Spanning from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is in full effect. This is a month dedicated to highlighting and celebrating Hispanic history, culture, and achievements. While the starting and ending dates may seem a bit odd, Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15 because it is independence day for several Hispanic and Latino countries. A few of those countries include Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala. In addition, Chile and Mexico also celebrate their independence days during the duration of this month. Hispanic History Month initially started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968; however, in 1988, the week changed into a 30 day celebration.
Hispanic Heritage Month has a changing theme each year. The theme for 2022 is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. This year focusing on intersectionality and honoring the strength in diversity. The theme was created by Ily Soares, the supervisory accountant at Farm Credit Administration. The point driven by Soares is one of representation. She believes when all voices are represented the outcome of crucial decisions is more inclusive and advocates for the needs of people who more often than not are underrepresented. In a quote from Soares she states, “We call on citizens of this nation from all walks of life to look around and welcome new voices to the table. This will help us build stronger communities and in turn, a stronger nation.” Being able to recognize the strengths of different types of people and weld them together is what this year’s theme is all about.
As previously mentioned, several Hispanic and Latino countries observe their independence day during Hispanic Heritage Month, invoking much celebration in those countries and for others from said countries. The days are filled with festivals, parades, country-wide singing, dancing, good food, and oftentimes the history of their independence is recounted in schools. In Costa Rica and Guatemala, there is a torch running ceremony that takes place on the night of September 14. It is called Antorcha de la Independencia. During this ceremony a symbolic torch travels from Guatemala over the border into Costa Rica’s capital. The relay is to symbolize the news of freedom reaching Costa Rica in 1821, a month after Guatemalan independence, when it was a part of the Guatemalan kingdom. For more information about independence day in Hispanic and Latino countries check out: https://dmh.lacounty.gov/blog/2021/09/national-hispanic-heritage-month/
As one of the fastest growing minority communities in the United States, the culture cultivated by Hispanic people is something to be highlighted. There are numerous ways to support and appreciate that culture this month. This can be researching Hispanic artists, supporting small businesses run by Latinos, learning new food recipes, and gaining an education on the countless impacts that have been made by Hispanic and Latino people. It is crucial to recognize and appreciate the different perspectives and strengths that the Hispanic community brings to society. As the theme for this year’s Hispanic History Month brings to light, inclusivity creates a possibility for a stronger nation.