Each year between September 15 to October 15 people observe and celebrate the unique histories, contributions and cultural influences of Hispanics.

Hispanic people are those who hail or whose ancestors hail from South America, Central America, Mexico, Spain, and areas of the Caribbean. Throughout early autumn, Hispanic culture and history is celebrated. The dates of Hispanic Heritage Month is significant because it includes the anniversaries of independence for various Latin American countries. September 15 marks when Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua achieved independence.

The first official Hispanic heritage commemoration was observed in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. It was expanded in 1988 under then-president Ronald Regan to encompass a full month. Enacted into law on August 17, 1988, National Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated ever since.

The term "Hispanic" refers to people who can trace their lineage to Spanish-speaking nations. Hispanic also includes Latinos, who originate from Latin American countries. Nearly all Latinos also can be classified as Hispanic, with the exception of Brazilians because they speak Portuguese. People from Spain would be considered Hispanic, but not Latino. Other Latin American countries that are French-speaking, like Haiti, also cannot be classified as Hispanic.

According to Hispanic Research Inc., the Hispanic demographic in the United States includes people from more than 20 countries. For marketing and research purposes, as well as classification, these nations and territories are primarily listed as Hispanic.

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

When mid-September arrives, the Americas and their Latin American neighbors pay homage to the very influential and ever-growing Hispanic population. It is a time of food, festivals and fanfare.

Haz clic para leer en Español: La nación celebra la Herencia Hispana

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