The History of Hispanic Heritage

Just like the cultures it aims to celebrate, Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t fit into just one month of the year.

Originally created by President Ronald Reagan to celebrate the heritage and culture of hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua all celebrate their Independence on September 15. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16 and Chile’s is September 18. After the Independence days comes El Dia de la Raza, a holiday that celebrates the heritage and cultural diversity of Central America, on October 12.

Elizabeth Moreno, who teaches English as a second language (ESL) at Riverside, knows many of her students and their families celebrate Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage month.

“There  are parties with a lot of food like empanadas, tamales and papusas,” Moreno said.

Most Latinos living in America are aware of their country’s day of independence, but are not celebrated even though this month was created specifically for that.

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Students in Spanish classes created posters of influential Hispanics and displayed them as a mural next to the front office. Photo by Fabian Hernandez

“We try to give it just as much weight as Black History Month but I agree that it’s not talked as much about as other events.“I think we can do a better job,” Stevens said.

Destino Success, a Riverside student organization that celebrates Latino culture, has organized events throughout the year to celebrate Hispanic Heritage and make all students feel supported, including bilingual tutoring every Thursday, a food sale for students and staff, 5-on-5 soccer tournaments, and Flamenco dance lessons and performances. During Hispanic Heritage month, the school will have a trivia game during morning announcements, a scavenger hunt, a bake sale on September 18 and a Latino parent night in the cafeteria on October 3.

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