Embracing the beat of Latin culture: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

ORLANDO, Fla – Every year, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month acknowledges, appreciates, and celebrates Latin and Hispanic cultures, as well as their impact on the United States.

It’s a time when music, cuisine, and rich traditions intertwine. It’s a time to recognize Hispanic culture and the independence days of Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South and Central America.

Despite Hispanics and Latinos making up 20% of the population and Hispanic Heritage Month being a nationwide observance, there is still a lot that people don’t know about it.

“It started back in 1967, ‘68 when a congressman from east L.A. presented a bill to have Hispanic Heritage Week,” said Luis Martinez-Fernandez, a professor of Caribbean history at the University of Central Florida.

So, why does it start Sept. 15 and end Oct. 15?

“The reason for the selection of that date was that some Central American countries gained their independence on Sept. 15 of 1821,” Fernandez explained.

He described ways this time can be celebrated.

“People associate these events with music and dance and food. That’s important, but I always emphasize that we need to look at other cultural manifestations such as poetry and painting,” Fernandez said.

Like renowned painters Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Frida Kahlo.

In the world of entertainment, Hollywood would not be the same without Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Rita Moreno, Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara.

So, let’s celebrate how the Hispanic community continues to shape and enrich our country.

Did you know Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States? Another fact, according to the minority veterans report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, over 1 million U.S. veteranss are of Hispanic or Latin descent.