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Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States from September 15 through October 15. The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month is to honor the cultural contributions made to American society by people of Latin and Hispanic ethnic backgrounds, as part of a concerted effort to celebrate the multicultural richness and diversity of the American landscape. Originally, the festival covered only one week, but was expanded into a month-long event in 1988, during President Ronald Reagan's second term in office.

The Evolution of National Hispanic Heritage Month

The first official celebrations revolving around Hispanic culture in the United States were launched in 1968, when Hispanic Heritage Week was launched by President Lyndon Johnson. It was originally intended for people of Spanish, Mexican, Central American and Caribbean heritage, and the September 15 date was retained when the observance was expanded into a month-long event in 1988. It is an important date in many North American Spanish-speaking countries, as numerous Hispanic nations gained their political independence on September 15, including El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Mexico's national holiday is on September 16, while Chile's falls on September 18. Also, it is worth noting that Columbus Day, which marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World, is on October 12 and thus falls within the boundaries of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, a specific theme is chosen for the observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. In major cities throughout the country, cultural events are organized around that theme, including concerts, exhibitions of artwork, literature and poetry readings, film festivals, historical pageants and re-enactments, and more. While it is a national event, the richest array of activities can typically be found in major urban centers with significant Hispanic populations, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Whether or not you're of Hispanic heritage, the event offers great opportunities for learning more about the cultural diversity that has made America what it is today. Participation in National Hispanic Heritage Day celebrations is a rewarding and engaging experience that can help you gain a more complete appreciation of what it means to be an American.

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