National Hispanic Heritage month in the United States celebrates the heritage of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America and their cultural contributions and histories. The term Hispanic refers not to a person’s race, but to a culture and/or familial country of origin.

Celebration Background

The starting date, September 15, marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras. Additionally, Mexico, Chile, and Belize have independence anniversaries on September 16 (Mexico), September 18 (Chile), and September 21 (Belize). Columbus Day – in Spanish, Día de la Raza – falls on October 12.

Hispanic Heritage Month started as Hispanic Heritage Week, which was first observed in the United States in 1968. Awareness of the many contributions of Hispanic-American community increased throughout the ‘60s as the civil rights movement gained momentum. Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded to be a month-long celebration in 1988, and in late 1988, enacted into law by Ronald Reagan (Public Law 90-48). 

Nationally, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocause Memorial Museum lead celebrations of Hispanic Americans who have enriched our society. For more information, visit the National Hispanic Heritage Month website.

Join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month this October! Here are seven celebratory events happening in Colorado and online:

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Music

September 2 through October 28, Denver: Media Noche Honrado (Latin Jazz) at Nocturne. Media Noche Honrado is playing throughout the months of September and October to honor the Latin Jazz art form and the late Jimmy Trujillo, bassist and original member of Denver’s Media Noche. The series includes original and reworked Latin and Salsa pieces. More details here .

September 15 through October 14, online: El Centro’s virtual celebration of National Latinx Heritage Month. Colorado State University’s El Centro will host a month of virtual events. Remaining events include “Cultural Recipes” (October 5), “Hot Chips, Hot Topics: ‘X’ in Latinx” (October 7), a second “Cultural Recipes” (October 12) and “First Annual: Borderlands Speaker ft. La Espiritista” (October 14). Click here for a full list of event times and details.

Hispanic Heritage Month Art

October 6 and October 16, online: Voces en Arte (Voices in Art) from the Denver Latino Cultural Arts Center. The Denver Latino Cultural Arts Center presents a series of talks with both well-established and up-and-coming artists highlighting the importance of Native, Mexican and Chicano art in Colorado. Featured artists include Daniel Salazar and Juan Espinoza on October 6 and Emanuel Martinez and Victor Escobedo on October 16. More information here.

October 10, Denver: Hispanic Heritage Month Free Day – Solo Espanol at Museo de las Américas. The Museo de las Americas is teaming up with the Denver Public Library to host a free day at the museum entirely in Spanish – this includes tours and arts and crafts activities. The DPL’s Bookmobile will be on-site with Spanish books, movies and magazines, and giveaways. Find more information here.

October 12, 4 – 5 p.m., online: Library of Congress Américas Award Ceremony. Join the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) and the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress for a virtual ceremony honoring the winners of the 2020 Américas Award. Register here.

Opening October 25, Denver: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism exhibit at Denver Art Museum. DAM will present an exhibit exploring Mexican Modernism through paintings and photography. It will feature 13 works by Rivera and more than 20 by Kahlo. Tickets are available here .

Through January 10, Denver: Hecho en Colorado at the History Colorado Center. The History Colorado Center will be displaying culturally significant paintings, sculptures, textiles and writings from Colorado’s Chicano/Mexican American community. View details and purchase tickets here.

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