What Is Hispanic Heritage Month—and How to Celebrate It

29 Aug 2023 - Category: Blog /
hispanic heritage

National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important time in the United States to recognize the substantial influence, contributions, and rich history of Hispanic and Latino Americans. This month-long celebration honors the culture, heritage, and various significant anniversaries of Hispanic and Latino Americans—a group that has, for centuries, enriched the fabric of the United States with its presence.


When is Hispanic heritage month?

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15. The selection of these dates is significant, as September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

Hispanic heritage month facts

  • Hispanic Heritage Month started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, under Reagan's leadership, the holiday was extended to an entire month.
  • The terms Hispanic and Latino are used to describe people who were born in, or have family roots in, Latin American and Spanish countries. There are 20 different countries represented here from Latin America and the Caribbean, plus Spain, making this a rather diverse bunch.
  • According to the most recent census, Hispanics and Latinos make up about 20% of the U.S. population, making them the largest racial or ethnic minority in the country.
  • Many Hispanic and Latino Americans speak languages other than Spanish at home. These include indigenous tongues, Portuguese (in the case of Brazilians), and others.

When Is Hispanic heritage month 2023?

The dates of September 15th through October 15th, 2023, have been designated as Hispanic Heritage Month. This time is set aside to celebrate the rich heritage and myriad cultures that the American Latino population brings to the forefront.

Hispanic Heritage Timeline

  • 1777 - A Battle for Freedom.

The Spanish governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez, stood heroically by General George Washington's side that year. Together, they fought off British troops and were instrumental in winning freedom for the United States.

  • 1845 - Texas Joins the Fray.

Texas, having broken free from Mexican dominion in 1836, marked its presence by becoming the 28th state to join the Union.

  • 1945 - Brotherhood Beyond Boundaries.

World War II bore witness to the courage and valor of over 300,000 Latinos who enlisted in the American military, fighting valiantly for their nation.

  • 1960s - The Echo for Acknowledgment.

As the civil rights movement surged in power and prominence, there was a simultaneous, robust call to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the Latinx community.

  • June 1968 - The Dawn of Hispanic Heritage Week.

Thanks to the relentless efforts of California Congressman George E. Brown, the nation began observing Hispanic Heritage Week.

  • 1988 - An Expansion of Celebration.

While the observation of Hispanic Heritage Week was initiated under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, it was Ronald Reagan who amplified the celebration, ensuring it spanned an entire month.

  • July 1, 2019 - A Growing Presence.

A notable statistic emerges: The Hispanic population in the United States touches a staggering 60.6 million individuals, making them the largest ethnic minority in the country.

  • 2020 - In The Limelight.

In an admirable move, the U.S. Department of State emphasizes the indispensable contributions of Hispanic employees, showcasing biographies of those who have significantly impacted diplomatic initiatives globally.

Hispanic Heritage: Population, Significance, and Inclusion

The U.S. Census Bureau provides insights that are both illuminating and reflective of the demographic changes the nation has witnessed. As of 2020, the Hispanic population in the United States stands at an impressive 62.1 million. This number solidifies the Hispanic community's position as the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Over the decade from 2010 to 2020, more than half of the U.S. population growth was fueled by an increase in the Hispanic or Latino population. When deriving these numbers, it's important to recognize that they are founded on the Census' methodology, which involves a specific question that allows individuals to self-identify if they belong to Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.

ActivitiesHispanic Heritage Month Activities

During Hispanic Heritage Month, a variety of events and activities are organized across the nation:

  • Cultural Festivals: Many cities host festivals showcasing Hispanic arts, crafts, music, and cuisine.
  • Art Exhibitions: Museums may curate special exhibits celebrating Hispanic artists, or art influenced by Hispanic culture.
  • Literary Readings: Bookstores and libraries often host readings by Hispanic authors or about Hispanic experiences.
  • Educational Workshops: Schools and community centers might provide workshops on traditional Hispanic crafts, dances, or cooking.
  • Film Festivals: Various places showcase films by Hispanic directors, or those highlighting Hispanic themes.

How to celebrate Hispanic heritage month?

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a cherished tradition that pays tribute to the rich cultures and significant contributions of both Latino and Hispanic Americans. This period serves as a reminder of their key roles in molding the history and achievements of the nation.

Spanning this month, the festivities are vast and varied. It aligns with several other notable dates, including the independence days of many Latin American nations. As a result, the month is abuzz with vibrant concerts, colorful parades, delectable food fairs, and so much more. There's also a focus on education and remembrance, with art exhibitions being organized that spotlight influential Latino figures from the annals of history.

Whether you are of Hispanic descent or not, there are numerous ways to engage in the celebrations:

  • Learn: Read books or watch documentaries about Hispanic history, culture, or prominent figures.
  • Cook: Try your hand at traditional recipes from various Hispanic countries, or visit local Hispanic restaurants.
  • Participate: Attend local events, parades, or festivals that celebrate Hispanic heritage.
  • Engage: Start conversations about the importance of this month and the contributions of the Hispanic community.
  • Music & Dance: Explore Hispanic music genres like salsa, bachata, or mariachi, and learn traditional dances.

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