How Do We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Around The World?

September brings many amazing autumn things, but most importantly, it kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15th to October 15th every year, people around the world with Hispanic and Latinx family roots get together for huge events, practice classic Hispanic traditions, and celebrate all the beautiful things in Hispanic culture.

But how exactly is this holiday celebrated around the world? Let’s dive in! 

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month began, of all places, in the United States, way back in 1968. Then-President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the week including September 15th and 16th as Hispanic Heritage Week, in honor of eight Central American countries — Mexico, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua — who established their independence between September 15th and 21st of their respective years. 

President Johnson used the term “Hispanic” as a catch-all for countries and cultures who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking ancestors (and yes, that includes Spain itself!). The wide variety of cultural practices, foods, traditions, music, and more made Hispanic Heritage Week a time to experience just a taste of what it means to be Hispanic. 

Twenty years later, the 1988 Congress passed a law extending the celebration to a full month, with the first official Hispanic Heritage Month kicking off from September 15th to October 15th, 1989. 

And today, Hispanic Heritage Month is about more than celebrating our countries’ independence: it’s a chance to celebrate our cultures, our families, and what it means to be a part of the Hispanic community. 

How do we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in Mexico? 

At its heart, Hispanic Heritage Month is about tradition. The best way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in Mexico is the same way we celebrate any other holiday: we throw a HUGE party! In Mexican culture, we put a huge emphasis on things passed down through generations. The biggest example of this can be found in our food, but there is also massive historical significance for us in the holiday.

Just before midnight on September 15th, crowds around Mexico gather for a unique tradition. We reenact “El Grito,” the moment when Father Hidalgo (the Father of the Mexican Revolution) called for revolution. The following day, September 16th, is a day of parades, delicious food, and parties. You’ll see people all over wearing red, green, and white — the colors of the Mexican flag. 

For Mexicans abroad, Hispanic Heritage Month and Mexican Independence Day typically center around a family meal with traditional recipes like tamales and concha. You’ll hear classic Mexican music blasting through speakers as families and neighbors gather to dance and tell stories. And of course, the tequila and the Mexican candy keep flowing — Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to rediscover our favorite nostalgic treats, as well as introduce our friends and neighbors to classic Mexican flavors. 

How do people celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in other countries?


  • In the United States, most people put an emphasis on discovery and experience. During Hispanic Heritage Month, people from other cultures take time to explore Hispanic culture, food, traditions, and clothing. Local community celebrations — especially in places with large Hispanic populations, like Texas and parts of Florida — bring out the fireworks, parades, and traditional music. 
  • In Chile, you’ll find historic reenactments and contests centered on ancient Chilean practices, like canoeing and downhill tobogganing. Chile has a delicious and robust wine culture, so many vineyards and restaurants will host heritage celebrations, often featuring historic recipes and a big event like grape stomping. 
  • In Belize, families bust out the food. You’ll discover classic meals like caldo (a simple, delicious soup made from chicken or pork), hudut (a fish dish with coconut milk and plantains), and cohune cabbage (a plant similar to hearts of palm, chopped down from high trees and cooked in curry with rice and chicken). 
  • In Costa Rica, people love to dance! Heritage celebrations feature live music, dancing, and an incredible atmosphere based on Costa Rica’s quedar bien (“to remain well”) attitude. Costa Rican natives, who call themselves Ticos, are known for their hospitality and welcoming personalities. A Costa Rican celebration might also include a traditional tope, or horse show, in which Tico cowboys perform and compete in classic rodeo events.
  • In El Salvador, heritage celebrations often feature fireworks, music, and culinary traditions blended from indigenous and Spanish influences. Salvadoran food like fried palm flowers, pupusas, plantains, and soups are common, as is a sugar cane soda called Kolachampon. 
  • In Guatemala, heritage fairs and parades are not to be missed. Because Guatemala has a large number of local Mayan villages, many people wear colorful native clothing when celebrating with traditional rituals or performances. Guatemala’s Independence Day events often include football (soccer) competitions, horse races, and traditional dancing, along with the display and sale of traditional indigenous crafts and goods. 
  • In Honduras, a major tradition is the punta, a unique Honduran dance and music performed at carnivals, fairs, and parades. Families often make or buy baleada, a popular Honduran fast food: a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, butter, and fried beans, sometimes with avocado, chorizo, or scrambled eggs inside. 
  • In Nicaragua, the country’s vibrant writing culture shows up in readings of famous Nicaraguan poems during heritage celebrations. Traditional music and dance, like waltzes, can be found at fiestas along with classic foods like enchiladas, baked goods, and yuca. 
  • Spain has its own Hispanic Heritage celebrations, too! Tapas, small-portioned dishes shared around the table, are a classic part of celebrations, although most people stop into multiple bars and restaurants for a dish or two, rather than ordering a huge meal from one place. At parties, you’ll see people performing flamenco music, sometimes accompanied by dancers. 

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