Every year since 1988, the United States has celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to recognize the rich history, traditions, and contributions of the Hispanic community.
The annual celebration began in 1968 with the passage of the National Hispanic Heritage Week Bill. Then President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that declared the week of Sep. 15 or 16 each year to be celebrated as Hispanic Heritage Week. The choice of this date was not accidental. Sept. 15 is the day when five Central American countries commemorate their independence from Spain: Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico residents celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 while Chileans do so on Sept. 18.
Twenty years later, under then President Ronald Reagan, the week became known as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Set between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, the month-long commemoration now includes “Día de la Raza” (Oct. 12) Columbus Day. (Many places across Nevada and the US now recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.)
A Preview of Some Hispanic Heritage Month Events in Las Vegas
The City of Las Vegas has planned several free activities that will highlight the richness and diversity of the Latino culture.
“Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with us and enjoy family events that capture the essence of Latino culture,” said David Riggleman, head of the City Council’s office of communications, in a statement. “We will have the emotional ‘El Grito’ ceremony headed by the Mexican consul in Las Vegas, Julián Escutia Rodríguez, as well as the traditional civic act that the Mexican Patriotic Committee has organized for more than 30 years.”
Notably, the consulate brings it Second Annual Collaborative Exhibition, “Celebrations in Las Vegas” back to The Mayor’s Gallery inside the historic Fifth Street School. The free exhibit, which opens with an artist reception on Sept. 14 and remainson view through Nov. 1, showcases original works of art celebrating the different contributions of Latino cultures in Las Vegas. Some notable themes include religion, rituals, and migration. Participating artists include Isabel Castro Meléndez, Juan Cuevas, Xóchil Citlali, and Cesar Ceballos, among others.
Another Hispanic Heritage Month activity that is sure to captivate all audiences is the celebration of “El Grito”, which commemorates the start of the Mexican War of Independence led by father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on Sept. 16, 1810.
Alasvegasnevada.org community festival will take place on Friday, Sept 15 at the East Las Vegas Community Center and will include live mariachi performances, ballet folkclórico, and children’s activities. The following day, continue the celebration at the Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza, located in Lorenzi Park.. “We invite everyone to join us in this traditional celebration of Mexican Independence with live music, dancing and food for the whole family,” said Dalinda Torres, president of the Mexican Patriotic Committee..
Later that evening, SECOS—an alternative rock band made up of young Mexican-Americans inspired by Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, and the Arctic Monkeys—will perform live..
In October, mark your calendar for “Celebrating Nicaragua” at the Chuck Minker Sports Complex on Sept. 28. The event offers attendees the opportunity to learn about Nicaraguan folklore through dance and its history.
Also, on Saturday, Oct. 14, the Club Migrantes de Uruapan celebrates Hispanic heritage with a free family event at the Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza at Lorenzi Park, where you can enjoy the rich cuisine and vibrant culture of Uruapan, Michoacán, México.