Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

Now is the time of year dedicated to reflecting on our Hispanic heritage even as we are living here in the States.  It would seem that everyone has their own way of celebrating Hispanic Heritage month which is the beauty of it all: everyone makes it their own. So this is how I celebrate as a writer; by bringing you some Hispanic Heritage month fun facts.  Let’s get things started at the beginning.

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

The Reason for the Date

The countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala all have something in common: they all share the same independence anniversary date.  What date might that be?  You guessed it, September 15th the day that Hispanic Heritage month kicks off here in the States.

The Origins of the Hispanic Term

There has been a decent amount of web space dedicated to attempting to clarify the whole Hispanic vs. Latino debate but what many people don’t know are the deep down roots of the word ‘Hispanic.’  Originally (going back further than even the P.C. police were concerned) the term Hispania was used to refer to people from Portugal and Spain only.

Early Colonization

Everybody thinks of Plymouth Rock as the birthplace of American colonization but few people know that there are a couple cities in the United States that were founded way before the pilgrims landed on the East Coast. Santa Fe, New Mexico and St. Augustine, Florida were both founded, Hispanic cities before Plymouth, Massachusetts was settled.  Here you can test a bit of your Hispanic history knowledge.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

You have probably heard of the Mexican-American war of the 1800’s and you have probably even heard of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that resulted from the conflict but do you know how much the States agreed to pay for California, Texas and New Mexico for?  Approximately 15 million dollars.  What a deal!

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts

The Unsolved Death of Oscar Zeta Acosta

Oscar Zeta Acosta was a lawyer, novelist and prominent figure in the Chicano movement of the 70’s but there is still mystery surrounding his disappearance and death.  His body was never found but he is believed to have been assassinated at some time during a trip to Mazatlán, Mexico.

Good Blood

Type O blood is the blood type that is most sought out by hospitals and guess which ethnic group has the most of it?  That’s right, Hispanics. It is estimated that type O blood runs through the veins of 60% of the Hispanic population.

Language

Did you know that Spanish is the 2nd most commonly spoken language in the world?  There are over 300 million native Spanish speakers in the world and that is just ahead of English speakers but Chinese still dominates in terms of how many people speak it as their native language.

Spanish Longevity

While there is some speculation it is generally accepted that Spaniards have been established in Europe in some form or another longer than any other European ethnic group.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed these Hispanic Heritage month fun facts and as you engage in various kinds of Hispanic culture traditions in the coming weeks, take some time to observe our rich history and learn something you never knew about us. Hopefully this was a good start.

How Hispanics are Redefining the US – Hispanic Heritage Month

As we observe Hispanic heritage month this year and reflect on what it means to be Hispanic in America, it is almost getting hard to see a defining line.

What I mean is that Hispanics are becoming so ingrained in the American culture and way of life that it is getting tricky to see where one culture starts and the other begins.  In truth, they are the same but where there were once clear markers between the two there are now only vague intimations.

This is because with things like Hispanic population growth and other factors, Hispanics are redefining what it means to be American.

How are Hispanics redefining the Unites States?  I’m glad you asked that question.  First, let’s take a broad look at the situation. Hispanic people account for half of the U.S. population growth over the past 10 years.  Without going into any more detail than that one has to assume that such a population growth will have far-reaching effects into all aspects of American life but let’s get into the details, shall we?

Hispanic Heritage Month - How Hispanics Are Redefining the US

Hispanic Heritage Month – How Hispanics Are Redefining the US

How Hispanics Are Redefining the US

Internet Presence

In this day and age one cannot deny the influence and impact that the internet, namely social media, has on our daily lives. Having established that fact let me point you to another statistic: Hispanic adults account for 72% of people active on social media.  You can interpret that fact as you will but you cannot deny that social media influence leaks into other aspects of American culture which leads us to…

Marketing

Major and niche markets have responded to this huge population boom and Hispanic social media presence and are scrambling to market to the Hispanic demographic. Ads are in English and Spanish and agencies are throwing more money at getting inside of the mind of the Latino because of…

Latino Spending Power

It is projected that by the year 2050 Latinos will comprise about 30% of the U.S. population. This means that our dollars will be that much more important to the U.S. economy.

As our presence increases so too will the amount of money we contribute to the various markets of our economy. Our contributions to the economy inherently leads to…

Political Influence

For better or worse, political candidates have to pander to the Hispanic population especially presidential candidates who are looking to secure California and Texas (the states with the most electoral points) which have the highest Hispanic populations in the country.  All of this amounts to the main way how Hispanics are redefining the US.

