The name Columbus is no more strange to people nowadays. Columbus, or usually well-known for his full name Christopher Columbus, is an Italian explorer, colonizer and navigator who completed the voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the New World.
Columbus Day is the day on which people celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on the 12th of October in 1492. Besides the name Columbus Day in the United States, this special occasion is also celebrated and known under various names such as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, Día de la Raza in numerous countries in the Latin America area, Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, Day of the Americas in Belize, Día de las Américas in Uruguay or Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural in Argentina.
History of Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday on which people commemorate and honor the explorer Christopher Columbus for the landing in the New World in 1492. At first, Columbus Day was unofficially celebrated in a plethora of cities and states in the U.S.A. in the late of the 18th century and was not officially recognized as a legal federal holiday until 1937. It is worth noting that this day, to many people’s opinions, is a way of both celebrating Italian-American heritage and honoring Columbus’ achievements.
The first recorded celebration commemorating and honoring Christopher Columbus in the United States was in 1792, 300 years after his wonderful voyage and arrival in the Americas. In order to honor this famous man, a ceremony was held in New York and a great monument was dedicated to him in Baltimore, Maryland. Continue the history course, a statue of Christopher Columbus was raised at Columbus Avenue in the New York City in 1892, 400 years after his landing in the New World. Furthermore, during this year, teachers, poets, politicians and preachers made good use of the Columbus Day rituals to teach the ideals of loyalty and patriotism.
In addition, what makes people curious most is the creation of Columbus Day. It is intriguing to note that Italian-Americans were the key factor in the creation of this special day. Specifically, in 1866, New York City’s Italian population held a celebration of the discovery of America. This celebration rapidly spread to many other cities and finally became known as Columbus Day in San Francisco just 3 years later.
In 1906, Colorado became the first state to observe Columbus Day as an official state holiday. Soon after, in 1937, this special occasion became a federal holiday in the United States when the 32nd President of the United States – Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed the 12th of October each year as Columbus Day. Later, in 1971, Congress decided to officially change this federal holiday to be observed on the second Monday of October.
When is Columbus Day 2013?
In the United States, Columbus Day is always celebrated on the second Monday of October.
So, Columbus Day 2013 falls on Monday, October 14th.
Columbus Day 2013 observance in the United States
The observance of this day in the United States varies considerably from region to region, ranging from large-scale events and parades to entire non-observance. Most of the states here celebrate Columbus Day 2013 as an official state holiday. During this day, schools and some services in these states are closed, though some others may still remain open as usual. Besides, there is also an interesting thing happening on this day like Virginia will celebrate two holidays, one is Columbus Day and the other is Yorktown Victory Day.
As for Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota, these three states do not recognize Columbus Day 2013 and therefore, no observance. Instead of celebrating Columbus Day, Hawaii organizes the celebration of Discoverers’ Day to honor and commemorate the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii on the same day. Meanwhile, South Dakota celebrates an official state holiday known as Native American Day.
Columbus Day 2013 observance in other countries
Not only the United States but there are also numerous countries around the world celebrating this day but under different names. For instance, in Spain, this special occasion is known as Día de la Hispanidad or Fiesta Nacional. Specifically, before 1987, this holiday was called Día de la Hispanidad as a way to emphasize the international Hispanic community. However, as of that year, the name was changed to Fiesta Nacional (National Day). During the holiday, there are not many large-scale events, parades or activities since this day is not enthusiastically and widely celebrated in this country.
In Costa Rica, the name Día de la Raza has been changed to Día de las Culturas (Day of the cultures) since 1994. The aim of this action is to recognize the assortment of African, American, Asian and European cultures that has helped to create the culture of Costa Rica. And another Latin American nation – Venezuela also celebrates this holiday under the name Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) so as to commemorate indigenous people’s resistance to the European settlement.
Columbus Day 2013 commemorates and honors the Italian-born explorer and navigator – Christopher Columbus for his first voyage, sighting of the Americas and landing in the New World. This holiday is designated to occur on the second Monday of October each year, hence Columbus Day 2013 falls on Monday, October 14th.