The United States commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept 15 to Oct 15. The month-long celebration of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage will take you on a journey of the colorful histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanics that have come from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. 

With the United States being home to a large number of Hispanics, Florida is home to the third largest population of Hispanics in the entire country. About 70% of Miami-Dade County residents are of Hispanic origin with about 75% of speaking a second language, Spanish. 

The origin

The word “Hispanic” was officially sanctioned and proclaimed in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. At the time, the recognition was only celebrated for a week but was later extended to a month under the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

“The people of Hispanic descent are the heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land,” President Johnson declared then.

Meantime, Latinx is a recently coined term to bridge the gender distinction between a “Latino” and a “Latina.”.

How to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

There is much to celebrate and give thanks to the colorful cultural influence of Latin America that has been bestowed upon American soil.

Know the difference

Celebratory efforts typically should include and resound the voices of the Latin culture by being self-aware of the vast difference in terms and connotations to different people with Hispanic heritage. One cannot merely universalize certain cultural aspects. It is important to be specific in pertaining to Mexican cuisine or differentiating between Spanish dances from those of Argentina. 

Understand the nuances

Cultural differences can be tricky when there are many commonalities shared. One must be diligent to do the work and comprehend that these differences come from various voices in different spectrums that one cannot wholly define. 

Celebrate appropriately

When engaging with any heritage/history month, organizations seeking to celebrate such a meaningful point in history will need much effort to ensure cultural values and social diversity are appropriately referenced. 

Where to go and what to do

Hispanic Art Expression Exhibit

Immerse yourself in a display of artful expressions put together by Miami-Dade County’s Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board and Embajadores del Arte titled, “I Speak Spanglish.”

When: Sept.16 to Oct. 31 @the Stephen P. Clark Center, Downtown Miami.

Cine Y Arte: Argentino Latino

An exhibit featuring a tribute to Peruvian artist Fernando Szyszlo and “Woman in Latin American Art.” Admission is Free. 

When: Sept 4 to Oct.16 @Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Library, in Davie, Florida.

Viva Fort Lauderdale: Celebrating Hispanic Art & Culture

A fine art exhibit toasting the contributions of various artists from Colombia, Venezuela, Spain and Cuba. Exhibit admission is free for members, military and children aged six and under.

When: Sept.18 to Oct.2 @New River Inn, Oakland Park Blvd.

Miramar Latin Music Festival

Dive into live music and dancing featuring “El Principe de la Salsa” Luis Enrique. Free admission and parking.

When: Sept.17 @Miramar Amphitheater at Miramar Regional Park, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Hispanic Heritage Celebration by Alhambra Orchestra

Enjoy the symphonic pieces by Hispanic composers inspired by Spanish culture. Admission is free.

When: Sept. 24 @Miami-Dade County Auditorium, West Flagler St. Little Havana, 7:30 p.m.

A mariachi singer performs as part of Hispanic Heritage month in 2021 A mariachi singer performs as part of Hispanic Heritage month before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles on September 19, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images