National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period in the United States where Latinx and Hispanic American contributions to the promotion and growth of their heritage and culture is recognized. With over 55 million Latinx/Hispanic Americans living in the U.S, it is a time where their presence and importance is not only recognized, but celebrated! NHHM lasts from September 15th until October 15th.
Having just started out as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, the commemorative week was expanded to a month long celebration and enacted into law through the sponsorship of Representative Esteban E. Torres and President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988. The reasoning behind the decision to have NHHM start on September 15 was because of the independence days of 5 Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) that are celebrated on that day. These 5 Central American countries gained their independence in 1821. Throughout the month long celebration, a plethora of other important dates occur such as the independence days of Mexico and Chile on September 16 and September 18 respectively and Columbus Day which occurs on October 12.
Latinx/Hispanic people have had a long standing presence in American history and are integral to the image of America today. To put into perspective, the first North American settlement was established at St. Augustine, Florida by the Spanish in 1513. That’s over 94 years before the first English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia!
If you would like to learn more about Latinx/Hispanic history or heritage and join along in the celebration, please visit http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.