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Hispanic Heritage Month

Learn More About Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 to October 15

Mexican traditional decorative object

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of those 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.

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. 

Lastly, through a 2014 Presidential Proclamation under President Barack Obama, National Hispanic Serving Institutions Week is September 14-20. Within the 30-day period of Hispanic Heritage Month, Día de la Raza is observed on October 12. 

- Library of Congress

Image Source: Background with mexican talavera pattern by Yulia Drozdova (incomible). Licensed by

Hispanic or Latino?

  • HispanicHispanic refers to language. Hispanic if you and/or your ancestry come from a country where they speak Spanish. 1
  • Latino/a Latino refers to geography. Specifically, to Latin America, to people from the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic), South America (Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, etc.) and Central America (Honduras, Costa Rica, etc.) 1
  • Latinx - Of, relating to, or marked by Latin American Heritage - used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.
  • Chicano/a - An American of Mexican descent. 2


About One-in-Four U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It
Young Hispanic women the most likely to use the term.

Black and Hispanic Americans See Their Origins as Central to Who They Are, Less So for White Adults

Who put the "Hispanic" in Hispanic Heritage Month?

Read more stories from NPR's Code Switch

Or visit Hispanics/Latinos from the Pew Research Center

Sources of definitions


Image Source, Image Source, Venn Diagram Source

NPR on the history of Hispanic Heritage Month 


Flags from Hispanic Countries, from left to right, top to bottom. 
Row 1 - Mexico, Puerto Rico, Columbia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Row 2 - Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Bolivia, Panama, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay

"Flags from Hispanic Countries" used with permission from Gateway Technical College Library, Hispanic Heritage Month Guide.

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