During Hispanic Heritage Month, the College of the Mainland celebrated Puerto Rico.

Guests enjoyed authentic Puerto Rican food of penril, arroz con gandules and ensalada de coditos on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. outside the Learning Resource Center on campus.

According to the Library of Congress, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

COM’s Multicultural Team this year chose to focus on Puerto Rico, which means “rich port.” The Caribbean island is the smallest island of the Greater Antilles and is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Puerto Rico, which is 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, became the first U.S. unincorporated territory in 1900.

Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson and expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15.

Library of Congress notes that Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.