Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 - October 15, began in 1968 as a way to promote and celebrate the history and culture of Hispanic-Americans, specifically whose ancestry can be traced back to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
What began as a week-long celebration in the beginning expanded into a four week celebration of being Hispanic! It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
The timing is key. 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.
Hispanic and Latino Americans make up an estimated 18.3% of the total U.S. population, making up the largest ethnic minority and their influences are tightly knitted in the fabric of American life. Think music, food, art, cinema, politics, literature, and so much more.
United Methodist Communications is offering resources to help your church celebrate and build awareness of Hispanic-Latino culture and traditions. These resources are available here.
7 ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month as a church, family or individually
Plan a fiesta. Have tasty food, mariachi music and sombreros for everyone!·
Involve the whole family in fine arts Light up young minds by educating them about Hispanic Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Performing, and Film. The following family-friendly movies can be a jump start to cultural conversations.
- “McFarland, USA” (2015), Disney, rated PG: “The true against-all-odds story of the 1987 McFarland High School cross country team in an economically challenged community.” —Rotten Tomatoes
- “Selena” (1997), Warner Bros., PG: “The true story of Selena Quintanilla-Peres, a Texas-born Tejano singer who rose from cult status to performing at the Astrodome, as well as having chart-topping albums on the Latin music charts.” — IMDb
- “Coco” (2017), Disney/Pixar, PG: “Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.” —IMDb
- Find more movies here.
3. Raise funds for a local organization focused on Hispanic/Latino people. Look for organizations in your community that focus on continuing the Hispanic culture, benefit the Hispanic/Latino community or focus on Hispanic/Latino youth.
4. Invite a Hispanic/Latino guest speaker. If your congregation includes a person or family of Hispanic descent, invite them to share their story and talk about their family history. While Hispanic/Latino people face many challenges day-to-day, they can also share and teach many beautiful things from their culture and their life. They might recall favorite memories of growing up or how they or their family migrated. Hispanic/Latinos love to celebrate life and to have people of other cultural backgrounds to celebrate with them.
5. Take an online Spanish class (duolingo.com)
6. Learn about the Hispanic-Latino population living in your community
7. Mentor/Tutor local ESOL (English As A Second Language) students