Cultural Influence

All of the aforementioned factors are only solidifying our place in this country.  It is obvious to anyone who lives in the U.S. that Hispanics are not going anywhere and we have already made our indelible mark on the American culture. You see it everywhere; in food, in music, on the Latino News Sources in the US  and on Television.

You see people sipping on Margaritas in bars and Anglos practically begging to learn Spanish from the Paisas in Echo Park and the Mission District and in Jackson Heights in Queens.  And it should be of no surprise to any American that Hispanic culture and influence has become so engrained in this nation that was billed as a melting pot of culture.

Our mark can be seen in everyday life.  People understand us more, they fear us less and we continue to branch out and make our presence felt.  That is how Hispanics are redefining the United States.

Hispanic Heritage Month Themes

Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up, and for teachers, that means a great opportunity to teach their students about the many cultures that Hispanic people represent.

But first maybe you are wondering: When did Hispanic Heritage Month begin? It actually dates back to 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first Hispanic Heritage Week. 20 years later, Congress expanded it to a whole month. And that means a month of lessons.

Are you a teacher looking for Hispanic Heritage Month themes? Here are a few ideas:

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #1: Day of the Dead

Face painting is a great way to celebrate Day of the Dead in the classroom.

Face painting is a great way to celebrate Day of the Dead in the classroom.

This Hispanic Heritage Month theme is very timely. With the creation of the animated movie The Book of Life, this is a great chance to teach your students about el Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

  • Elementary: Students color drawings of Day of the Dead skulls.
  • Junior High: Students research, make, and decorate sugar skulls in class. At the end of the month, they have a Day of the Dead party where they paint their faces similar to a sugar skull.
  • High School: Students research the tradition of the Day of the Dead altar. Then they create an altar, with different groups bringing different offerings (ofrendas).As appropriate, those represented can be famous people who have died, or students can choose to honor loved ones who have died, such as grandparents.

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #2: Music

Latin America is famous for its music. Your students will love learning more about it.

  • Elementary: Make maracas. All they need is beans and a juice can.
  • Junior High: Each week, pick a different style of Latin music (salsa, cumbia, mambo, merengue, mariachi, trova, Andean panpipes, etc.).Play several songs, then have them talk about the music: how does it make them feel, is it similar to something they know, etc. At the end of the month, the class votes on its favorite, which is then the featured music at a Hispanic celebration.
  • High School: In groups, students pick a Latin ritmo (rhythm): salsa, merengue, cumbia, etc. Using the Internet, they learn how to do the accompanying dance.The groups then do a presentation where they teach the others the steps. At an end-of-month party, all the ritmos are played and the students practice – and have fun!

Hispanic Heritage Month Theme #3: Legends and Stories

Latin America is rich in myths, ghost stories, and legendary figures. This Hispanic Heritage Month theme is very versatile because each country has its own myths and legends.

  • Elementary: Have students color drawings of Latin American myths or dress up as them.
  • Junior High: Students read several ghost stories or legends. In groups, they write and then perform their own mini-plays based on the stories.
  • High School: Students pick a country and research one of its legends. They then do presentations for the class.

Want more ideas? Hispanic Culture Online is one of the Web’s best resources on Hispanic Month. Check out our archives here.

Are you a teacher looking for Hispanic Heritage Month themes? Share your ideas in the comments!

Celebrate Hispanic Month at Home
3 Easy Ideas To Do It

¿How to celebrate Hispanic Month at home?  3 simple ways to have fun and keep Hispanic culture alive.

If you’ve ever been to a party at a Hispanic person’s home, you know that Hispanic parties never start on time. So is that why Hispanic month doesn’t start on the first of the month?

Actually, we start to celebrate Hispanic month on September 15 because five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) celebrate their independence on this day. Three more countries (Mexico, Chile, and Belize) will also celebrate their freedom before Hispanic month ends on October 15.

From the earliest history of the US, Hispanic people have put their mark on our culture with important contributions in every area from art to literature to science, politics, and business.

Before you even start planning your adventures for hispanic month think about the meaning of being Hispanic, what does it mean for you?  If you want to know more check my article on What Is Hispanic?. Dare to comment…

Sometimes we need a bit of a reminder to stop and look at our history through a Hispanic lens. That’s why we have National Hispanic Heritage Month. With Hispanic culture so prevalent in America today, it’s easier than you might think to celebrate Hispanic month at home. Check out these 3 ideas.

