National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when we honor the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Even if you are not Hispanic, you can celebrate the vibrant heritage of our Latin neighbors. Last fall, I held a small dinner party in September with a Hispanic heritage tablescape to recognize how much we owe our south-of-the-border friends.
I decided to go with a bare tabletop because the brown of the wood seems to blend with the natural, informal feel of the festive table and the brown of the rattan chargers I planned to use under the dinner plates.When I think of Latin-looking tables, I always think of strong color–what could be stronger than a bright red table runner. This one is bordered in pink, purple and dark green. The dark green stripe inspired me to use dark green dinner plates. The red runner was the inspiration for my red napkins. And of course, red and green are two of the three colors in the Mexican flag!Around my napkins I used yellow and green striped wooden napkin rings. The green stripe picked up on the color of the plate and the stripe in the runner. The yellow is an accent color for the red and green and picks up on the lighter color of the nacho chips in the centerpiece basket.Using the napkins, pulled through the napkin rings from their centers, on top of the plate adds a great deal of color to this tablescape. The dark green dinner plate would look boring if the napkins was set to the left side.
In the center of the red table runner, I placed a natural basket filled with nacho chips and a white bowl of red tomato salsa. The colors work perfectly with the others and having a popular appetizer as the centerpiece makes your guests happy as they can nibble while talking and visiting at the table before the meal begins. Make sure you choose a basket or bowl sturdy enough to pass up and down the table.
With a rectangular table, something right in the center of the table may not seem big enough to command your attention. You don’t want to add a centerpiece that is too tall because your guests will not be able to see or talk over it. Votive candles are a perfect solution–they add color and light down the length of the table. I placed red votive candles in clear glass juice classes we had.You might choose to use flower blossoms, confetti, serpentine streamers or candies in between the votives for a more festive look. I used red glitter butterflies I had to jazz up the fiesta quality of the tablesetting. I bought these butterflies, which have clips on the back of them, at an after-Christmas clearance at Big Lots and have found them to be useful for a number of occasions.So you can throw together a Hispanic celebration in no time, consider table runners, votive candles, and fun food items to nibble on before the meal. Click your heels and your castanets, and enjoy!