What Is National Hispanic Heritage Month?

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Every year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15th through October 15th. This month-long event celebrates the many vital contributions that Hispanic people have made to the world, and its focus spans all realms of life. Read on to learn all about National Hispanic Heritage Month.

How is National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated?

There is no one way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. In New York, some colleges host panels, film screenings, poetry readings, and guest speakers that reflect on Hispanic contributions to society. In Washington, D.C., residents and visitors often enjoy festivals featuring Hispanic food and entertainment. In many smaller cities and towns, local Hispanic organizations may host community events and honor their area’s most important Hispanic people.

What are some of this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month highlights?

As National Hispanic Heritage Month began, the American Indian Museum at the Smithsonian Institution hosted the indigenous musical act New Inca Son, a group devoted to preserving traditional Andean melodies in their art and educating people, especially younger audience members, about indigenous culture. Over the weekend, the Library of Congress hosted a Latinx Culture Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. During this event, attendees created and revised Wikipedia pages about Hispanic people and culture. 

Is there a group in charge of National Hispanic Heritage Month?

Often, with semi-formal holidays such as National Hispanic Heritage Month, a group resembling a board of directors establishes annual themes, activities, and awards. In the case of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the following government organizations collaborate to oversee and celebrate the occasion: the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Why do such differing groups play a part?

The answer to this question ties into the goal of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The month’s goal is to recognize and reflect on the many people of Hispanic heritage who have made hugely positive strides for national and global society. Such achievements span many types of media, explaining why artistic, educational, and archival institutions are involved with the occasion. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is ostensibly involved with National Hispanic Heritage Month since Hispanic people still often face bigotry similar to the hatred directed at Jewish people before and during the Holocaust. The National Park Service is involved since many national parks include sections dedicated to influential Hispanic figures and cultures.

What is the difference between Latinx and Hispanic?

It’s worth noting that this month is titled National Hispanic Heritage Month, not National Latinx Hispanic Month. Though often conflated, Hispanic and Latinx (the gender-neutral term for the perhaps more familiar “Latino” or “Latina”) do not mean the same thing. Latinx people have ancestry in Latin America, but not Spain. Hispanic people may have ancestry in Spain and other Spanish-speaking regions. This distinction is why some demographic surveys include the term “non-Hispanic white” and “Hispanic white” – many Spanish people are Caucasian and not at all Latinx, making them Hispanic and white.

How do you plan to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month? Sound off in the comments!

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