The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) celebrates Hispanic and Latin American culture from September 15 to October 15. Throughout this time of the year, Hispanic heritage is honored by sharing the historical significance and the contributions of Hispanics and Latin Americans.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a legislation to establish Hispanic Heritage Week. After 20 years, Rep. Esteban Edward Torres, a Mexican-American legislator, submitted a bill to expand the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Week to a month.
September 15 was purposefully chosen as the beginning of the commemoration because it is the date in which five Latin American countries celebrate their countries’ independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras.
Although HHM lasts 30 days, it is important to highlight Hispanic and Latin American identities at all times. And with that, I am not just referring to Hispanics as a whole. Instead, I am referring to the particular cultural, historical, ethnic and traditional differences that characterize each specific Hispanic identity.
In other words, the Hispanic population is not a homogenous group of people who have the same cultural backgrounds. We share the same language and even similar historical circumstances, but we are not just an ethnic category.
Hispanic culture is not only rich in cultural beliefs, but it is also complex and diverse. So, if you truly want to celebrate HHM, you might as well just be aware of the distinct characteristics associated with the broad spectrum of Hispanic communities. Besides creating awareness, you can do other activities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, such as learning/practicing Spanish, cooking up a new Latin American dish, or supporting Latino-owned businesses. These are simple yet effective ways to actually start honoring Hispanic identities and contributions.