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Hispanic and Latinx Heritage

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What Is Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month?

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

(Source: National Hispanic Heritage Month, Library of Congress)

Who is Considered Hispanic or Latinx?

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines "Hispanic or Latino" as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Hispanic generally means "relating to Spanish-speaking Latin America" or to "people of Spanish-speaking descent." It generally can be used to describe anyone from (or descended from) Spanish-speaking parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, or Spain.

Latino/Latina describes a person "of Latin America origin or descent," especially one who lived in the United States. Latinx is used as a gender-neutral or nonbinary alternative to Latino or Latina.

In another way of looking at it, Hispanic is linguistic and Latino is terrestrial. (Source: “Hispanic” vs. “Latino”: When To Use Each Term, Dictionary.com)

National Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month Resources