Cinco De Mayo is widely recognized in the United States, but what about Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized as a celebration of the contributions of the close knit Hispanic community.
It is a month long tradition that began on September 15th. Mario Medina of the Multicultural Community Resource Center in Erie tells us it started out as a week long observance.
“It started back in 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson wanted to show appreciation to Hispanics by giving us this opportunity to express ourselves and show the best of ourselves.” Medina said.
“Many of the immigrants that live here in the United States are a diverse group of Hispanics. They celebrate together and incorporate their own cultural practices in their own community.” said Ricardo Estremera, Instructor at Mercyhurst University.
The purpose of Hispanic Heritage is to promote togetherness within their diverse community.
“They come together from Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and they share their own experiences, cultural practices, recipes, different parts of the history, and even language. Their languages and dialects are very different.” Estremera said.
But, it’s about more than just tradition.
Medina says the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month is that it is a celebration highlighting the positive contributions of the Hispanic community.
Over the years, Medina is happy to see contributions of Hispanics grow here in Erie. One significant thing he noticed is a rise in local Hispanic businesses.
“There is 4 or 5 Mexican restaurants here and there, one Puerto Rican and there’s one lady who sells food from El Salvador.” Medina said.
In addition to restaurants, Medina mentioned that he’s part of a local radio show that caters to the Hispanic community. There is also already plans underway for next year’s Hispanic Heritage celebrations.