Celebrating Hispanic Culture

Posted by on Sep 12, 2022 in Current Events, People and Culture, United States

All ethnicities have unique cultures, histories and contributions. There are over 60 million people in this country who come from Hispanic origin. This month, from September 15 to October 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. All over the country, there will be events that aim to highlight the cultural impact of Hispanic Americans through educational and artistic exhibitions, cultural festivals and award ceremonies.

Who Are We Honoring?

hispanic woman displaying cultural portrait

Credit: Hill Street Studios/Getty Images;
Celebrating a cultural heritage helps enrich our understanding of the United States diverse history.

People of Hispanic heritage originate from both Spain as well as South and Central America. People of Latino decent, on the other hand, only indicate people from Mexico, South and Central America. The word Hispanic did not become commonly used until 1980 when the U.S. Office of Management and Budget started standardizing ethnicity statistics. Today, both terms are used interchangeably, with Hispanic being more popular in the eastern part of the country and Latino in the west.

Recognizing Hispanic and Latino heritage began as a week-long event under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1968, Congress designated the week of September 15th as a time to celebrate the culture and recognize the contributions of the Latino people to American life. This period was chosen because September 15 marks Independence Day for five Latin-American countries including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras. The following day, September 16, is also Independence Day in Mexico and Chile. In 1988, during the Ronald Reagan administration, Congress passed public law 100-402. This law authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation declaring September 15 through October 15 as “National Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Dig Deeper Do some research in your community media to see how Hispanic Heritage Month is being observed where you live.