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Here’s A Quick Explainer To Kick Off Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

It's time to celebrate the rich culture and history the Hispanic and Latin communities have to offer! ¡Vámonos!

Traditionally painted ox cart wheel.

You’ve probably heard about Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month in years past, but never really knew what it was all about.

So here's a little background...

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month's origins date back to the 1960s when Lyndon B. Johnson signed an executive order for weeklong celebration to honor Latino and Hispanic contributions to the United States, as well as those of American citizens with ancestors coming from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

A gavel next to golden scales.

But really, a week wasn't long enough. So in the late '80s, California Rep. Esteban Torres submitted a bill to extend the observance period to a whole month.

"We want the American people to learn of our heritage," Torres remarked. "We want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science."

Although the first bill died in committee, an amended version was passed and later signed into law by Ronald Reagan.

Since then, Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month has been celebrated every year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

Green pin in calendar on 15th day.

But why does it begin in the middle of the month?

A handful of independence days align during the week of Sept. 15, so it’s a perfect time to kick off 30 days of celebrations.

  • Sept. 15: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
  • Sept. 16: Mexico
  • Sept. 18: Chile

Throughout the month, many organizations and institutions plan events revolving around an overall theme to honor and reflect on the culturally rich histories while also looking to the future.

The 2021 theme is....

“Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope."

Revolving around the resilience of Latinx and Hispanic culture, this theme calls on participants to reflect on the past in order to create a better tomorrow along with the heartwarming reminder: "...although we are apart, with hope, we are not alone."

Got a free night or weekend in the next few weeks? Take a minute this month and check out the events in your local area.

Here's a few things that might be going on:

  • Military memorials and celebrations to honor Latinx and Hispanic service members.
  • Food festivals are a go-to for booth hopping and tasting variety of delicacies.
  • Art shows, film screenings, and cultural demonstrations are perfect for an up-close and personal experience.
  • Events to meet and connect with grassroots organizations in your neighborhood.

Even if you can’t make it to an IRL event, there’s still so many ways you can participate:
  • Head to your library to check out new voices in Latinx and Hispanic authors.
  • Sign up to participate in a virtual event or speaker series (usually provided through museums or colleges).
  • Support a local business while expanding your palate and try a new cuisine during takeout night.

Now that you've got your foundation, go celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month this month and beyond with GEICO. One familia, many voices.

Imagery from Getty.