Since the pandemic, so many gatherings and events have gone virtual. Although things may look a little different this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can still celebrate and take part in National Hispanic Heritage Month.We've gathered a list of ways to celebrate and learn more about 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 5.6 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the United States, 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 Latino are interchangeable, when they actually aren't. To put it simply, Hispanic refers to any country where Spanish is spoken, and Latino refers to anyone from Latin America. For example, someone from Brazil is Latino, but not Hispanic because they speak Portuguese and not Spanish. However, this national month has evolved to include both Hispanic and Latino communities.
Ways to honor Hispanic Heritage Month
As we mentioned, this year looks a little different. While you may not be able to attend any celebratory events in person, there are still a few virtual events to attend and other ways to commemorate and honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
1. Support local Latinx/Hispanic restaurants.
It's no secret that restaurants and local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. You can honor Hispanic Heritage Month by supporting local restaurants, cafes, and bakeries by ordering take out, delivery, or dining outside if available. For a list of some local options, click here.
2. Attend El Arte de Fuego: A Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta variety show.
The Unlimited Stages and Reaction Dance Company is hosting a virtual variety show featuring dance, comedy, music, and more on October 2. You can learn more about the event and purchase tickets ($5) here.
3. Live stream the NYC Panamanian Parade.
The 25th Panamanian Parade will be live streamed from President St and Classon Ave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn at panamanianparade.org on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 6 pm.
4. Virtually attend the AFI Latin American Film Festival.
Although based in Washington D.C., the AFI Latin American Film Festival will be hosting virtual screenings you can attend. From September 25 to October 7, you can have access to a number of Latin American films from countries like Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and more. You can learn more and purchase tickets here.
5. Do a walking tour of Hispanic and Latinx statues in NYC.
Can you name any of the statues dedicated to historical Hispanic/Latinx figures in the city? Carve some time out this weekend and take yourself on a walking tour to check out the many Hispanic/Latinx statues. You can learn more about them here.
6. Get educated on Hispanic/Latinx health disparities.
Did you know Hispanics in the U.S. are more likely to develop chronic health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity? In addition, these underlying conditions put Hispanics/Latinos at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. You can learn about disparities here.