How to Celebrate Hispanic Month: Explore Hispanic Cuisine

celebrate Hispanic Month

Enjoy a “Típico” from the Antioquia region. Beans with rice, plantains, arepa and avocado.

As in many cultures, food plays a very important role in Hispanic culture. It forms the centerpiece for all kinds of important family gatherings and celebrations.

This year, why not explore all the variations of Hispanic cuisine by preparing one special meal or dish each week, inspired by a different Latin American country? For example you might prepare Peruvian ceviche one week followed by Cuban pork roast or Mexican wedding cookies. Dare to go beyond tacos and enchiladas during this mes de La Hispanidad!

Take a Hispanic Media Challenge

With a whole month to celebrate, you should have time to explore a great deal of Hispanic contributions to art, literature, music, movies, etc.

Here is my challenge: Read one book by a notable Hispanic author like Gabriel Garcia Márquez or Isabelle Allende, listen to a different Hispanic musician’s work each day, or learn about Hispanic art through the ages with an online course.  Choose one and run with it.

Tour Hispanic Heritage Sites

You can find countless Hispanic heritage sites here in the US as well as throughout the world.

Visiting these sites—in person or from your computer—makes an excellent way to immerse yourself in Hispanic culture and discover more about a particular aspect of our culture. Just remember, a Hispanic heritage site doesn’t have to be famous or commemorate some huge event.

The everyday business of living also makes an important part of Hispanic culture and heritage. Look around you in your own local community. You might be surprised to discover fascinating Hispanic markets, shops, churches, and more right in your own backyard.

Latin Party

Throwing a Latin Party To Celebrate Hispanic Style

One of the hottest trends is throwing Latin parties or giving a Latino touch to your parties. I give a twist to any regular party by adding some Hispanic culture and Spanish elements to it. I am giving you simple ideas to enjoy a Latin bash with style.

The main elements of this party are: decor, invitations, food and Latin party music. So go ahead and make your party a success!

Latin Decor: Mexican Sarapes...throw them on the couch or use them as table cloths to decorate

Latin Decor: Mexican Sarapes…throw them on the couch or use them as table cloths to decorate

Setting the mood. Think about indoor or outdoor.

  • For indoor parties use colorful candles on tables creating clusters of color that become focal points.
  • Decorate your couch and furniture with bright colored throws. Use simple blankets or traditional sarapes -colorfully striped blankets with reds, blues, purples, and oranges.
  • Buy colorful flowers and use them as center pieces. Daisies, geraniums, and lilies work well.
  • Use a yellow or burgundy table cloth as a base. On top place a sarape. The base colors pick up nicely other bright colors in the decor.
  • For outdoor parties have a piñata hanging from a tree filled with chocolates. I prefer white chocolates from Argentina (Bariloche) or typical dark chocolate from Mexico. If indoors, hang it in a corner as a focal point.
  • Hang Luminarias or paper lights from trees, put them on your deck to light the path, on your deck rail, or on the front of your home. Keep colors alike: burgundy, purple, yellow and orange.
By Aslentz. Available at http://www.zazzle.co.uk

By Aslentz. Available at http://www.zazzle.co.uk

Latin party invitations call for bold color papers, keeping burgundy, purple and orange in your color scheme. Make them bilingual! Write inside:

  • “Te invito a celebrar estilo Latino! or Fiesta!”
  • On Saturday September 20 from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • At my house XXXXX (give the address)
  • RSVP 222-555 44 55 xxxxx@yahoo.com by 10/08/09
  • Be ready to break the piñata!
  • Alternative? send an Evite that has bold colors. Use the “Design your own” feature or upload your own background and image to create a unique invitation.
Picture by Patricia McCausland

Picture by Patricia McCausland

Food. Yum! To make your Latin party a success think about the main bocadillos, pasantes or small foods you love from your country. A chic way to serve your foods is using terracotta pots. Yes! Clean them well and serve chips, corn fritters or empanadas in them.
Click on the recipes below.

  • Include small pieces of chorizos or pork sausage, sautéed onions, and pieces of thin meat over flat bread or use arepas, a white thick corn tortilla from Colombia.
  • An alternative to terracotta pots ia to use big colorful wooden bowls like bateas to serve empanadas, bunuelos or cheese/sweet corn fritters, chicharrones or fried pork skin with meat, smooth guacamole and pico de gallo with corn chips.
  • To clean the palate make a big bowl with salpicón, a mix of tropical fruits with juice or soda.
  • Last? Make sets of bocadillo, membrillo, or guava paste with white cheese on toothpicks and pass them along.
Picture by Daniel Lobo.

