Every year Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15 each year with art exhibits, concerts, festivals, lectures, pageants, parades, parties and much more. Throughout the month, the contributions, cultures, histories and traditions of Americans whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America are celebrated and recognized.

This celebration started back in 1968 not as a month-long observation, but rather as Hispanic Heritage Week. It wasn’t until 1988 that it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period. The dates for Hispanic Heritage Month were chosen because of their significance in history. September 15 is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

Most major cities hold events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Check with your chamber of commerce, parks and rec department and convention bureau to see what’s happening in your area. Most of these events are suitable for families and they are often held at libraries, museums, parks and other such venues. It’s important for adults and children, young and old, to learn about different cultures and to teach others about the contributions people of Hispanic heritage have made to our country.

Here are some links where you can find events planned for National Hispanic Heritage Month:

Washington DC
http://www.chci.org/events/page/2012-chci-hispanic-heritage-month-events

Miami, FL
http://www.nova.edu/hispanicheritage/events.html

New York, NY
http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-York-Hispanic-Heritage-Month-Celebration/150505668322477

Chicago, IL
http://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/cel_diversity/hhmonth.php

Houston, TX
http://houstonhispanicheritage.com/events

San Antonio, TX
http://www.visitsanantonio.com/visitors/plan/local-info/events-calendar/event-details/index.aspx?id=5682

Phoenix, AZ
http://phoenix.about.com/od/events/a/HispanicHeritage.htm

Los Angeles, CA
http://golosangeles.about.com/od/losangelescalendar/a/MexicanIndependenceLA.htm