September 15 – October 15, 2023

This month-long national celebration honors the history, culture, and influence of past generations who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

For a complete list of all Hispanic Heritage Month events happening
at HPL’s sites, please click here.

The observance started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration as a one-week celebration called Hispanic Heritage Week. Years later, President Ronald Reagan proposed extending this celebration into a month-long event. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, officially designating the 30-day period starting on September 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The celebration starts mid-September because September 15 marks the independence anniversary of five countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. It is followed by Mexico’s Independence Day on Sepember 16 and Chile’s on September 18. Another important date that falls within this 30-day period is Día de la Raza, or Columbus Day, which is celebrated on October 12.

While many people use Latino(a) and Hispanic interchangeably, these two words mean different things. A Hispanic person is someone who comes from or is a descendant of a Spanish-speaking country. Latino(a) is used when referring to someone who comes from Latin America or is a descendant from any Latin American country. A person can be both Hispanic and Latino(a), but not all Latinos are Hispanic. Brazilians, for example, are Latinos, but their native language is not Spanish. Conversely, not all Hispanics are Latino(a). Spaniards are considered Hispanic, but not Latinos, since they are part of the European Union. 

Hispanic countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Works Cited:

Important Links/Organizations:

Updated 9/5/2023 – AB