Hispanic Heritage Month


Daphne Agredano and Evelyn Fraire

September 15 is the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. It lasts for 31 days, ending on October 15. Hispanic Heritage Month honors ancestors of American citizens who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. It also is a means to educate people about Hispanic culture.

History of Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanics happen to be the earliest people to explore and settle in the New World, which is now known as the United States of America.

In 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was the year that President Lyndon Johnson decided it would become a weeklong celebration. President Lyndon Johnson said, “The people of Hispanic descent are heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land.”

This weeklong celebration kept going until in 1988. President Ronald Regan extended the weeklong celebration to a full on 31 days. Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 through October 15. It corresponds with National Independence Day of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Along with Mexico, who celebrates on September 16th, Chile on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st.

The struggle with deciding what to call Hispanics/Latinos

Before President Johnson decided on the term Hispanic, there was a lot of controversy with the government on how they should refer to Latinos in the United States. We were usually called Hispanics or immigrants, but not many of us were not fond with that term. The reason being it felt like a term that was just forced upon us by the U.S. government. We were seen mostly as foreigners and invaders because we weren’t viewed as Americans.

Culture Appreciation

We all share the same language and culture identity, however each one of us is different from one another. We all carry our own background, traditions, dance, food, dialects, and history. Today, Hispanic language and culture are visible in most areas of America. It is important to acknowledge the contributions made by Hispanics throughout Hispanic history.

Reasons to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

We observe Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the contributions and accomplishments of Hispanics who have motivated others in life. October 12 is “El Día de la Raza” which translate to “The Day of the Race.” People celebrate this day by gathering  different races from Mexico, Central and South America, Spain, along with Native American ties such as Mayan, Aztec, and Inca.

How this special day is celebrated

  • Festivities
  • Delicious food
  • Dancing
  • Art shows
  • Community gatherings

We are descendents of strong independent people and we stand by what we represent.