Hispanic Heritage Month: What is it and why is it celebrated in the United States?
15 September saw the start of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, but do you know what it is and the history behind it?
Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived. Year on year, America dedicates an entire month to pay tribute and commemorate the impact of Hispanics in the United States. It began on 15 September and ends on 15 October. Let’s find out more about it...
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hispanic Heritage Month “celebrates the contributions of Americans who have their roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.”
As of July 1, 2022, around 19.1 percent of the US population belonged to the Hispanic community, which represents around 63.7 million inhabitants, being the largest racial or ethnic minority in the country.
When did Hispanic Heritage Month start in the US?
The origin of this celebration dates back to 1968, when the country’s Congress and, later, the 36th president of the country, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed an executive order to create the Week of the Hispanic Heritage.
Two decades later, in 1988, the week-long celebration was expanded to an entire month, spanning from September 15 to October 15, thanks to an extension order proclaimed by the country’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan.
The celebration period is historically significant since on 15 September most Central American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua - celebrate their anniversary of independence. In addition, the date is also a nod to Mexico and Chile, countries that, in the same way, celebrate their independence in September: On 16 and 18 September, respectively.
The states with the most Hispanics in the USA
According to the Census, the US states that have one million or more Hispanic residents are: