"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

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 starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period."

- from NationaHispanicHeritageMonth.gov

Terminology

Hispanic and Latino/a/x often are used interchangeably, but some people draw a distinction between the two: 

  • Hispanic: People from Spain or from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin American (excludes Brazil because Portuguese is the primary language)
  • Latino/a: People from Latin America regardless of language (includes Brazil, but excludes Spain and Portugal)
  • Latinx: A newer gender neutral alternative to Hispanic or Latino/a

For a good guide on terminology and how people identify, check out the Pew Research Center's Who is Hispanic?