Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by reading a short collection of biographies about Hispanic women and the impact they made in the world!
By Raynelda Calderon
5 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
By Raynelda A. Calderon
Can you imagine the holidays without singing José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”? Hispanic Heritage Month is all about remembering and honoring the contributions of Hispanics in the United States.
Each year, an entire month is set aside to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of US citizens from Spanish-speaking countries. Because several Latin American independence days are celebrated from September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed between these dates.
Here are some fun yet meaningful ideas for honoring the many ways in which
Hispanics have enriched Americans’ lives.
- Honor Hispanic people.
It would be impossible to list all the contributions of Hispanics to this country! But you can plan ahead and choose a few outstanding people to remember each year.
Not sure where to start? Get your copy of the first Hispanic Heritage Wall Calendar published by Cayena Press, Inc. The calendar highlights the accomplishments of outstanding Hispanic-Americans in art, education, sports, film, music, and many other fields.
- Support Hispanic literature.
Immerse yourself and your family in personal accounts of the lives and times of some important Hispanic figures in history. Read the remarkable life of Nobel Prize winner RigobertaMenchú in I, RigobertaMenchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, or learn about the forces that turned Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez into a writer in his autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale.
Even better, support independent Hispanic authors! Some great books to share with children are Little Giants: 10 Hispanic Women Who Made History by Raynelda A. Calderon, The Music From Our Country by Dabrali Díaz, and Viviana Torres’ Anacaona: The Golden Flower Queen.
- Discover Hispanic-American history.
Since before its founding, the United States has been deeply influenced by Spanish-speaking people. Go back 500 years to 1513, when Ponce de León came ashore on the Florida coast while looking for the “Fountain of Youth.” Can you guess why he named it “La Florida”? And don’t forget Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who, in 1542, first sighted the region that today is California.
You can even visit some of the Hispanic heritage sites in the US to explore their history face to face. Do a search on the National Register of Historic Places for sites to visit, such as the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico; St. John the Divine Catholic Church in Kansas City, Kansas; and Chicano Park in San Diego, California.
- Attend a virtual event.
Not able to visit a historical site in person? Attend a virtual event! Yes, online events are here to stay. Check out the list of free exhibits provided by the National Archives.
It could be a bit early for libraries and other organizations to publicize their online events for Hispanic Heritage Month, but make a note on your calendar to check the institutions below that hosted online events last year to see what they have to offer in 2021:
- Baja Splash Cultural Festival
- Library of Congress Hispanic Reading Room
- Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
- Visit Hispanic restaurants.
COVID-19 took a toll on small businesses, and minority-owned businesses in particular. Use Hispanic Heritage Month to discover new cuisines by visiting a Hispanic restaurant. GiveDominicanmofongo, Peruvian lomo saltado and Ecuadorianceviche a try! You will not regret it.
Rather try cooking some Latin dishes yourself? Take one of these free classes to get started.
Don’t forget to pamper your sweet tooth. On your way back home from the restaurant, stop by your neighborhood bakery to pick up some tres leches, flan, or pan dulce and indulge.