Every year, from September 15th to October 15th, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide in the United States. The reason it takes places during those dates is because it coincides with the independence days of six Latin American countries. This month-long celebration began in 1988 and it has given Americans the opportunity to celebrate the achievements, culture, contributions, and heritage of the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States. It allows the opportunity to promote the values of cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity that make our country so unique.
Hispanic Influence and Contribution
From science, literature, and politics to art, music, fashion, sports and much more, the Hispanic community has influenced and contributed to American society for decades. Its impact on society continues to increase today more than ever as some Latino Artists like Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny and Maluma have become part of mainstream top music charts. As of today, Hispanics are the second largest ethnic group in the United States, with more than 60.5 million Hispanics who refer to the United States as their home.
While the terms Hispanic and Latino are often used interchangeably, they have two different meanings.
- Hispanic refers to people who come from or have a Spanish- speaking background.
- Latino/a refers to people who come from any Latin American country.
There is a constant overlap between the two terms, people from Latin American countries like Brazil may also identify as Latinos even though their primary language is Portuguese.
Deep Rooted Traditions
Both Hispanic and Latin American communities have very different traditions depending on their geographic location, but at the same time they share multiple cultural similarities (besides having Spanish as their primarily language). This brings them together as one vibrant community who is characterized for having a strong value on family, friendships, and interpersonal relationships. For many Latinos, coming to the United States means hope, and another opportunity to provide their loved ones a better quality of life, even if that means leaving their family and friends behind.
We take this moment to celebrate those who decided to leave their home countries to look for better opportunities, and we commemorate all their accomplishments and contributions that past generations of Latinos have made to the United States. Though this influence of diversity can be reflected everywhere in our nation, these contributions are significantly special to Latinos themselves.
Join the Celebration
So how can we be part of this celebration? There are many ways to contribute to Hispanic Heritage Month and the Hispanic community itself.
- Support local Hispanic businesses
- Take in local Latin American cuisines
- Donate to Hispanic charities
- Learn about Latin American culture
- Research influencers who have made an impact
No matter the way you choose to honor and be part of this celebration, every effort and contribution counts. So, without further ado, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
This blog post was written by Media Coordinator, Melissa Onate.