National Hispanic Heritage Month (United States)

National Hispanic Heritage Month (Spanish: Mes nacional de la herencia hispana) is annually celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.[1][2]



National Hispanic Heritage Week was established by legislation sponsored by Rep. George Brown Jr. of Los Angeles and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968,[3][4][5] taking place on the week including both September 15 and 16.[6] In 1988, the commemorative week was expanded to a month (September 15 to October 15) by legislation sponsored by Rep. Esteban Torres (D–CA), amended by Senator Paul Simon, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.[3] September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration because it is the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores (early morning, 16 September 1810), which marked the start of the Mexican War of Independence and thus resulted (in 1821) in independence for the New Spain Colony (now Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua) which became the Federal Republic of Central America.

The 30-day period also includes many dates of importance in the Hispanic community: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their anniversary of independence on September 15; Mexico commemorates its independence on September 16; Chile commemorates its independence on September 18; and the celebration Columbus Day or Día de la Raza.[7]

Hispanic Heritage Week was first proclaimed by President Johnson in 1968 in Presidential Proclamation 3869.[8] Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan gave annual proclamations for Hispanic Heritage Week between 1969 and 1988. National Hispanic Heritage Month was first proclaimed by President George H. W. Bush on September 14, 1989, in Presidential Proclamation 6021.[9] Since 1989, all Presidents have given a Presidential Proclamation to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.[10]

Military commemorations


National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for the U.S. Military to honor both fallen and active-duty Hispanic Americans who served in the armed forces. Sixty-one people of Hispanic heritage have been awarded the Medal of Honor, two were presented to members of the Navy, 13 to members of the U.S. Marine Corps, and 46 to members of the U.S. Army.[11]

During the month, the U.S. Army commemorates the longstanding and remarkable contributions that Hispanics have made in building and defending the nation.[12] As of September 2018, 136,000 Hispanic soldiers serve, composing 13.8 percent of the Army. According to the official Army website, the goal during Hispanic Heritage Month is to celebrate the diverse and inclusive environment of the U.S. Army. Through coordinated efforts throughout the Army, this observance will be used to inform Army audiences and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic soldiers, civilians, and their families.[12] The representation of Hispanic Americans on active duty has increased by 10 percentage points during the past 30 years. In 1985, it was three percent, and by 2016 it was 13.7 percent.[13]

The U.S. Navy celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring sailors of Hispanic heritage whose military service dates back to the Civil War. As of June 2018, approximately 59,000 active and reserve sailors of Hispanic heritage serve in the U.S. Navy and Marines.[11]

Annual events


Established in 2013 by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the annual Northwest Arkansas Hispanic Heritage Festival is held in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The El Barrio Latin Jazz Festival in The Bronx, New York City is held annually in September to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Smithsonian Institution hosts Hispanic Heritage Month events in Washington, D.C. One event is the Zoo Fiesta. In 2018, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian hosted the Realm of the Jaguar a series of performances featuring dances of Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala, in addition to mask making and traditional and contemporary ceramics."[14]

The Hispanic Family Festival is held annually at Springdale Park in Springdale, Holyoke, Massachusetts.[15]

The Official Latino Short Film Festival began in 2015.[where?][16]

The Hispanic Star, a platform created by the We Are All Human Foundation,[17] hosted a virtual Hispanic Heritage Month kick-off[where?] in 2020 featuring artists such as Residente and Fonseca, as well as civic and corporate leaders.[18] The program engaged leaders to discuss Hispanic heritage and pride, the community's reality and Hispanic success stories. [19] The organization also published a toolkit developed to help individuals and organizations join in the celebration.[20] On April 15, 2021, they launched a 2021 version of their Hispanic Heritage Month toolkit for corporations, organizations and individuals to use in their planning for this month and calling for everyone to use and share it. [21]


  1. ^ "Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month!". Natural Resources Conservation Service Caribbean Area. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  2. ^ "National Hispanic Heritage Month". Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b "The Creation and Evolution of the National Hispanic Heritage Celebration | House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Bilingual Education. SAGE Publications. 2008-06-05. ISBN 9781452265964.
  5. ^ "About National Hispanic Heritage Month". The Library of Congress.
  6. ^ "H.J.Res.1299 - Joint resolution authorizing the President to proclaim annually the week including September 15 and 16 as "National Hispanic Heritage Week"".
  7. ^ "About National Hispanic Heritage Month". The Library of Congress.
  8. ^ "National Hispanic Heritage Month". Library Of Congress. May 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  9. ^ "Proclamation 6021—National Hispanic Heritage Month, 1989 | the American Presidency Project".
  10. ^ Molly Higgins; Gary Sidor (2021-09-13). "National Hispanic Heritage Month: Fact Sheet (R44191)" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  11. ^ a b Poyraz-Dogan, Yonca. "U.S. Navy Observes Hispanic Heritage Month". Navy Office of Information Public Affairs. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b "National Hispanic Heritage Month". Deputy Chief of Staff, Army G-1. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Hispanic Heritage Month". U.S. Army Reserve. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Heritage and History Month Events".
  15. ^ Hispanic Family Festival Website
  16. ^ "OFFICIAL LATINO – Empowering the American Latino Filmmaker and Actor".
  17. ^ "About Us".
  18. ^ Closing Hispanic Heritage Month (Digital production). 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  19. ^ "Hispanic Star Kicks Off Hispanic Heritage Month with Virtual Opening Ceremony" (Press release).
  20. ^ "Hispanic Star Kicks Off Hispanic Heritage Month with Virtual Opening Ceremony". 16 September 2020.
  21. ^ "(OP-ED) Representation matters". 29 April 2021.


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  • Fernández-Shaw, Carlos M. (1987). La Presencia Española en Los Estados Unidos. Madrid: Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana. ISBN 0-8160-2314-X.
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