National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from  September 15th to October 15th in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States of America.  September 15th was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration because it is the anniversary of independence of five countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821.  In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16th, September 18th, and September 21th respectively.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the month honors “the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.”  For much of US history, the majority of foreign-born America citizens were from Ireland and Germany.  Today, the majority are from Mexico.  Hispanic and Latinos make up 18.3% of the US population with more than half of those from Mexican heritage.  Hispanic and Latinos make up 16.5% of Connecticut’s population with the majority of those residing along the I-95 corridor, south of the Connecticut River.

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