Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Lingfei Zhao, Syosset

There are a lot of holidays and awareness months that we have to celebrate people’s different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Hispanic Heritage Month is one that celebrates the contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans and runs every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

During this month, there are many different events that take place around the country that celebrate the history, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The government website gives a history of the holiday and resources about the different events that are taking place. According to the website, the observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.

How did they choose September and October? According to the website, Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza (Day of the People), an alternate observance of Columbus Day commemorating Hispanic heritage in the Americas, falls within this period, on Oct. 12.

During this celebration and also throughout the year, it is interesting to hear about famous people who most people do not know have a Hispanic heritage, such as singers Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey and Bruno Mars; actors Charlie Sheen and Alexis Bledel; former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo; and dancer Mark Ballas. It is also interesting to learn about some major contributions from Hispanic and Latin Americans. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic-American to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There are many opportunities during this month to celebrate Hispanic heritage, and you can also learn a lot about the contributions Hispanic-Americans have made throughout history.