Influence of Diverse Cultures on Texas


Texas History Conservatism and Contemporary Texas Influences of Diverse Cultures on Texas
Students learn how the diversity of Texas is reflected in a variety of cultural activities, celebrations, and performances. They research a festival that celebrates an immigrant group's native culture. Then they define assimilation and give an example. Finally, they write a letter to a friend in the "old country" explaining how they preserve their cultural heritage in Texas.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn how the diversity of Texas is reflected in a variety of cultural activities, celebrations, and performances. They research a festival that celebrates an immigrant group’s native culture. Then they define assimilation and give an example. Finally, they write a letter to a friend in the “old country” explaining how they preserve their cultural heritage in Texas.

Students will collaborate in small groups for scene 2 and scene 3. Ensure that there are at least five groups. Each group will research one of five festivals: Charro Days Fiesta in Brownsville, Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Westfest in West, St. Patrick’s Day in Austin, or Bayou City Cajun Festival.

Note that there is no quiz at the end of this experience.

Objective:

  • Identify the influences of diverse cultures on Texas.




Ballet Folklorico at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio


Texas is a land of many different cultures. According to an article in the Texas Tribune, about eight million Texans over the age of five years speak a language other than English at home. A large majority of those—almost 85 percent—speak Spanish.


Can you guess what the third most common language is in Texas homes—after English and Spanish?

Post your answer

Based on the article As Texas Population Grows, More Languages are Spoken at Home, the third language is Vietnamese, followed by Chinese and Tagolog (spoken in the Philippines).


While it is important for the many different groups in Texas to work together, it is equally important for each Texas family to maintain its own cultural heritage. Many ethnic, racial, and religious groups share their heritage through special festivals, celebrations, and performances.


Ask students to share any holidays that express their family’s heritage. If your class is very homogenous, ask them if they have ever attended a celebration for a different culture. Give students time to share their personal experiences.


Divide students into their small groups for the next two scenes. You may assign each group one of the celebrations to research, or let each group choose one. Offer small groups the opportunity to choose another ethnic festival in Texas if they are interested in a different topic.

When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.


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