A group of young people wore traditional clothing in a Hispanic Heritage Month parade in New York City.
In 1968, the U.S. Congress declared that the week of September 15 would be National Hispanic Week in honor of Hispanic Americans. Hispanic Americans are any U.S. citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, or any Spanish-speaking country of Central America, South America, or the Caribbean. In 1988, National Hispanic Week was expanded to an entire month. Today, National Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from September 15 until October 15.
September 15 was chosen to start Hispanic Heritage Month because it was on that date in 1821 that the Central American nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained their independence from Spain. Two other Spanish-speaking countries in the Western Hemisphere also gained their independence in the month of September. Mexico declared its independence from Spain on September 16, 1810. Chile declared its independence two days later.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, Americans celebrate the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to U.S. history and culture. Today, the influence of Hispanic culture can be found in many parts of American life.