ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — You may have passed a car recently with a large Mexican flag adorning the hood and wondered: why the heck are so many drivers displaying Mexican flags all of a sudden?

Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15th, ahead of Mexican Independence Day on September 16th, which recognizes Mexico’s independence from Spain following an 11-year war that ended in 1821.

“The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402,” according to the Library of Congress.

The flying of Mexican flags from homes and cars is a tradition in cities with a large population of immigrants, especially Chicago.

Rockford’s Mexican Independence Day parade will be held Saturday, September 16th, beginning on Broadway and Kishwaukee Street at noon, followed by a festival at Keyes-Mallquist Park, 1702 11th Street, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.