Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month starts Sept. 15 and lasts until Oct. 15. This is the perfect time to learn more about Hispanic history, make an effort to assist their cause, and celebrate the culture.

Why Does Hispanic Heritage Month Start in the Middle of the Month?

Instead of beginning on the first of the month, Hispanic Heritage Month is designated to start on the 15th because that date is significant in several Hispanic countries. On Sept. 15, 1821, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua declared their independence from Spain. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson dedicated a week to celebrate Hispanic Heritage, then Ronald Reagan extended it to a month in 1988.

During the month, those who identify as Hispanic can celebrate their unique culture through various activities from festivals to conferences to music and art gatherings. But you don’t need to be Hispanic to learn more and participate. Everybody is invited to join in!

Best Ways of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

If you’re interested in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some fun activities for you and your family to enjoy. Pick a few, or all of them, and put them on your calendar.

“Travel” to a Hispanic Country

With the internet at your fingertips, you can “visit” many Hispanic countries, cities and attractions without setting foot on a plane. A simple Google search returns exciting virtual tours of the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico, the Gal├ípagos Islands in Equador, the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve in Costa Rica, and Machu Picchu in Peru, just for starters. Enjoying these gorgeous, dramatic places gives you a wider viewpoint of Hispanic people.

Dine at Hispanic-Owned Restaurants

Take your family or significant other out for a fun dining experience to celebrate Hispanic food. Yes, there’s delicious Mexican food as an option. But why not get adventurous and see if you can find an El Salvadorian, Panamanian, or Argentinian dining establishment. You’ll be supporting Hispanic restaurant owners and expanding your taste buds at the same time.

Listen to Latino Podcasts

It’s easy and convenient to queue up some entertaining podcasts and tune in while you drive, exercise, or relax with your morning coffee. Find a few Hispanic-themed ones and add them to your schedule. A few to try are “What Would Freda Do?” “Latina Rebels Radio,” “Bitter Brown Femmes,” “Listening to Latin America-La Culture et les Arts,” “Latina without Borders” or “Nuestra America.” Chances are you’ll be entertained and gain insight into the Hispanic culture at the same time.

Tackle a Hispanic Recipe

Invite a handful of friends, neighbors, or co-workers over to dine on a Hispanic-inspired feast. Search recipes on Pinterest or try some from the Hispanic Kitchen. Nibble on braised beef in chipotle sauce, try your hand at homemade pupusas, or create a five-course tasting menu of Spanish tapas. Make refreshing paletas to devour for dessert.

Donate to the Cause

Use your hard-earned dollars to recognize and show your support for the Hispanic community. Donate to one of the many U.S.-based organizations that assist them in education, housing, finding jobs, fighting prejudice, staying healthy, and other ways that create a better life for the population. If you want to extend your reach beyond the country’s borders, you’ll find plenty of reputable nonprofits operating across the globe on asha.org.

Take Latin Dance Lessons

Several types of popular dance were born in Latin America. Grab your significant other, or a group of friends, and sign up to learn one of them. Even if you have two left feet, you’ll have a great time trying to master the steps of the festive Samba, sultry Rumba, or Cha-Cha.

Learn Spanish

You don’t have to go out of the country to benefit from knowing a few words and phrases of Spanish. Hispanics make up about 18 percent of the U.S. population and speaking and understanding the language would help you better communicate with those who live in your community. Find an online class or download a language app and commit to learning five to 10 words a day. By the end of the month, you’ll have expanded your Spanish vocabulary significantly.

Plan on a few ways to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this year and encourage your friends and family to join you in your pursuit. You don’t have to be Hispanic to benefit from learning more about their history and culture.