Picture by Daniel Lobo.

Beverages give a very typical Latino touch. Try to include at least 3 of the ones listed below. Click on the recipes.

  • A good Sangria
  • Cuba Libre drinks.
  • Tequila with salt and lime.
  • Micheladas, which are cold beer with salt, lemon and spice -depending of the country or region you get the recipe from.
  • Typical red and white wines from Chile, Argentina or Uruguay. My favorite is Santa Rita Carménère 120 from Chile.
  • You can also offer non-alcoholic authentic Hispanic beverages like soda pops, nectars, juices, and aguas frescas. 
Grupo Aventura...One of the best Bachateros of today!

Grupo Aventura…One of the best Bachateros of today!

Latin party Music is key to a memorable fiesta. Think about your guests. Are the majority Hispanic? Do you have a 50/50 mix or are the majority Americans? Also consider the age of your guests and rhe time of the party.

  • If the majority of the people are Latinos willing to dance then go along with salsa, merengue, Pop Latin music and some jazz.
  • If you have a mix leaning towards Americans (that always happens to me) then play Latin Jazz. Eddi Palmieri or Paquito D’Rivera are good choices. Also mix in Pop Latino with artists like Shakira and Jose Feliciano.
  • If your guests are all Latinos go ahead, be ready to dance until the morning hours (even if the invite says over at 6:00 pm) and play a super mix of salsa, merengue, bachata and rock en Español.

Why Throw a Latin Party?

Just because we love having fun while keeping our traditions going. We make every occasion a special one so we have an excuse to party. We are happy people and love to use any chance we have to get together with friends and family.

Yes, we like to listen to music a bit louder than other people do, our parties last for a long time (some the entire night), and yes the majority of us like to have many drinks even though we know the “guayabo” or sickness the next day is going to be ugly!

The good news? We involve the whole family, neighborhood, or even church. So get ready to party Latino Style.

Hispanic Terminologies

Taken from the article  "Marielitos, ¿gusanos convertidos en mariposas?" (AP)

Taken from the article
“Marielitos, ¿gusanos convertidos en mariposas?” (AP)

Here is a small test on what I call Hispanic terminologies. They are terms or words that we use to denote a particular object, group of people, movement, etc., and that are strongly related to Hispanic culture.

The Latino terms I included here have some importance in Hispanic-American culture, either because they were born here as a way to describe something new that happened when Hispanic culture and American culture mixed (for example the word Dominicanish) or because they are widly used in the U.S. like “Boricua.”

Many people take some of these terms as derogatory, I simply see them as part of history and who we are. Try not to scroll down completely as you can find the correct answers at the bottom of the page in the last section under “Check Your Answers Here.”

Who are Nuyoricans?

1st generation Dominicans living in New York.
2nd and 3rd generation Puerto Ricans living in New York.
2nd generation Salvadorians living in New York.
Who is a Jibaro?

A Hispanic person who has a jiba or bump on his back.
A poor dweller of the Puerto Rican country side.
A poor inhabitant of the outskirts of Venezuela.
Who does the term balsero refer to?

A Hispanic person who uses a raft or balsa to cross a river.
A Mexican who helps illegal immigrants to cross the southern border of the U.S.
A Cuban rafter who escaped his country in the 1980s in search of a better life in the U.S.
What is Dominicanish?

A special dish Dominicans prepare with plantains and other ingredients from their home land.
A person who is Dominican and Spanish.
A particular form of Spanglish spoken in the Dominican American community in Washington Heights, New York City.
Who are called Marielitos?

A generation of Cuban exiles who left their country in the 1980s in an authorized massive boat lift.
A generation of Nicaraguan exiles who arrived in the U.S. under political asylum after the Sandinist(a) war in the 1980s.
A generation of Puerto Ricans who came to the U.S. in the 1910s in massive boats to work in the production of tabaco.

 

This content is part of the Hispanic Culture Test developed by hispanic-culture-online.com any reproduction without permission of the site is a violation. For written permission please use the “Contact” form at the top right hand side of the page.

Check Your Answers Here

If you have any suggestions or comments about this Hispanic Terminologies test let me know them by using the Contact form at the top right hand side of this page.

  • Who are Nuyoricans? 2nd and 3rd generation Puerto Ricans living in New York.
  • Who is a Jibaro? A poor dweller of the Puerto Rican country side.
  • Who does the term balsero refer to? A Cuban rafter who escaped his country in the 1980s in search of a better life in the U.S.
  • What is Dominicanish? A particular form of Spanglish spoken in the Dominican American community in Washington Heights, New York City.
  • Who are called Marielitos? A generation of Cuban exiles who left their country in the 1980s in an authorized massive boat lift.

