Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan extended Hispanic Heritage Week to a 30-day period. President Lyndon B. Johnson inaugurated the original week-long celebration in 1968.
Reagan's extension officially became law on Aug. 17, 1988, with the enactment of Public Law 100-402. Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. The celebration's opening day coincides with the celebration of national independence in five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The month also includes Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16 and Chilean Independence Day on Sept. 18. The extended month also includes Columbus Day on Oct. 12, which many people in Latin America celebrate as Día de la Raza.