Each year, from September 15 to October 15, Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States celebrate and embrace their heritage. And in New York City -- one of the most culturally diverse places in the country -- there are plenty of ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as a way to celebrate the independence of several Latin and South American countries. The 15th of September marks the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. September 16, 18, and 21 mark the independence of Mexico, Chile, and Belize, respectively.
According to the official site, National Hispanic Heritage Month aims to celebrate the "histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America."
Why does it matter?
With over 62.1 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the United States in 2020, Hispanic Heritage is a meaningful celebration of culture and identity. Regardless of whether someone is an immigrant or not, Hispanic Heritage Month offers the perfect platform for Hispanics and Latinos to recognize and embrace their identity.
What is Hispanic, and who does it include?
This is sometimes a confusing question to answer. Many people think the term Hispanic and Latinx are interchangeable, when they actually aren't. To put it simply, Hispanic refers to any country where Spanish is spoken, and Latinx refers to anyone from Latin America. For example, someone from Brazil is Latinx, but not Hispanic because they speak Portuguese and not Spanish.
Hispanic Heritage Month Events in NYC:
1. Contemporary Latina Writers: National Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff
What: On the eve of 2021's Hispanic Heritage Month, an all-star group of Latinas, all with new books published this year, gather for an evening of conversation and celebration.
When: September 14, 2021 from 7:00-8:00pm
2. Movies Under the Stars
What: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in NYC’s beautiful parks, with the movies Sin Nombre and Hands of Stone.
- Sin Nombre -- Sunday, September 19, 2021 from 7:00pm-8:40pm.
- Hands of Stone -- Friday, September 24, 2021 from 6:50pm-8:50pm.
- Sin Nombre -- Maria Hernandez Park, Brooklyn
- Hands of Stone -- Sunset Park, Brooklyn
3. Latino Short Film Festival
What: The New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF) is the premier Urban Latino film event in the country. Support Latinx and Hispanic filmmakers by watching these unique short films.
When: September 13, 2021 through September 19, 2021
Where: This year, the festival will hold a combination of virtual and drive-in screenings. Visit their website to see which films are screening when.
4. 26th Annual Panamanian Parade 2021
What: The Panamanian Parade in NYC is the biggest Panamanian festival outside of the Republic of Panama. Panamanians come from the entire East Coast and march with cultural pride through Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
When: Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 10:30am to 6:00pm EST
Where: President Street and Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
5. Celebrate with the New York Yankees!
What: The New York Yankees are doing a giveaway of Yankee caps with Hispanic flags at their baseball game in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
When: Friday September 17, 2021 to Wednesday September 22, 2021
Where: Yankee Stadium
If you can’t make it to any of these events, no worries. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Hispanic culture such as enjoying a classic Latin American dish, binge-watching a Spanish TV show, or reading books by Hispanic and Latinx authors.