National Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated during September 15th to October 15th. We celebrate and recognize the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic American citizens. It started as Hispanic Heritage week under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, and in 1988 President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month. September 15th is an important day because many Latin American countries gained independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. Five of those Latin American Countries are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Other Latin American countries also celebrate their independence day in September. Such as our closest neighbor, Mexico who gained their independence on September 16, 1810 and further down South, Chile on September 18, 1810. Belize was later added when they gained their independence from Great Britain on September 21, 1981. Did you know that Belize is the only Central American country that has English as their official language?
Fun fact: Every year each of these five countries continue a tradition to remember and celebrate their independence. A tradition that started in 1959, people carry a torch starting from Guatemala to Costa Rica in a relay marathon. They pass through El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The torch symbolizes the people who rode on horseback spreading the news of Independence across the five countries. The torch is lit at a monument in Guatemala city called El Obelisco about a week before independence day, finally reaching the old capital of Costa Rica, Cartago on the 15th. This a tradition that has been done over 50 times and continues to this day!
We use this month to celebrate cultures that have added and shaped our own. There are many Hispanics and Latinos who have contributed to our own history and culture and we might not even be aware of it! During this month the U.S. army honors and remembers the contributions made by Hispanics that have built and defended the country. The United States Navy also honors Hispanic sailors that have served. Did you know that Hispanic American military service dates all the way to the Civil War?
Hispanic or Latino(a) refers to people who are from Spanish speaking countries or have ancestry from Spanish speaking countries. Latinos refers mainly to people who are from Latin American countries.
Thanks for taking the time to read us.
If you liked our article and want more information about our programs for kids click here!