Hispanic Heritage Month at CMoR
At the Children's Museum of Richmond, we are happy to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. We are doing different activities that include the representation of various Spanish-speaking countries. But before we go into details, let's talk a bit about its history.
Published on October 7, 2021
By Ali Sullivan (Family Engagement Manager at CMoR)
At the Children’s Museum of Richmond, we are happy to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. We are doing different activities that include the representation of various Spanish-speaking countries. But before we go into details, let’s talk a bit about its history.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a national celebration highlighting the history, culture, and influence of past generations that came from countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The celebration began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration as Hispanic Heritage Week. Years later, President Ronald Reagan proposed extending the commemoration to a month. It became law on August 17, 1988, officially designating the 30 days between September 15 and October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The celebration begins in the middle of the month because September 15 marks the anniversary of the independence of five countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
At the Children’s Museum of Richmond, we started the celebration dancing the Colombian cumbia! Watch it on Facebook: https://fb.watch/8dVOnyMOBE/
The Muñoz Sisters, Gabriela, Consuelo, Finita and Alegría, who usually perform at festivals in the Charlottesville area, generously lent the colorful costumes proudly worn by some of the museum staff. My heritage is Colombian, and this was an opportunity to bring Latin music to the museum! It was fun to learn and practice the steps of this traditional Colombian rhythm with my colleagues. The Muñoz Sisters can be reached at 434 607 5049 for future events.
For the rest of the month, we will be dancing a surprise cumbia every Friday. Come visit us and join the dancers! In Latin culture, music has a very important value. Dancing is part of everyday life, and in many Latino homes, children learn to dance to traditional rhythms such as cumbia, merengue, and salsa from a very young age. For teenagers learning to dance is almost a requirement, because it is when they start going to “parties” and nobody “wants to eat turkey”! nadie “quiere comer pavo!” That’s a Colombian expression used when you don’t dance with anyone during the party.
In addition to the dances, we are replicating the famous Colombian and Panamanian “molas” with construction paper in the museum. Mola, which initially meant bird feathers, is the indigenous Kuna word for clothing, specifically the blouse. The word mola has come to mean the elaborately embroidered panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman’s traditional blouse.
Parents need to educate their children about the Hispanic culture at home, especially when living in a foreign country. Through books, music, and food, you are opening doors and job opportunities in the future and teaching your children to appreciate the culture of their ancestors. This is one of the nicest gifts we can give our children when they grow up in a different culture.
We’ll be making Guatemalan worry dolls and Mexican tissue flowers for the next two weeks, and we’ll close our celebration of the Hispanic Heritage Month at the Children’s Museum in Chesterfield on Friday, October 15. Let’s sing, dance cumbia, and read books in Spanish; we’ll be waiting for you!