By Robert Nuñez, Social Media Assistant
Hispanic Heritage Month is a nationally celebrated period of time that begins on September 15th and ends on October 15th. Its start date is uniquely in the middle of the month since most national, month-long heritage celebrations began on the 1st of the month. The start date of September 15th is significant because it essentially kicks off a string of independence anniversaries for a vast majority of Latin American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence on the 15th, with Mexico’s independence celebrated the very next day on the 16th. Fast forward a few days and you get to Chile’s independence celebration day on the 18th. In addition, also within the 30-day period, Día de la Raza (Race Day) is celebrated on the 12th of October.
As a first-generation Mexican-American, I am constantly engulfed in what is my version of “Hispanic Heritage” regardless of what time of year it is. I simply have to take a short drive to my parents’ home in Carson City, Nevada. Whether it’s the rich, heartwarming aroma of Arroz Rojo being prepared, the sound of my father belting out verses from ballads by Mexican legends such as Antonio Aguilar and José Alfredo Jiménez, or maybe I’m immediately met with a coughing fit because my mother is frying peppers on the stove. Whatever it may be, this is the life I’ve always known and will continue to cherish for the rest of my life. However, I do recognize that are SO many other ways to experience what falls under the huge categorization of what is “Hispanic Heritage” and I think that’s what I love most about this month-long spotlight on culture and traditions.
I tried Nicaraguan Nacatamales for the first time a few days prior to writing this article, and though I’m quite acquainted with Mexican Tamales, I was not ready for the absolute explosion of delicious flavors that flooded my mouth. I paired my one nacatamale (yes, only one because its size is the equivalent of about 3 or 4 Mexican tamales) with an ice-cold coke and buttered bread!
In the coming days, I’m also really excited to try Pupusas for the first time! Really late to the tasty party, I know, but that’s what Hispanic Heritage Month is all about! I guarantee that any person reading this can find a dish, an artist, or any traditional Hispanic cultural item that they are yet to try or experience. I encourage everyone reading this to expand their palate and/or knowledge on such a vast range of lifestyles and customs! (But seriously, if you’re going to fry peppers on your stove, open a window or turn on a vent because it’s a different kind of cough).