In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B.Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Week, which was observed during the week that included September 15 and September 16.
The observance was expanded by Congress and President Ronald Reagan, in 1988 to a month-long celebration (September 15 -October 15), effective the following year. America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebrations because it is the anniversary of Independence of five Latin American Countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrates their Independence days on September 16, September 18 and September 21 respectively.
Target Free Sundays @ MOLAA celebrated Latino Heritage Month with an all day Latino Heritage Festival, Sunday, September 16, from 11:00 AM -5 PM. The community was able to explore Latin American culture through art workshops, traditional and contemporary live performances by local performers, unique craft vendors, face paintings, food and gallery tours. The Art Workshops,face paintings, vendors and performances took place in the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture Garden.
Alina Mendez is a popular dancer and dance instructor in Santa Fe Springs. She has been a dance instructor for the last 34 years. Alina Mendez and the Fiesta Dancers showcased a colorful and dazzling display of dances from various regions of Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The crowd and I went on an adventuresome journey thru the dances of "El Son de la Negra," "Tepletzinteco," and "Evangelina" from Mexico. Our journey continued to Cuba with "Muñecas del Cha-Cha-Cha." Domincan Republic represented by "Merenque" and concluded our journey in Puerto Rico with "Mi Bomba Sono." For more information please visit www.alinaschoolofdance.com
The crowd and I were able to continue our journey to Bolivia. Caporales San Simon USA (Bolivian dance). These performance was vibrant and energetic. This is another popular dance group who opened their performance with "Caporales" and continued with "Tinku," "La Morenada," "Caporales" this time performed by adults and closed their show with "Taquirari."
Thee Commons (L.A.Chicano/Rock) let loose with an explosive set of rock which consisted of original tunes from their latest CD Flowers Smashed by Dinosaurs as well as covers of other tunes. The band consists of David Pacheco on guitar, Tim Swift-bass and Rene Pacheco on drums.
The crowd and I were able to groove to the joyful sounds of Masanga (Marimba). They entertained the crowd with the sounds from Zimbawe and Latin American countries with material from their latest CD's Mas and self titled CD Masamba Marimba Ensemble.
The Museum of Latin American Art-MOLAA is located at 626 Alamitos Ave,Long Beach,CA.90802.You can reach them at (562) 437-1689 or visit www.molaa.org to view the many marvelous programs and events.
Ricky Ricardo is a Southern California based writer,music reviewer and photographer with an emphasis on Latin and World Music.