Stronger Together: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Image courtesy of Madison Public Library

Hispanics and Latinos are not hard to find in South Florida. Many of the residents in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County consider themselves Hispanic or Latino.

And with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month being September 15, many are excited to celebrate their origins and heritage. 

However, some might not know the history behind Hispanic Heritage Month or how to celebrate the diversity of the month.

Some might not know what countries are celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Monthor how long the celebrations last. So here is a brief history of Hispanic Heritage Month and ways to support your local Hispanic and Latino neighbors. 

Hispanic Heritage Month started being celebrated in 1968 and was only one week long before turning into a month-long celebration. Known before as “Hispanic Heritage Week,” it turned into a month-long commemoration in 1988. Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 to October 15 instead of starting and ending in the same month.

This is because many Hispanic and Latino countries celebrate their independence day in between these dates. Countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence day on September 15. 

Others like Mexico celebrate on September 16 and Chile celebrates on September 18. Some countries celebrate their independence before the month like the Dominican Republic which celebrates on February 27 and Brazil which celebrates On September 7.

Although it’s called Hispanic Heritage Month, many Latino countries also celebrate their heritage.

Countries like Brazil are considered Latino because it’s located in South America but its official language is not Spanish. 

Image courtesy of JSOM Perspectives

The main difference between a Latin and Hispanic country is whether or not it speaks Spanish. A country is considered Hispanic based on if it speaks Spanish. A country is considered Latino based on its location.

For example, Latino countries are located in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. That being said, countries can be both Hispanic and Latino or just Hispanic or Latino.

The term Latinx or Latine is also being frequently used now. The term was created during the 2000s as a gender-neutral alternative to being referred to as Latino or Latina. However, if someone doesn’t want to be referred to as Latinx, then they don’t have to. You can be referred to whatever you feel most comfortable with.

There are many ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and make it local. Visiting your local Latino businesses, watching movies or shows with Latino representation or reading works by Latino authors are all ways to do this. Supporting small and local businesses is the best way to show support. So, here are some businesses, events, books and movies to help you celebrate Latino heritage.

One local place to go to for Brazilian coxinhas is Cochic Gourmet. Located on  1631 SE 3rd Ct, Deerfield Beach, Cochic offers a large variety of flavors for the popular Brazilian snack. They also sell a variety of sandwiches and Brazilian food. With menu options like strogonoff de camarão, pão com linguiça, picanha and more. Cochic also offers dine-in, delivery and take-out options.

Another local place to eat is Argentine Grill. Located at 2521 N Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, the restaurant serves a variety of traditional Argentinian food. With menu options like Argentine Parilla, Argentinian “Special Cut Meat,” empanadas and more. Argentina Grill also offers dine-in, delivery and take-out options.

Hector El Barber is another business to look to. Located at 10619 W Atlantic Blvd Suite 122, Coral Springs, Hector’s offers haircuts and other barbershop services for adults and kids alike.

Becca Nails USA is one other local business. Located in Coral Springs, Becca Nails takes her appointments through her Instagram. Becca Nails offers customers gel polish, regular nail services, fiberglass and more. You can follow her Instagram here.


“2021 Latin Quarter WPB Hispanic Heritage Month Parade & Festival” 

This event will be a parade that celebrates Latino heritage with music, games, car parades and more. Located on Forest Hill Community High School6901 Parker Avenue West Palm Beach, the event will be on October 9 from 2 p.m. to 6b p.m. This event is free to attend. For more information, visit this website.

“Hispanic Heritage: “Los Escritores-The Writers” – Book Reading and Signing”

This event will be a meet and greet between novelists, poets and critics as they read and sign the book “Los Escritores- The Writers.” Located on The Box Gallery811 Belvedere Road West Palm Beach, the event will be on October 8 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, visit this website

“Hispanic Heritage Night”

Image courtesy of author’s website

This event is held by the city of Boynton Beach and will have music, food and many other attractions. Located at the  Boynton Beach Arts & Cultural Center on 125 E Ocean Ave Boynton Beach, the event will be on November 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, visit this website.

For those who want to celebrate Latino heritage through reading here are some book recommendations. The first recommendation is “Woven in Moonlight” written by Boca Raton local Isabel Ibañez. The novel follows a young girl’s journey with her identity and country’s revolution while showing off Bolivian history and representation. 

Image courtesy of author’s website

The second book is “Dominicana” written by Angie Cruz. This novel follows the story of a 15-year-old Dominican girl who immigrated to New York as the wife of a man twice her age. The story displays all the highs and lows that she faces while depicting Dominican gender-neutral representation.

Image courtesy of author’s website

Another novel to read is “Crow Blue” written by Adriana Lisboa. The book is about a 13-year-old girl who travels from Brazil to Colorado in search of her stepfather after her mother dies. This novel goes through a young girl’s journey as she faces her family’s dark past while demonstrating Brazilian representation.

Image courtesy of author’s website

The next recommendation is “Mexican Gothic” written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This novel is about a woman who starts investigating after receiving a mysterious letter from her cousin. This book follows this woman as she tries to discover why her cousin claims her husband is trying to kill her while showing off Mexican representation. 

Other than books, you can watch movies to emerge yourself in Latino culture. One recommended movie includes “In The Heights” which is about a Latino neighborhood in Washington Heights as they suffer the highs and lows of life. You can watch this movie on HBO Max.

Another movie is “Selena” which is about the late Tejano and Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla’s life and death. You can watch this movie on Peacock and HBO Max. 

One more recommendation is “Bad Hair” or “Pelo Malo” which is about a Venezuelan boy who wants to straighten his curly hair and causes friction between him and his single mother. You can watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video.

Another recommendation is the movie “Tim Maia” which is about the life and death of Brazilian musician Tim Maia and is based on the novel “Vale Tudo – O Som e a Fúria de Tim Maia” written by Nelson Motta.

You can also watch a special PBS broadcast of the 34th Hispanic Heritage Awards which honors Latinos who are doing outstanding work in their field. The award show will air on PBS on October 9 starting at 9 p.m.

Hispanic and Latino representation is very important. Especially in Boca Raton where there are a lot of Hispanic and Latino communities in the city. And it doesn’t take much to become a little more educated on Hispanic and Latino history.

By doing a little research, supporting local businesses and picking up a book or movie, you are already contributing to Latinos. Happy celebrating. 

About the Author

- Lauren is a junior at Nova Southeastern University who is studying Communications, Creative Writing, and Strategic Communications. In her free time, she loves to go to the beach and writing what's on her mind.

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