National Hispanic Heritage month (September 15 until October 15) pays tribute to the contributions and influences of Hispanic Americans in the United States.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 50.5 million people who identify themselves as Hispanic. The countries most often claimed as their ancestral homelands are Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
Music is one of the many aspects of Hispanic culture that inspires musicians and dancers, and conveys the essence of its traditions and character.
For years, contemporary artists have performed the various musical styles that originated from those countries. Today, the band Aventura infuses hip-hop and R&B sounds with Bachata, from the Dominican Republic. In the 90s, Selena transformed Mexico’s Mariachi into pop music with her hit Siempre Hace Frio. While back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Cuban Celia Cruz made the Charanga popular dance music. Each style has a significant meaning that stems from its origin. Mariachi and Charanga represent celebration and fun times, while Bachata echoes lost love and sadness.
The inauguration of Hispanic Heritage commemoration was in 1968 when it was designated a week-long celebration by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Twenty years later, it was expanded to one month by President Ronald Reagan. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on the anniversary dates of independence for Central and South Americas’ Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, the month-long celebration is underway during the anniversaries of Mexico and Chile independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
BY AMANDA MOSES
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN