National Hispanic Heritage Month: History, Facts, Events & More

Every year, in the United States, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the influence that the Latin American and Hispanic people have had on the country. From music and literature to art and food, Hispanic Americans have enriched every corner of the nation.

When is Hispanic Heritage Month?

This year, National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sunday, September 15, and concludes one month later on Tuesday, October 15.

What is it about?

Throughout this month-long celebration of culture, organizations and museums—such as the Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, and the National Park Service—along with numerous schools, churches, and other venues will honor the importance and vibrancy of Latin American and Hispanic culture and people as they have deeply and beneficially influenced the United States.

If you are unable to attend one of the events held around the country, many organizations will host an online learning celebration through virtual exhibits and demonstrations.

Hispanic Heritage Month: How Did It Start?

The proclamation of the National Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” back in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.

A few years later President Gerald R. Ford further stimulated participation by declaring promulgation in 1974 that directed schools and human rights organizations to participate fully in that week.

Finally, on August 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan reemphasized Ford’s proposal for a more all-inclusive recognition of Hispanic Americans that lengthened the celebration for a 31-day period – from September 15 to October 15.

Who Celebrates it?

This month pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Each year, Across the United States, Americans celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central, and South America.

During this month, the independence days of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile form part of the celebration.

Is National Hispanic Heritage Month Confusing?

Should it be National Hispanic Heritage month or months since it starts in September and ends in October? Regardless, that’s the least confusing part about Hispanic Month. Check this video out!

19 Facts About Hispanic Heritage Month

Here are some Hispanic Heritage Month facts you can share with friends and family:

  • The United States will be the first Spanish-speaking country in the world in 2050.
  • Octaviano Larrazolo: The first Hispanic woman U.S. Senator.
  • There are 1.2 million Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
  • Before Plymouth, Massachusetts, these Hispanic cities were founded: Augustine, Florida, and Sante Fe, New Mexico.
  • The Hispanic population to reach 110 million by 2060.
  • 58.9 million is the Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2017.
  • Oscar Hijuelos: The first Hispanic writer to win a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Intermarriage rates among younger Hispanic adults tend to be higher than they are among older adults – About 28% of Hispanics (18 to 35 years of age) are married to someone who is not Hispanic, compared with 19% of Hispanics (ages 36 and older).
  • Ellen Ochoa is the first Hispanic woman astronaut to go into space.
  • States with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents in 2017 are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.
  • The largest Hispanic population lives in California.
  • Spanish is the second most-spoken language after English in the U.S.
  • Mario Molina, a Mexican immigrant to the United States, won the Nobel Prize for his crucial work in elucidating the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases.
  • English use is on the rise among young Hispanics. However, about 6 out of 10 say they use Spanish.
  • The first Hispanic member of the 1822 U.S. Congress was Joseph Marion Hernández.
  • Romualdo Pacheco: The first Hispanic U.S. Representative elected in 1876.
  • $47,675 is the median income of Hispanic households in 2016.
  • Carlos Juan Finlay found the causes of yellow fever in 1881.
  • Carlos Santana was the first Hispanic Rock & Roll Hall of Famer.

7 Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Ideas

The month to celebrate and honor Hispanic and Latin heritage is approaching fast, which why we want to give you some ideas for celebrating it with your friends and family. Especially if you have young children at home, it’s a great idea to teach them the importance of Hispanic culture.


Play traditional and contemporary Spanish songs and explain the most popular genre listened to among Hispanics. You can take this idea further by teaching about the most widely used music instruments in Spanish music.

Arts And Crafts

Another fun way to learn and experience the Hispanic culture is through exploratory art projects such as making a Mexican folk art painting, drawing the Nazca Lines from Peru, among other activities that inspire creativity and curiosity.

Movies And Series

Watching Spanish-speaking videos for educational or entertaining purposes is an excellent way to catch anyone’s attention. Visual immersion is a great way to evoke interest in Hispanic heritage, culture, and traditions. Accompany your movie with a traditional Hispanic snack for the full-on experience.

Food Tour

There are two ways to celebrate this month with food. The first one is by going on a gastronomic tour in your city. Try out the restaurants that bring the best flavors of Hispanic cuisine to the table. The other idea here is to find the best recipes for the most popular Hispanic foods and cook them yourself for you, friends, or family.

Country Displays

Design and manufacture inspiring, immersive country display boards to showcase the culture, geography, and traditions of your country.


Another great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage is to go on a travel adventure. There are hundreds of magical cities spread out throughout Latin America, Central America, and South America awaiting for you. Visiting a Spanish-speaking country for a few days or weeks is the most authentic way to experience Hispanic culture first-hand.

Support The Community

Show solidarity to your people. Sometimes newly arrived immigrants are subject to abuse, low living conditions, or even minuscule problems such as getting around the city or finding resources to support themselves. If you ever encounter yourself in a situation where you feel a Hispanic person in your community if being taken advantage of, help him or her.

Learn Spanish

Your ability to understand Spanish will enable you to get to know the culture and gain essential insights which monolinguals cannot. You can start learning Spanish through an app, YouTube, or even by practicing with your Spanish-speaking friends.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events & Activities You Can Attend

Here is a list of some of the most popular and most significant annual events for Hispanic Heritage Month you can attend in the U.S.

  1. Northwest Arkansas Hispanic Heritage Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
  2. El Barrio Latin Jazz festival in The Bronx, New York City
  3. The Smithsonian Institution hosts Hispanic Heritage Month events in Washington, D.C.
  4. Hispanic Family Festival held at Springdale Park in Springdale, Holyoke, Massachusetts.
  5. Latino Short Film Festival in Coachella, California. The dates are October 11-15th, 2019.
  6. The Carnaval’s “Carnaval De La Cultura Latina” in Junction Boulevard in Corana, Queens.
  7. The Hispanic Day Parade in New York on Fifth Avenue.
  8. Happy Celebrating! What fun ways have you hosted and celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month?

Happy celebrating! What fun way are you going to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?