Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. This event was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

This month the SJDI committee and Housing and Residence Life will celebrate Hispanic Heritage month and educate students on different cultures. Every hall on campus will feature a strand of papel picado (pah-pell pee-ka-doh). It means cut or perforated paper and is the name given to paper flags. These decorations are common in Mexico but have also expanded into other LatinX countries. Papel Picado can be traced back as far as the Aztecs!

Important Dates

  • September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
  • Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
  • Día de la Raza (a Hispanic Heritage Day) is October 12, and falls within this 30 day period. This holiday celebrates the Hispanic heritage of Latin America and honors many of the countries that were conquered by Spain. El Día de la Raza celebrates the fusion of two cultures – the Spanish conquerors and the native people in America.