Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Tanya Ganesh, Sports Director

Lively merengue, warm crispy churros, flavorful salteñas, bright flowy skirts enriched with vivid hues, festive music accentuating every swing of bachata and flare of salsa…this is Hispanic Heritage Month—a time to appreciate and celebrate the rich culture, history, and contributions of the Latinx and Hispanic community, including Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. 

 Hispanic Heritage Month first began as a commemorative week in 1968, when California Congressman George E. Brown made the push to recognize the contributions of the Latinx community. This gained momentum through the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was at its peak, as there was a growing awareness of multicultural identities of the United States. 

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the week to a 30-day period, spanning from September 15 to October 15. The timing of the month coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of multiple Latin American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Chile, and Nicaragua.

The lively spirit of Hispanic Heritage month is brought to LFA with the events UNIDOS, the Latinx affinity group, hosted on campus. The Lotería and Karaoke night in lower Student Union attracted a broad group of students, coming together to honor the month with joy. 

This traditional game of chance, lotería—the Spanish word for lottery—is often referred to as Mexican bingo, where illustrated cards depicting Mexican aesthetics replace bingo balls. Latinx and Hispanic communities have been playing this game for hundreds of years, but in the past decade, it has become increasingly present in the United States. Afterwards, students soulfully sang songs ranging from Corazon Sin Cara to Como la Fleur

The Student Union incorporated dishes such as the Bolivian chicken dish, Picante de Pollo, in honor of the month, which Marianella Gonzalez, the Modern & Classical Languages Chair and advisor of UNIDOS said, “made me feel like I was at home.” Gonzalez explained that “At home, every month is Hispanic Heritage Month…the only difference bringing it to school is that it gives us the opportunity to share it [hispanic culture] with other groups.”

Students immersed themselves in the wide variety of dances that Hispanic culture is known for, including Chacha, Bachata and Rodeo del Payaso, at UNIDOS’ All School Meeting. The affinity group also hosted a Piñata-breaking house cup competition, as well as a Churro sale to fund the Nuestro Center. Lower Corbin displays a mural containing a collage of flags that represent Latinx countries, enveloped in a sea of student handprints to symbolize the unity and support of the LFA community. 

Part of the beauty of this month is the unity it creates in celebration of the rich culture of the Latinx community. Yaelle Ortiz ‘23, a leader of UNIDOS, explained that the events and spirit of the month “make me comfortable to be myself: loud and wild, having fun.” Xitlali Ayala 23’, another leader of UNIDOS, added that it allows her to embrace all parts of her culture and share it. “I can wear my clothes, present my music, enjoy my food…and feel represented and appreciated.”  

Students gather at an UNIDOS organized churro sale during Hispanic Heritage Month. (Photo by Courtesy of @lfacademy on Instagram)