How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

The celebration of different cultures is a very important milestone that schools experience each year. However, not every school has caught up to honor all cultures. For instance, some schools and teachers still may not know how to celebrate Hispanic heritage month.

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In this post, I share multiple resources that teachers, parents, and schools can access to celebrate Hispanic heritage.  

What is National Hispanic Heritage Month?

The national Hispanic heritage month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. The official observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period and enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

The hispanicheritagemonth.gov website defines Hispanic heritage month as a way to “recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.”  The month is a celebration to honor people of Hispanic descent in the U.S. whose ancestors came from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The honorees include everyday leaders,  civil rights activists, teachers, news reporters, doctors, authors, government officials, and many more who have dedicated their lives to positively influencing our society.

Did you know? The Hispanic or Latino population, which includes people of any race, was 62.1 million in 2020. The Hispanic population grew 23%, while the population that was not of Hispanic or Latino origin grew 4.3% since 2010.

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Hispanic heritage month is celebrated by a number of institutions and organizations. For instance, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are all institutions or organizations that highlight and celebrate each year. Hospitals, schools, churches, and other organizations also join in celebrating each year.

Ways to celebrate Hispanic heritage month 

The celebration of Hispanic heritage month is a celebration that many look forward to each year. It is often sought for by Hispanic community members and other communities. This is because most Hispanic celebrations incorporate fun things like food, music, colors, and laughter. Some places acknowledge the month, while others take it further by creating events that help recognize the Hispanic culture and influencers. Celebrations are more meaningful when we combine fun activities with learning and educational resources. 

Recognitions

Recognizing positive influencers is one way many places celebrate. A proclamation is often done on or right before September 15th to acknowledge the month-long celebration.  A proclamation communicates the importance of this celebration and our stand in supporting and celebrating cultures.

 Positive influencers like César Chávez, Carlos Santana, and others are often highlighted and recognized.  Some schools take a moment to teach about positive influencers by recognizing a different person each day or each week for this month-long celebration.  Dedicated websites provide a wealth of resources to support the education of Hispanic heritage month.

Celebrations 

There are different ways schools celebrate. Some schools have taken advantage of this celebration to invite the Latino community into their school. Parents are often eager to share their own rich history and Latino culture with teachers in school.

Celebrate with food

Celebrations may involve asking families to bring food to share in a potluck. Play music and have kids perform a Hispanic-related dance or play. For this particular celebration, the participants don’t have to be of Hispanic descent. Non-Hispanic Whites or Black families can join the event by creating a Hispanic dish.  

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These may include Hispanic drinks or foods. There are so many to choose from, you will be able to celebrate with a different drink or food for years to come. Celebrate with Mexican, Caribbean, or South American Hispanic foods!

Music and Dance

Enjoy the many types of music that the Latino culture has to offer. Take time to listen and learn about the origins. You may also want to learn to dance to the different types of music. Embrace the Hispanic students around you by asking them to share their music and dances with others. 

Another way to extend this celebration is by asking local music and dance groups to come and do demonstrations. Change it up each school year by asking different genres to come to visit your class or school.  

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Celebrate with books

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The use of books to celebrate cultures is another way teachers and schools can celebrate Hispanic heritage month. There are plenty of Spanish books available to read and learn more about Spanish culture.

Cultural activities

Having the luxury to celebrate so many countries gives us so many activities to choose from. Each country has its ways of having fun.  Activities like playing dominoes and sports like kickball are well-known Hispanic activities. Another way to engage in cultural activities is by celebrating the Spanish language.

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If you have a number of Spanish-speaking students, ask them to engage in a Spanish word or phrase discussion to spark some interest in each other dialects. Embracing each other’s language shows the importance of a heritage language.

Take it further by playing a movie highlighting Hispanic families’ cultural lives. Invite students to share some of what they did in their country before they came to the US. Connect with those that want to share more about their upbringings.

Field trips 

A great way to learn about Hispanic heritage cultures is by organizing field trips. Visit historians and art museums to learn more about Hispanic cultures. If an in-person field trip is not possible, take a virtual tour.

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Virtual tours are a great way to learn and teach about the independence days of different countries. These field trips are also an excellent way to learn about Latin history.

Additional resources

Below you’ll find additional resources that support how to celebrate Hispanic heritage month.

Conclusion

Cultural celebrations are an excellent way to build community and acknowledge everyone’s experiences. The celebration of Hispanic heritage month is just one more way we can connect with students and families of different cultures. Celebrate by acknowledging the month-long celebration, or take it further by celebrating with food, music, books, and well-deserved recognitions.

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