ORLANDO, Fla. — Sept. 15 marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Latino American citizens and their contributions and culture.
National Hispanic Heritage Month has a decades-long tradition in the United States, and as the Hispanic population grows, so does the celebration.
Here are 9 things to know about National Hispanic Heritage Month:
- The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and enacted into law on Aug. 17 of that year.
- Sept. 15 has significance: It is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
- Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively.
- Columbus Day or Día de la Raza falls on Oct. 12 which is within that 30-day period.
- The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 2019 was 60.6 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
- Florida is one of 12 states with a million or more Hispanic residents, census data shows.
- According to VisitOrlando, Orange County residents of Puerto Rican descent account for nearly 15% of Orange County’s population, followed by locals who claim Mexican (3.2%) and Cuban (2.9%) heritage. Just about every other Hispanic and Latino nation is also represented.
- The Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival takes place in Orlando from Sept. 10-18. See the full lineup here.
- Salsa y Sazón Latin Food and Music Festival takes place in Festival Park east of downtown Orlando on Sept. 26. It will include prizes, a kids’ zone and more. Click here for more information.
Eyewitness News presents “Hispanic Heritage Month: Central Florida: Se Habla Espanol” this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9. Watch how the Hispanic community is shaping the community from migration to main street.
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