Hispanic Heritage Month has been a important annual celebration in the United States for over four decades, and it's a time when Americans all across the nation come together with pride and enthusiasm to emphasize the significance of diversity. Here are five key insights about Hispanic Heritage Month.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month is a national observance that pays tribute to the historical legacy, rich culture, and enduring influence of past generations hailing from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. This celebration traces its roots back to 1968 during President Lyndon Johnson's administration when it was initially established as Hispanic Heritage Week. Subsequently, President Ronald Reagan advocated for its expansion into a month-long celebration. On August 17, 1988, it was officially codified into law, designating the 30-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
When is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated?
Hispanic Heritage Month spans from September 15 to October 15, strategically beginning in the middle of the month. September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for five countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. It's followed by Mexico's Independence Day on September 16 and Chile's on September 18. Another notable date within this 30-day period is Día de la Raza, or Columbus Day, celebrated on October 12.
What does the term Hispanic mean?
Although many individuals use "Latino" and "Hispanic" interchangeably, they have distinct meanings. A Hispanic individual hails from or has ancestral ties to a Spanish-speaking country, whereas "Latino" refers to someone from Latin America or with ancestry from any Latin American nation. It's possible for a person to be both Hispanic and Latino, but not all Latinos are Hispanic. For example, Brazilians are considered Latinos, but their native language isn't Spanish, whereas Spaniards are categorized as Hispanic, but not Latino since they are part of the European Union.
Countries where Spanish is spoken and are regarded as Hispanic include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea (in Africa!), Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Latin American countries encompass Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
How many Hispanics are there in the United States?
According to the Pew Research Center, the Census Bureau estimated that in 2022, there were approximately 63.7 million Hispanics in the United States, marking a new record. They accounted for 19% of the nation's population.
How is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated?
During this observance, people celebrate the importance of Hispanics in the United States through fiestas, art shows, community gatherings, food festivals, and educational activities. This year, be sure to check out your local Hispanic celebration to explore new cultures and pay homage to the Hispanics who have left a lasting impact on our society!