What to Know About Hispanic Heritage Month, Running Now Through Oct. 15

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is a celebration of the culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans

National Hispanic Heritage Month — celebrated from September 15 to October 15 — is a time to celebrate "the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America," according to the official government website. Here's everything you need to know about the rich and diverse month-long observance.

Hispanic Heritage Month
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Why Is Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15?

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated starting on September 15 because it is a day that marks the independence of multiple Latin American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all celebrate their independence from Spain on September 15. Additionally, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16 and Chile on September 18.

Which Countries Are Included in the Celebrations?

Hispanic Heritage Month
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic Heritage Month honors and celebrates those who "trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean." That means that the month-long celebration includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

When Did the U.S. First Start Recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month
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California Congressman George E. Brown was the first to propose the idea to Congress in 1968. In September 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the observance of Hispanic Heritage Week, which was consequently lengthened to a month by President Ronald Reagan in August 1988.

In September 1989, President George H.W. Bush was the first president to declare that Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 would be Hispanic Heritage Month, saying "Nurtured by their rich ethnic heritage and inspired by their faith in the principles upon which this country was founded, Hispanic Americans have continued to make their mark across the country and in virtually every aspect of American life."

What Is the 2022 Theme for Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month
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This year, the theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation." The theme "encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation," according to the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers website.

How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

Hispanic Heritage Month
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Hispanic Heritage Month is about learning and celebrating the rich and diverse culture that comes from the many Spanish-speaking countries and territories. Here are a few ideas for celebrating:

  • Support Hispanic-owned small businesses.
  • Take a dance class. Dance is a huge part of Hispanic culture, with many countries specializing in different types of dance. From merengue to bachata, the possibilities are endless! Grab a friend, choose a type of dance, and get those feet moving.
  • Learn to cook a Hispanic dish. Choose a country, find its national dish, and give it a try!
  • Support Hispanic artists and art. Whether you read a book by a Hispanic author, listen to music by a Hispanic artist, purchase physical art from an artist you admire, or choose a TV show that highlights Hispanic culture, Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to support your favorite Hispanic artists or support up and comers.
  • Visit a museum that highlights Hispanic culture (virtually or in-person).
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