house indicates that you are not fully grown up. “Moving Out” is such a huge step of freedom that many American youth take. However, here in Spain it is perfectly normal to stay at home. Perhaps here, unlike the US, the majority of the juveniles live with their parents for economic reasons. In the US, the younger generation may live with their folks for economic reasons, but there is usually another factor at play as well.

So, from this tidbit about Spanish families, it may seem that ok, great, everybody gets along so well that the kids live with their parents without much fuss and everyone is just splendid right?

Another interesting thing I saw at the Corpus Christi Parade was how differently separate age groups acted in regards to the Valencian Flag and in regards to the parade as a whole. We went to both the 12 and the 7 parade, so I feel as if I have some sort of replicate to my observations… Anyhow, as the Valencian Flag came by, all the older people stood up and clapped to show their respect. And when I say all, I mean all. Even the little old ladies who I assumed would just sit and clap since they had a hard time standing got up and cheered. (And let me say this took some effort; some of them started to stand when the flag was still about a block away) I have to admit, seeing such respect for one’s nation/city gave me goosebumps. I remember saying to one of my friends that this parade reminded me of the Fourth of July, but that was because of the weather and large quantities of people. However, the patriotism also matched that of our American Independence Day, and this parade wasn’t even about any form of Spanish Independence!

But, not all were patriotic and respectful. The younger generation did not stand up and applaud as did the older ones. Most of them clapped (with an indifferent expression on their face), but very few stood. And the strangest thing to me was that the older generation didn’t do anything about this lack of respect. It was almost as if they considered this bunch of younger kids a lost cause.

This lack of a reaction was what surprised me the most. I thought that if you live at home, you would be closer to your family and also that you would have to follow home’s rules. That’s the big deal in the U.S about moving out, because then you are on your own and can do whatever you like and eat really sugary cereal for breakfast. However, here, there seems to have been a break between living at home and following the rules at home. Maybe that is how they are able to deal with growing up while still living at home?



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