September 15 through October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month. Originally observed as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Johnson, it was later extended to a full month in 1988 by President Regan. According to the Library of Congress, the month is set aside to observe the “histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.
These countries have significantly impacted the U.S. population. In fact, in 2020 the U.S. Hispanic population reached more than 62 million, or 18.7 percent of the country’s total population. According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2019, 80% of Latinos living in the country are U.S. citizens, including those born in the continental U.S. and its territories (including Puerto Rico), people born abroad to American parents, and immigrants from Puerto Rico, Spain, Panama, and Mexico who have become naturalized citizens.
The U.S. Department of Education has proclaimed this year’s theme to be “Building Prosperous and Healthy Communities.” In support of the Latino community, a calendar has been created, inclusive of in-person and virtual events, encompassing activities and celebrations hosted by various groups and organizations:
- September 15: Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff
- Week of September 19: Jobs and the Economy
- Week of September 26: Climate
- Week of October 3: Education and Investing in Hispanic-Serving Institutions
- Week of October 10: Mental Health and Wellness
- October 15: Last Day of Hispanic Heritage Month
During this month we hope you will have time to explore the rich culture and contributions the Hispanic community brings to the arts, business, politics, justice, sports, music, and of course gastronomy. Celebrate by exploring a multitude of wonderful foods, the various traditions, and music. ¡Vamos a celebrarlo!