Since 1988, the United States has celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Most of the time when we honor a specific heritage over 30 to 31 days, it takes place within one month, but not National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Why does this celebration occur during the last half of September and the first half of October? The answer lies in what we are honoring in that 30-day period.
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. But National Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t only honor Mexican-Americans. We also celebrate the histories and cultures of Americans with ancestral backgrounds from Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Many of the countries in those areas celebrate significant days that fall between the 15th of September and the 15th of October. For example, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica all celebrate their independence days on September 15. Chile celebrates on September 18.
On October 12, many of these Spanish-speaking countries celebrate día de la raza (Day of the Race), which is referred to as Columbus Day in English and the U.S. On this day, we remember what happened after Christopher Columbus landed in the now-Bahamas. Notably, the multi-cultural society we live in today is the result of the blending of European and indigenous cultures throughout North, Central, and South America.
These are just four dates in Hispanic history, but due to the importance of each of them and the celebrations we hold around them, the United States observes National Hispanic Heritage Month in this unique manner as the 30 days between September 15 and October 15.
At YOU Parent, we encourage you to share these stories of independence and celebration with your children. How have you honored National Hispanic Heritage Month? Tell us in the comments below.