- Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in North Jersey
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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in North Jersey
Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans. In North Jersey, various events are being organized to honor the rich cultural heritage of the Hispanic community. From food tastings to art exhibitions, these events offer a glimpse into the diverse traditions and histories of Hispanic Americans.
Understanding Hispanic Heritage Month
The choice of September 15 as the start of Hispanic Heritage Month may seem unusual, but it aligns with the independence days of several Hispanic American countries. On September 15, countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence. Mexico follows on September 16, Chile on September 18, and Belize on September 21. These dates mark the beginning of a four-week period dedicated to celebrating Hispanic Americans and their cultural contributions.
Appreciating Hispanic Identity
The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used interchangeably, but it is important to understand the distinctions. Hispanic refers to individuals with ancestry from Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain and Latin American countries. Latino, on the other hand, encompasses people from Latin American countries that were once colonies of Spain and Portugal. Together, these communities make up 22% of New Jersey’s population, according to the U.S. Census.
Highlighting Events in North Jersey
The events organized in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties offer a range of experiences to engage with Hispanic culture. From dance lessons at La Taberna Steak & Tapas Bar in Dumont to a Hispanic Heritage Fiesta at the Johnson Public Library in Hackensack, attendees have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant spirit of Hispanic American traditions.
The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company will perform at the Berrie Center For The Arts in Mahwah, celebrating the dance and music of Mexican states Nayarit, Veracruz, and Jalisco. The Newark Museum of Art will be hosting Community Day: Fiesta Latina, featuring music from Mexico, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries.
The Montclair Public Library in Essex County has planned a series of programs for teens and adults, including workshops on masks of the Americas, folk music of Colombia, and a showcase of Peruvian music and dance. The Newark Museum of Art will also feature an exhibition of Latino artists.
In Morris County, the County College of Morris will hold several events, including an exhibition of local Latino artists, a vendor showcase of the arts, mental health discussions, and a screening of the film “Frida” followed by a discussion on Frida Kahlo’s artistic contributions. Passaic County will kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in Paterson with the raising of the Mexican flag at City Hall, followed by a celebration that includes music and culinary offerings.
Celebrating Identity and Building Bridges
These events provide an opportunity for individuals to come together, celebrate their shared heritage, and enhance cultural understanding. They create a platform for conversations about history, art, and the experiences of Hispanic Americans in North Jersey.
Editorial: The Importance of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is an occasion for the United States to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to society. It is a time to celebrate their rich cultural traditions, highlighting the diversity that enriches our nation. By honoring Hispanic heritage, we demonstrate our commitment to inclusivity, embrace diversity, and foster a sense of belonging for all members of our society.
However, it is crucial to recognize that celebrating heritage is not limited to a designated month. Appreciation for different cultures, histories, and traditions should be a year-round practice. By educating ourselves and engaging with diverse communities, we can foster a more inclusive and understanding society.
Advice: Engaging with Hispanic Heritage Month
If you are interested in participating in Hispanic Heritage Month events in North Jersey, consider attending some of the exhibitions, concerts, and workshops organized in the region. These events provide an excellent opportunity to learn, celebrate, and connect with the local Hispanic community. By engaging with different cultures and traditions, we can broaden our perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and cultivate empathy.
Additionally, it is important to embrace a mindset of continuous learning and appreciation, not just during designated heritage months. Seek out opportunities to engage with diverse communities, attend cultural events, support local artists, and educate yourself about the contributions of different groups. By doing so, we can contribute to a more inclusive and harmonious society.
<< photo by Julia Volk >>
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