The month of September is Hispanic Heritage month. So what does this mean? Hispanic Heritage month is a time when we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanics have had an overall positive influence in the American culture. Because of their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Along with the social influences, Hispanics have also contributed greatly in food, architecture, politics and education. Even the language has been influenced significantly over the years. Hispanics have contributed in government and the military where they have served with pride and dignity rising to the highest ranks in both.
Hispanic Heritage month began back in 1968 and the date was chosen based on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12. In reality although Hispanic Heritage month is supposed to be September it actually runs from September 15, through October 15.
When we speak of Hispanics or Latinos, we refer to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
Today over 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin making them a significant part of what makes America what it is today.
In the years to come Hispanic Heritage month will surely become more prevalent as the Hispanic population grows.