Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month



Hispanic Heritage Month is a month long celebration that signifies heritage, diversity, integrity and honor among hispanic cultures.

Why do we celebrate from September 15th through October 15th?

The celebration begins on September 15th which is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

What do we celebrate during this time? TRADITIONS

Quinceañera: The Quinceañera is the Latina coming-of-age celebration on a girl's 15th birthday. The word "quinceañera" comes from the Spanish words "quince" for 15 and "años" for years. The journey of life from an innocent childhood to an aesthetic adulthood is an exciting phase in the life of a girl. The physical changes, the sudden hormonal surges and the maturing mind rush together marking the beginning of the adulthood. The feeling is special and this unique quinceanera tradition makes it all the more an alluring experience for the girl. The origin of this tradition goes back to the ancient Aztec culture, when the marking of adulthood in a girl transformed her into a young woman with responsibilities. The word quinceanera was derived from the Spanish word quince which means fifteen. Quinceanera tradition is prominently practiced in countries like Mexico, Puerto Rica and Cuba.

Piñata: A decorated container filled with candy and toys is suspended in the air to be broken by blindfolded kids with sticks. Piñata's are used as part of Christmas and birthday celebrations in certain Latin-American countries.The glowing brown sacks that adorn Albuquerque walkways, churches and homes each holiday season are called luminarias and date back more than 300 years. The New Mexican tradition began when the Spanish villages along the Rio Grande displayed the unique and easy to make Christmas lanterns, called luminarias to welcome the Christ child into the world. A traditional luminaria is a brown paper bag, which has been folded at the top, filled will a couple cups of sand and a votive candle.

Three Kings: The Feast of the Three Kings also known as the Epiphany, takes place every year on January 6th. It is an intricate part of Puerto Rican folklore. Traditionally, this day is very important, especially for children, for it is on this eve that they will receive their gifts. On the feast of the Epiphany, the Three kings visited the newly born Christ Child in Bethlehem bearing him gifts. This tradition is repeated and reflected in present day with the belief that on this eve the 3 Kings will visit every good child to deliver them gifts. Tradition states that on the Eve of the Epiphany children collect hay, straw or grass and place it in boxes or containers under their beds. This gesture is a gift of food for the Kings' Horses while they rest in between deliveries. Note:(we have no Camels in PR). If a child is good for the past year he will receive candies, sweets or toys. If the child was misbehaved or naughty he would instead find a lump of dirt or charcoal in his box. This tradition is much older than that of Santa's visit on Christmas Eve.

ART One of the most famous artists in recent history is Pablo Picasso. He was an incredible artist whose works will be around for the rest of time. His style of art is very unique and has an abstract feel to it. It catches your eye and every time you look at one of his pieces you notice something new about it.

One of his most famous pieces is “Guernica”. This painting depicts a bombing during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing took place in the town of Basque. This occurrence upset Picasso a great deal and so he painted a picture depicting the ruins it left the town in. The picture is very interesting and there is a great deal of detail that you do not notice at first glance. The depictions of people are strange. They do not have normal faces and bodies but rather very round and disproportionate figures. Not only are the body disproportionate but they are also disembodied. The heads, arms, and legs are scattered around the painting to make the scene depicted very gruesome. Animals are depicted within the painting as well. The animals seem scared and in pain. Every face in this picture has a distressed face on them. There are also blocks in the background of the painting, which could represent the buildings in the city of Basque. The painting is in gray scale which gives the painting a sad and depressed tone.

FOOD Join 9 Family Connection and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Latin Food and Wine Festival. This two-day celebration honors tradition, art, music and food. Beginning with Savor the Night, Friday, October 14th; an intimate culinary affair hosting approximately 300 guests on the rooftop of the Stirling Global Gallery at The Plaza in Downtown Orlando. Enjoy delectable dishes, wine, signature drinks, silent auction, and great entertainment. Join us on Saturday, October 15th for the Grand Tasting which will be held at the exquisite Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida, where local restaurants unite to bring you the best of Latin cuisine.

For tickets and more information, visit www.latinfoodandwine.com

MUSIC Salsa is perhaps the most famous Latin dance types of them all is the Salsa. Salsa dancing is widely understood to incorporate elements of both African and Caribbean dance. Like most Latin dances, you need to have a partner for this dance type and you will surely see some pretty fancy footwork and loads of amazing flourishes as the dance unfolds. Salsa is danced to a basic 4-beat music and has 2 quick steps, a pause and then a slow step. Read on for more on salsa dance moves.

Cha Cha Cha is one of the many Latin dance styles which originated in Cuba. Cha Cha Cha too is very often performed by couples, with a signature 3-step motion. At the start of the dance, one partner moves 3 steps forward while the other one moves 3 steps back. This is followed by 3 steps to the side, all of which are counted by the words 'Cha Cha Cha' giving this dance its name. Read on for more on cha cha dance steps.

No need to tell you where Samba comes from as basic word association will bring the country name 'Brazil' to your lips almost immediately. While the music for Samba is in 2/4th time or 4/4th time, Samba is more about how you execute the steps rather than about moving your arms and legs in a particular way. Latin dance styles are all about grace and Samba is definitely right there on top of the list. While dancing the Samba, it is essential for the dancer to have a bouncing motion rather than a simple mechanical one. Read on for more on samba dance steps.

Bachata is another of the famous Latin dance styles. This one originates in the Dominican Republic. Bachata resembles the 3 sidewards steps of the Cha Cha Cha but there is also a pronounced pause at the end of the dance. This dance is performed with the music of the same name playing in the background. Read on for more on bacahta dance steps.

The Mambo's popularity spread further across the world with the famous Lou Bega song 'Mambo No. 5'. There will be a lot of trumpets playing in the background while you place your first tentative steps for this Latin dance style, as Mambo is danced mainly to Jazz music. Mambo finds its origins in Cuba, more specifically in the city and casinos of Havana. Complicated and fast dance steps are the norm in this dance. Like the Cha Cha Cha, this dance too has the partners moving towards each other with 3 steps forwards and 3 steps backwards.

Merengue is one of the most beautiful Latin dance styles and is performed by couples. The couples stand together with their hands help in a closed position. In Merengue, there is always a leader and a follower, irrespective of gender. The leader holds the waist of the follower in with the right hand and guides the follower into the dance. Merengue is danced to a 2-step beat and the partners dance sidewards and release one hand and circle each other and twirl. The merengue dance and its music (also known as Merengue) are the official dance and music of the Dominican Republic.