Explaining the history of Hispanic Heritage Month festivities

By Azucena Gama, Night Editor

Sept. 15 marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., a month-long event which recognizes and celebrates Hispanic culture and traditions. While many may be familiar with parts of Hispanic culture such as the food or music, it runs much deeper. Hispanic culture can come in many forms and mediums because no Hispanic country is the same.

A Hispanic person is someone who is descended from a Spanish-speaking country, including Spain as well as most of Latin America, excluding Brazil. There are 21 Spanish speaking countries that are celebrated during this month.

According to the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, as of fall 2020, 11.2%  of the University’s student body is Hispanic.

A way to enjoy and immerse yourself in the culture this month on campus is to visit the Spurlock Museum, which will be holding an exhibit called “Quinceañeras: Celebration, Joy and Ethnic Pride” from Sept. 24 through Dec. 1. Quinceañeras are a traditional 15th birthday party for Hispanic girls.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15 for a reason. It is the day of independence for Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Similar to the Fourth of July in the U.S., these five Central American countries celebrate with parades in the streets and lively parties.

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Every year on Sept. 9, the people of Guatemala light the “Independence Torch,” a physical torch that is carried through the five countries for the next five days; then, on Sept. 14, on the eve of Costa Rica’s Independence Day festivities, the torch arrives.

The next day, Sept. 16, is Mexico’s Independence Day, which is not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo.

Mexico’s celebrations are similar to celebrations in other Latin American countries, as well as in the U.S.

A popular event that takes place in Mexico City, the country’s capital, is “El Grito,” or “The Shout.” This event happens on the night of Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. when the president recites Father Hidalgo’s independence cry and rings the same bell he rang to proclaim their freedom in 1810. Father Hidalgo is known as “the Father of Mexican Independence.” This event draws thousands of attendees every year.

For those who aren’t Hispanic, this information might just come off as trivia knowledge, but for many, it is their lives.


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