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National Hispanic Heritage Month

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SIRS Knowledge Source®

SIRS Knowledge Source Honoring Hispanic Americans' rich history and celebrating their diverse contributions to the American mosaic

National Hispanic Awareness Month is an annual celebration of the culture, traditions, achievements and heritage of Hispanic Americans.

National Hispanic Awareness Month is held annually from September 15 to October 15 in honor of the anniversary of several Latin American nations' independence. The monthly commemoration was created as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and expanded to a month-long observance in 1988. Hispanic Americans, the largest minority group in the United States, play a prominent role in all facets of American society and culture.

Not only have Hispanic Americans shaped popular culture, but their increasing representation in government and media highlights their larger influence on American life. The October SKS Spotlight of the Month commemorates the myriad contributions of Hispanic Americans and emphasizes the diversity of Hispanic culture in the United States.

Learn more about notable Hispanic Americans and trace Hispanic culture's unique impact on the American experience in the following SIRS articles and online destinations:


1. Latinos, Hispanics or What?

2. Latinas and the 2008 Presidential Election

3. Some US Hispanics Trace Their Jewish Roots

4. Hispanic Women in America: The Demographic Picture

5. One-In-Five Speak Spanish in Four States

6. U.S. Schools Adjust to Growing Hispanic Population


Periscope: Hispanic Heritage Month


"Every school child should know that the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the United States is St. Augustine, Florida (founded in 1565) and that Hispanic culture had a firm root in the Southeast and the Southwest of what became the United States before the English arrived at Jamestown and before the Pilgrims dropped anchor in Massachusetts Bay... [T]he Spanish, Hispanicized Africans and Amerindians and their mixed-blood descendants provided the basis for the development of much of American agriculture, mining, transportation grid, city planning, architecture and even law in the Southeast and Southwest. For example, such concepts as the right of women to inherit and own property, homestead rights, and the rights of adopted children to be treated the same as genetic offspring are examples of originally Hispanic legal principles that touch us today in the very heart of our existence: our families."
"America: The Last 100 Years," Hispanic, Dec 1999

SIRS Knowledge Source Read more articles from our Spotlights by logging on to our SIRS Knowledge Source® feature page. Note that the new month's content will not appear until the first of the new month.

SIRS Discoverer®

Hispanic Americans hail from a variety of cultural backgrounds and nations, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and countries in the South and Central Americas. Some may even trace their ancestors as far back as the Spanish explorers and conquistadors of the 15th century!

Hispanic Americans comprise the largest minority group in the United States, and their heritage has greatly influenced American life and culture. The United States pays tribute to Hispanic Americans' contributions, achievements, and traditions each year during National Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning September 15 through October 15.

Created in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, the annual celebration was expanded to one month in 1988. The SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month honors the vital role of Hispanic Americans in American society, and explores the diverse traditions of Hispanic culture, in these articles and online sites:


1. White House Representative Juan Sepulveda Seeks Better Education for Latino Students

2. Senate Confirms Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, 68-31

3. Doll Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

4. Famous Hispanic Americans

5. Growing Celebration


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage!

Read more articles from the Spotlight of the Month by logging on to SIRS Discoverer®.

Monthly Events/Holidays

  • Columbus Day
    Source: Embassy of the United States of America
    There is still controversy over who "discovered" America, but certainly over 500 years ago Christopher Columbus undertook a voyage that marked modern Europe's engagement with the American continents. This site discusses that historic voyage and the American holiday that commemorates it.

  • Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
    Source: Library of Congress (LOC)
    "Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples, who were once found all over Europe, divided the year by four major holidays" (LOC) This page contains a brief history of Halloween and the origins of some holiday traditions.

Spotlight of the Month topics are selected mainly from Chase's Calendar of Events. Articles are also accessible within the main database and remain in our SIRS newsletter archives for one year.


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