Hispanic Heritage Month (El Mes de la Herencia Hispana) was started in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, originally set to be just a week long celebration. However in 1988, it was expanded to 30 days by President Ronald Reagan. Hispanic Heritage Month lasts every year from September 15th-October 15th. September 15th marks el Día de la Independencia for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua thus it was a fitting day to begin a celebration for Hispanic Heritage. September 16th marks the Independence Day for Mexico, September 18th marks the Independence Day for Chile. While in the United States, October 12th is celebrated as Columbus Day, in much of Latin America it is celebrated as Dia de la Raza, or Hispanic Heritage Day. Since that time frame is filled with a lot of history, it serves as a great time to honor and celebrate the cultures of Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
So how do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
The first step is to understand the culture. Learn a little bit about your Hispanic counterparts whether that be through research or asking questions! With so many different countries making up Latin America, there is always new information about traditions, food, and culture. Whether through art, literature, or conversation, you are sure to enjoy some of what you hear. Check out one of these books by Latino authors!
Latin Music from Gasolina to Despacito has always made it into the hearts of listeners regardless of language preference. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, here is a playlist of all of our favorite latin hits. There is sure to be a song here you would love!
Without good music and good food can you even consider yourself Latino? Celebrate the delicious varieties of food from Latin America by hosting a potluck with friends. Everyone can bring a dish inspired by a different Latin American country! Don’t worry, we’ve got a few suggestions to get you started.
4. Movie Night
Not into food or dance? Why not host a movie night instead! Movies from Selena to Mi Familia all celebrate Hispanics and Hispanic Americans. Many films like Disney’s Coco (also on Netflix!!) will probably jerk some tears out between the smiles. Need some more ideas? Here is a list of great films to watch this month.
5. Speak Spanish!
Whether you speak fluently, proficiently, or not at all, a few words in Spanish can make you new connections whether that be through work, family, or friendship. If you don’t speak Spanish, try out Duolingo (a ~*free*~ language learning app) for the month to see how much you can learn! Even one word a day can make a difference.
Finally, if you are Hispanic/Latino, share your culture with others, let them know that you are proud of where you come from. Now is a time to celebrate, learn about different cultures, and break down barriers. Don’t be scared to try new things; embrace the differences and similarities that bring us together!