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. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
Latino/a/x Heritage in Seattle
Spanish and Mexican explorers made numerous expeditions to the Pacific Northwest beginning in 1774, calling the region Nueva Galicia after Spain’s rugged northwest coast. The first European settlement in the state was established among the Makah Tribe at Neah Bay, called Fort Nuñez Gaona. Many place names that are still in use today commemorate Spanish exploration, including the San Juan Islands, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and more. According to the 2010 census, more than 10% of Washington’s population are persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, the largest minority group in the state.
- Download Visit Seattle’s Latino Cultural Heritage Guide
- Read UW grad Ricardo Ruiz’s new book of poetry: “We Had Our Reasons,” which reflects on the emigration journey of Mexicans, like Ruiz’s parents, to Eastern Washington.
- Check out these children’s book recommendations form the Seattle Public Library.
- Join a virtual Y Community Conversation “Navigating Hispanic/Latinx Labels,” and explore how labels define and divide us. Thurs, Sept. 22. Register here.
- Celebrate Burien’s Latinx heritage and culture at the B-Town Fiesta on Sat, Sept. 24, with dancing, shopping, live music, and more. Details.
- Cuarteto Latinoamericano presents “Mexico: A Musical Journey” explores Mexican visual art, history, and culture through the music of six iconic composers. At UW’s Meany Hall on Thurs, Oct. 6. Details.
- Stream Music of Remembrance’s “Tres Minutos,” an absorbing one-act opera that wrestles with questions of identity, duty, and belonging when two siblings reunite at the US-Mexico border that separates them. Available through Oct. 15.
- Explore the multi-event, multi-venue MEXAM NW Festival that showcases contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American culture around greater Seattle.
- Get your tickets for the J’s Hanukkah Storytime + Sing-Along featuring Jewish-Cuban children’s stories + songs with Sephardic authors. Tickets.