Hispanic Singers and Musicians

Hispanic Month is the perfect time to enjoy and introduce Hispanic singers and musicians to people who are not familiar with them. Who would you talk about?

Here in this small test are some of the most well known and revered artists that made big strides in creating wonderful Latino music.

Take this test and try not to scroll down completely as you can find the correct answers at the bottom of the page in the last section under “Check Your Answers Here.”

Shakira: Pop Star from Colombia

Shakira: Pop Star from Colombia
by Orin Zebest

He is called “El Rey del Mambo,” which is a Cuban musical form and dance style.

Tito Puente
Alfredo de La Fe
Paquito D’Rivera
She was the first successful cross-over Hispanic Pop singer. She is from Cuba.

Shakira
Lucy Lou
Gloria Estefan
This siger is called “El Cantante de los Cantantes” or the singer of singers. He is from Puerto Rico.

Hector Lavoe
Carlos Santana
Paquito D’Rivera
Who si called “La Guarachera de Cuba,” famous for her saying “azúcar” or sugar?

Gloria Estefan
Lucy Arnaz
Celia Cruz
Who is the most prominent Venezuelan conductor of today? He is the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Giancarlo Guerrero
Gustavo Dudamel
Germán A. Gutiérrez

 

This content is part of the Hispanic Culture Test developed by hispanic-culture-online.com any reproduction without express permission of the site is a violation. For written permission please use the “Contact” form at the top right hand side of the page.

Check Your Answers Here

If you have any suggestions or comments let me know them by using the Contact form at the top right hand side of this page.

  • He is called “El Rey del Mambo,” which is a Cuban musical form and dance style. Tito Puente. Some people write to me telling me it is “Perez Prado,” here is a link to the Lincoln Center article called The Music of Gillespie & Puente, where it says he was called “The Mambo King.”
  • She was the first successful cross-over Hispanic Pop singer. She is from Cuba. Gloria Estefan.
  • This siger is called “El Cantante de los Cantantes” or the singer of singers. He is from Puerto Rico. Hector Lavoe.
  • Who si called “La Guarachera de Cuba,” famous for her saying “azucar” or sugar? Celia Cruz.
  • Who is the most prominent Venezuelan conductor of today? He is the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Gustavo Dudamel.

Hispanic Places in the U.S.

Hispanic places in the U.S.? Yes! Many to be exact. Mostly in the south and the North East of the U.S. Not surprising after knowing that the southern part of the United States was the northern part of Mexico.

Today the U.S. has a tremendous influx of Hispanics from many places around the globe, and specially from mexico. Therefore we find ourselves eating more Latino foods, listening to Latin music or even going to areas where Spanish is heavily spoken.

This is a small Hispanic-places-in-the-U.S. test that I hope creates an apetite to know more of these ethnic travel destinations, here, in our own country. Try not to scroll down completely as you can find the correct answers at the bottom of the page in the last section under “Check Your Answers Here.”

This neighborhood was the settlement of the first wave of Cuban exiles and refugees in the late 1950s.

Little Havana in Miami FL
Kendall in Miami FL
My Cuba in Raleigh NC
Which island in known as “La Isla Nena” in the U.S.?

Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Vieques in Puerto Rico
Which neighborhood in New York City is called “El Barrio”?

Harlem
Soho
Spanish Harlem
This island is called “La Isla del Encanto”

Puerto Rico
Catalina Island in CA
South Padre Island in TX
This city is the oldest Spanish settlement in the U.S.

El Paso TX
Mission Viejo CA
St. Agustine FL

This content is part of the Hispanic Culture Test developed by hispanic-culture-online.com any reproduction without permission of the site is a violation. For written permission please use the “Contact” form at the top right hand side of the page.

Check Your Answers Here

If you have any suggestions or comments about this Hispanic Palces in the U.S. Test let me know them by using the Contact form at the top right hand side of this page.

  • This neighborhood was the settlement of the first wave of Cuban exiles and refugees in the late 1950s. Little Havana in Miami FL.
  • Which island in known as “La Isla Nena” in the U.S.? Vieques in Puerto Rico.
  • Which neighborhood in New York City is called “El Barrio”? Spanish Harlem.
  • This island is called “La Isla del Encanto.” Puerto Rico.
  • This city is the oldest Spanish settlement in the U.S. St. Agustine.

Picture at the top by Bulaclac Paruparu