What is Arab American Heritage Month?

An illustration of a hand reaching in to light an Arabic lantern.

April is National Arab American Heritage Month, a special time to recognize the achievements of Arab Americans, the history of Arab migration to America, the diversity within the Arab American community, important customs and traditions and more. And we want to help you recognize this important monthlong celebration of culture and achievement.  

Maybe you’re here looking for special ways to mark the occasion with friends and family in your community. Maybe you’re someone who wants to learn more about unique and diverse Arab American cultures. Either way, you’ll find something worthwhile to take away. 

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History of Arab American Heritage Month  

Arab Americans have been an important part of our nation since its beginning but especially after waves of immigration from the Arab world starting around the 1880s.

Today, Arab Americans make up more than 3 million members of our population. The majority of Arab Americans are native-born, and nearly 82% of Arabs in the U.S. are citizens.

Thanks to the advocacy of Arab American organizations and volunteers, Arab American Heritage Day was nationally recognized in 1992. Through activists’ continued work over two decades, in 2022, April was recognized as Arab American Heritage Month by President Biden and the U.S. State Department. 

Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month  

Although Arab American Heritage Month is newly recognized nationally, others have observed the month at the local and state level for years. Additionally, Arab American families and communities have celebrated their unique cultures and traditions in April and at other times of the year. 

Fellow Hallmark and Crayola employees generously share their perspectives on celebrating their Arab American heritage.

What does your Arab American heritage mean to you?

My Iraqi American heritage means a lot to me. Arab culture is community-focused, not as individualized. We all come together to take care of each other.

—Jasmine A.

It’s just part of who I am. It means lunch with family every Sunday. It means preparing and sharing traditional Lebanese foods that have made me more open to other cultures’ foods. It means visiting Lebanon, where my family is from, and learning more about it.

—Sabrina M.

It means celebrating the rich and diverse culture and contributions of the diverse population of Arab Americans in the community and at work.

—Tony L.


How do you feel about having an official month dedicated to Arab American heritage?

I’m happy that what I identify with is being celebrated and that I can also learn from others who identify as Arab American. Being half American and half Iraqi, I have never felt like I had a place, but having a month to celebrate my heritage means a lot to me and does help me feel connected to a larger community. 

—Jasmine A.

My family and I belong to the Syrian American community locally. Recognizing Arab American Heritage Month helps expand awareness of Arab American culture by teaching Arab American heritage to my coworkers and friends outside of the community.

—Tony L.

I never miss a chance to celebrate Lebanese Heritage Day with my community in July. It’s a chance to be fully myself around others who embrace our culture. Arab American Heritage Month will be another opportunity to celebrate. 

—Sabrina M.


What are some ways you would like to celebrate Arab American Heritage Month?

I would watch films and documentaries by and about Arab American communities with my kids. I would also celebrate with my Syrian church community.

—Tony L. 

I would get together with family and share traditional Iraqi foods. I LOVE Iraqi dolma. I would love to celebrate with a big spread of fresh pita bread, veggies, humus, sambusas, some Arabic yogurt, jajik (yogurt with diced cucumbers, garlic, & dill) and biryani rice. Basically, everything I grew up eating because it reminds me of home and cooking with my dad.
—Jasmine A.

I would love to have a Hafli—a party with friends and family where we could enjoy good music, food and drinks.
—Sabrina M.


How can people learn more about Arab American heritage?

I follow a lot of pages that speak and teach about Arab American Heritage Month. I also share that information on my personal pages. I really like @Kuvrd (an Arab heritage streetwear company), @arabamericanmuseum and @communityinarabic on Instagram.
—Jasmine A.

I think it’s helpful to hear and watch stories by and about Arab Americans. Two movies I like are “Swimmers” and “From Damascus with Love.”

—Tony L.

Attend cultural festivals with an open mind. You can learn a lot about people from their food, dancing, music and more.

—Sabrina M.

Whether you are part of the Arab American community or you are interested in learning more about it, April is the perfect time to lean in to discovering new aspects of culture, celebrating together and spreading awareness of Arab American achievement, traditions and aspirations.


Learn about more celebrations and traditions: