National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15, is a dedicated recognition of the rich history, culture, and invaluable contributions of Hispanic Americans. Specifically, the month pays homage to Hispanic Americans with roots in Mexico, Spanish-speaking parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. As the largest ethnic minority in the United States, constituting 19.1% of the nation’s total population according to the 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data, Hispanic Heritage Month represents as a significant moment to acknowledge the profound impact Hispanic communities have etched into the tapestry of U.S. history.
September holds a pivotal role in Hispanic history, as it coincides with the independence anniversaries of several Latin American nations that liberated themselves from Spanish colonial rule. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua commemorate their independence on September 15, followed by Mexico on September 16, Chile on September 17, and Belize on September 21. This celebration extends into October, where the 30-day period also aligns with Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) on October 12, recognized by some Hispanic countries as an occasion to reflect upon the historic consequences brought by Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.
The genesis of Hispanic Heritage Month traces back to 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles that acknowledged the celebration as a week-long event. In 1988, subsequent legislation, championed by Rep. Esteban Edward Torres of Pico Rivera and later amended by Sen. Paul Simon, transformed this observance into a month-long celebration, duly ratified by President Ronald Reagan.
This year, National Hispanic Heritage Month adopts the theme, “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America” and was chosen to recognize the significant impact Hispanic Americans have made to the economic, political, and social power of the United States.
Celebrate along with First 5 LA — and learn more about Hispanic history in the United States — by checking out our resource bank below that features educational information and local events!
- Smithsonian National Museum: Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States
- National Today: Hispanic Heritage Month 2023
- National Hispanic Heritage Month: Official Website
Events & Activities
- Florence Library: Worry Doll Event – As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, travel with us and learn about Guatemala! Make a version of the Guatemalan Worry Doll, that according to Mayan legend takes away worries. (Sept. 19)
- Main Place Mall Hispanic Heritage Celebration – In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, join our fun-filled Hispanic Heritage Celebration from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 23rd. During the event, live musicians and performers, including a mariachi band as well as talented folklorico and flamenco dancers, will perform in Macy’s Court. There will also be a live DJ emceeing the performance. (Sept. 23)
- City of Inglewood Hispanic Heritage Celebration – The City of Inglewood presents the Hispanic Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 23, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Downtown Inglewood along Market Street. The festival is free and open to the public. Join us for live entertainment, a Classic Car Show, vendor booths, authentic food and more (Sept. 23)
- Aquarium of the Pacific – The Aquarium will host its twenty-second annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival in celebration of cultures from Mexico, Central and South America, and beyond. (Sept. 23-24)
- Norwalk Library: Hispanic Heritage Month – National Hispanic Heritage Month significantly begins September 15 and runs through October 15. Read along with us as we explore the life of Frida Kahlo and create an adorable mini-Frida Kahlo piñata. (Sept. 26)
- Manhattan Beach Library: Baila Baila Bilingual Show – Join us for a fun, educational time with Isabel Brazon, the creator of Baila Baila Spanish Music for kids. Come sing and dance while you learn some Spanish in this very interactive and dynamic show. For ages 2 – 5 with a parent or caregiver. (Sept. 27)
- Los Angeles Public Library: Los Angeles Libros Festival – Los Angeles Libros Festival will offer two days of entertainment for all ages featuring Spanish-language and bilingual storytelling, performances, workshops, and award-winning authors. (Sept. 29 & 30)
- Hispanic Heritage Celebration – Join us as we honor Hispanic Heritage Month with Art, Dance & Music on Saturday, October 7 from 3 – 7pm in Center Court on level 1. (Oct. 7)
- LA Plaza de Cultura Y Artes – Various art and culture events taking place throughout the month! (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15)
- Lil’Libros – Learning portal featuring crafts, DIY projects, and other activities for bilingual learners.
- El Capitan Theatre – Fridays through Sunday, see the Mariachi Divas and Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles Live on Stage as you enter the theatre! Plus see the Fiesta of Lights featuring music from the movie before your showtime! (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15)