BALTIMORE — It’s that time of year, National Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
A time to honor the achievements, growth and impact Hispanic influence has on America.
National Hispanic Heritage Month has begun, a time to celebrate the history, food, dance, art and culture of those whose roots stem from Latin and Hispanic countries.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a month where we celebrate honor and share our traditions to others and countries from South America, Central America, North America come together to celebrate,” said Yesenia Mejia from Mexico.
It’s an observation that started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, but was expanded in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to a month long recognition.
Running from September 15 to October 15, it highlights the independence of Hispanic countries.
“It’s a celebration because we got our independence and that’s something that we honor and respect the ones that went through that years ago so we became free now,” said Mejia.
Zoila Gomez is from Ecuador and is part of Artesanas, a group here in Baltimore that consists of women from Mexico, Ecuador and El Salvador.
They come together to teach traditional craft, something for them that is more than a month long celebration, it’s all year.
She, like many others in the group, says it’s important because it teaches the next generations the culture of their ancestors, traditions they don’t want to lose.
“The very important thing for my family because we are many years, 20 years here in the USA. So, I want my kids can pass this culture and tradition to my grandkids,” said Flor Gallegos, who is from Mexico.
Those traditions will be highlighted this weekend at the Latin American Artisan Market and Festival for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Where music, dancers, art and food will reflect the many flavors of Latin American countries.
Jovenes En Accion is one of the dance groups performing at the festival, they’ve been preparing for this over the last six months.
“We’re doing three dances and then for Los Fahitos that’s like people dress up an old people and they dance like that so that’s like a fun way of dancing,” said Iliana Benitez Cruz, a performer in Jovenes En Accion.
“It means showing everybody that we’re here, that we’re alive, and this is our culture and this is our tradition and we wear it with such a pride,” said Mejia.
The festival will run this Saturday from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on East Avenue outside Creative Alliance.