Monday, April 28, 2008

Of Hispanic Time, Calendars, and Tradition

Latin American calendars are a cultural tradition that can provide an interesting marketing tool to marketers in the United States. The notion that time has different dimensions for Hispanics than for other cultural groups is relatively well known. There are those who talk about "Latin time" and those who talk about "mañana." "Mañana" or tomorrow represents how many of us, Hispanics, think about what we need to do in life.

Tomorrow is a great time management tool because it allows one to postpone all things that are not emergencies, thus piling huge numbers of activities into a very small tomorrow. Tomorrow presents interesting possibilities as those who expect things tomorrow may forget about them or the activity may have lost interest. Thus tomorrow saves effort because one does not waste time doing things that tomorrow will show are not important.

Now, calendars represent a related but more complex story. Latin American calendars are not just for providing the date and to keep us organized. They are cultural icons that symbolize how we feel about time. Latin American calendars display cultural and historic pictures in their pages. They illustrate the past and the pride associated with it. In many ways, calendars are decorations that we cherish as we try to pile things up into tomorrow. We can see how much more time we have for enjoying the present. Looking at the calendar gives us a glimpse of the past that we respect, celebrate the moment, and look at a "mañana" that is slow to come.

I remember growing up with calendars that the grocery store, the butcher shop, the phone company, the electric company, the shoe store, the restaurant, and others had given my family at the end of the year. These were presents given to us so that we would remember those nice merchants that helped us decorate our walls with so many images of our tradition, our tastes, and our cultural pride.

Traditional Latin American calendars can be of great marketing value in this modern era, where Hispanics are still proudly honoring the symbology of their culture, while most others are just rushing into the future. Large and small marketers can establish an emotional bond with Hispanics by providing them with these traditional calendars as tokens of appreciation. They serve as a continuous reminder that a specific business or brand thinks about us and shares with us the images of our culture.

I have come across An exploration of this site will provide good examples of the different types of art and motifs that Latin American calendars offer.

While time flies for so many people, it is good to have a traditional calendar that can help us keep time still for just a little while.

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