Hispanic Heritage Month spans from September 15th to October 15th. The celebration became a monthlong event in 1988 (it was originally a week long event authorized by Lyndon B. Johnson in September 1968). The focus of the month is to celebrate the cultures and traditions of US residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish speaking countries of the Caribbean. September 15th was chosen as the kickoff date to the celebration because it is independence day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence day on September 16th and Chile celebrates its on September 18th.