Hispanic Heritage Month is the official time of the year when we celebrate Latinos' contribution to the country. However, the same question arises each year: What are we actually celebrating? Four different looks for the same subject.
Since it was instituted in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month is supposed to be the official time of year for Latinos or Hispanics in the country (those who’ve been here for a long time, those who were born here, and those who keep coming), to celebrate their identity. But, this is a special time so that American society recognizes the contribution of the Spanish-speaking community in the nation.
However, that does not always happen, at least not with the drums and cymbals it deserves. Perhaps it is because Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t have the same strength and popularity as other ethnic celebrations, such as African American Heritage Month; cultural events, such as the Puerto Rican Parade or the Puebla Carnival; or social events, like the Women’s History Month.
Here in Philadelphia, the Hispanic celebration is still a rarity among Whites and Blacks, but especially among Latinos, who have a sense of what it is about but do not actively participate. This may be due to the absence of a unified calendar of events, or the tendency to fall into commonalities when defining 'Hispanic Heritage', or to the geographic, generational and cultural distance between the Latino communities of the city, or the survival of national identities over and above what the United States calls "Latino."
To speak of hispanidad is always an unfinished conversation. The word "Latin" is always followed by a long shadow of ellipses, because above all it is an identity in constant movement-- that is, it migrates.
For this reason, AL DÍA dedicates this issue to trying to answer from four different perspectives the fundamental question: What is celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month? Our identity? Our history? Welcome!