Every year in the United States, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories and cultures of Mexico, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Spain from September 15 to October 15. This observation started under the Lyndon Johnson presidency in 1968 and was enacted into law (Public Law 100-402) by President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988.
Celebrations start on September 15 in honor of the anniversary of independence of various Latin American countries, including: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Following into September 16, Mexico celebrates their Independence Day and Chile follows on September 18. On October 12, Día de la Raza marks the last celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
It is important to recognize all the countries who form a part of this annual tradition, as they all influence and contribute to our overall history in the United States.
How can you and your family get started celebrating? Try discussing these conversation starters with your friends, club, and family:
- Who are some important figures you know who are recognized during Hispanic Heritage month?
- Are there any famous people who are recognized that you didn’t know came from a Hispanic background?
- Do you think some Latin American countries are more represented, than others, during Hispanic Heritage month? Why do you think that is the case?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roxana Cejeda is a 4-H youth readiness and new audiences outreach associate in the State 4-H Office. Roxana holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign and is passionate about building culturally relevant programs, and creating high fidelity 4-H programs. She currently develops 4-H programs to for minority youth and families. She has previously managed a National 4-H grant that focused in expanding a Latino youth and family program in Cook County, Illinois. Additionally, she oversees a group of youth annually that assist with the Illini Summer Academies, a state-wide 4-H event.