Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture and contributions of Hispanic Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. In 1968 President Lyndon Johnson began the tradition with Hispanic Heritage Week. It’s now a month-long celebration from September 15 to October 15th, and the dates include independence days for several Latin American countries as well as Columbus Day.
In 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a parish priest in Guanajuato, Mexico, called for Mexican independence from Spanish rule. El Grito de Dolores is now celebrated across the Southwest on September 16th.
But a month-long extravaganza isn’t long enough for Santa Fe’s 400th anniversary. Celebrations started on September 4th and will continue throughout 2010. ¡ Que Viva la Fiesta!
Also falling within Hispanic Heritage Month, is the annual Banned Books Week, September 26th to October 3rd. This celebration of the freedom to read has been sponsored by the American Library Association since 1982.
This year why not celebrate both events by reading (or re-reading) New Mexico’s own Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima. It’s this year’s selection for a national reading program that highlights Latino literature and Latino authors which is sponsored by LatinoStories.com. Bless Me, Ultima, first published in 1972, has won numerous awards, and was the People’s Choice winner at the New Mexico Book Awards in 2007.
This Anaya classic is also number five on the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2008 as reported by the American Library Association. ¡Que disfrute el libro!