Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

The world is full of stories and experiences that allow us to experience life through any variety of lenses and Hispanic Heritage Month is one of these times that we can focus on learning more about Hispanic Culture in the United States. 

Although Hispanic Heritage has been celebrated nationally to varying degree and in various iterations since 1968, the current timing of Hispanic Heritage Month has interesting roots and explanations as to why it actually runs from 9/15 - 10/15 rather than in a normal calendar month.

The timing of Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations. September 15 was chosen as the kickoff because it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of five Central American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Those five nations declared their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821.  Additionally, Mexico, Chile and Belize also declared independence in September. 

From 1968 until 1988, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan all issued the yearly proclamations, setting aside a week to honor Hispanic Americans. In 1987 U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California proposed the expanding the observance to cover its current 31-day period. Torres wanted more time so that the nation could “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.”

In 1988, Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois), submitted a similar bill that successfully passed Congress and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988. And on September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush (who had been a sponsor of the original Hispanic Heritage Week resolution while serving in the House in 1968) became the first president to declare the 31-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

In the decades since, National Hispanic Heritage Month proclamations have been made by every sitting president of the United States.

As you are out and about, swing by Rediscovered Books and check out our Hispanic Heritage Month displays.  We have some amazing pieces of fiction, non-fiction, and cookbooks to help you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and I guarantee that you will find a read that strikes just the right chord with you.