–Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated September 15th through October 15th, honors the rich culture and multifaceted traditions of Hispanic-Americans whose ancestors hail from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America. Recognizing their countless achievements and essential roles that helped shape America into what it is today, it is a time of great festivity and joyful ceremony.
Beginning in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, Hispanic Heritage Month originated as Hispanic Heritage Week. September 15th was chosen as the inaugural date as a way to commemorate five countries’ day of independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It later grew into a month-long celebration in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan, signed it into law on August 17, 1988. The Latin American observance of Columbus Day, called Dia de la Raza (“day of the race”), occurs on October 12, within the celebration period.
Given the wealth and variety of cultures participating, there is much to embrace during this festive time. Latino art is exhibited, films are screened, music is performed, crafts are featured, regional food is indulged, and key figures from history are memorialized for their pivotal roles in the American narrative, including:
- Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic female astronaut
- Oscar Hijuelos, awarded the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction—The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
- Roberto Clemente, baseball player inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973
- Bill Richardson, Governor and former congressman, Cabinet member, Ambassador and U.S. Presidential candidate
- Sonia Sotomayor, first female Supreme Court Associate Justice
…and many, many others.
With so much culture worth celebrating and historical role models to admire and emulate, Hispanic Heritage Month offers the opportunity for Hispanic Americans to take pride in their past as they continue to help sculpt the present and dream of even brighter futures.
The colorful postcard above is perfect for posting or sending to someone special who is celebrating their rich heritage this coming month.