Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries in the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.
Find out more interesting facts about it here!
1. The landing is celebrated as “Columbus Day” in the United States, as “Día de la Raza” (“Day of the Race”) in many countries in Latin America and as “Día de la Hispanidad” and “Fiesta Nacional” in Spain, where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar.
2. It is also celebrated as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Belize and Uruguay, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italysaround the world.
3. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century and officially in various countries since the early 20th century.
4. Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus’s voyage since the colonial period.
5. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event.
6. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism.
7. These patriotic rituals took themes such as citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.
8. Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866.
9. Since 1970 (Oct. 12), the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October, coincidentally exactly the same day as Thanksgiving in neighboring Canada fixed since 1959.
10. It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts.
11. Some businesses and some stock exchanges remain open, and some states and municipalities abstain from observing the holiday.
12. The traditional date of the holiday also adjoins the anniversary of the United States Navy (founded October 13, 1775), and thus both occasions are customarily observed by the Navy (and usually the Marine Corps as well) with either a 72- or 96-hour liberty period.
13. Christopher Columbus landed in Bahamas, part of the Americas, on October 12th, 1494. Columbus Day is meant to celebrate this arrival.
14. Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor, born in Genoa, Italy in 1451.
15. He sailed with three ships and 90 crew members on the voyage that landed him in the Bahamas.
16. Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. He began sailing when he was only 15 years old.
17. When he set sail for the expedition, he was given three ships by the city of Palos.
18. He set sail in August of 1492. It was 35 days before a sailor spotted land.
19. The names of the three ships were the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
20. His crew consisted of 90 men.
21. The goal of the expedition was to chart a western sea route to India and China, as well as to the islands in Asia with spices and gold.
22. When Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492, he was the first European since the 10th century to have the opportunity to explore the Americas.
23. The Santa Maria did not make the return trip to Spain because it ran aground on Christmas Day. 40 men had to stay behind because there was no room on the other two ships. They stayed behind on the island Hispaniola.
24. Christopher Columbus made the voyage to the New World three times.
25. He died when he was 55, in 1506, only two years after his last trip to the New World.
26. Nobody is sure where he is buried as he was reburied many times in different places around the world.
27. Nobody is sure what he looked like, as there are no portraits known to exist.
28. In 1971, the date October 12th no longer marked the holiday. It was changed to the second Monday in October. This is also the Canadian Thanksgiving, which was fixed in 1959).
29. South Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii do not recognize Columbus Day.
30. Because Christopher Columbus was Italian, Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage.
31. Depending on where you live in the United States, you may see parades to celebrate the holiday. In most states, the children have the day off school.
32. New York City has the largest parade.
33. For as often as we’ve heard that “Columbus discovered America,” we all know by now that that isn’t true. According to Dr. Roberts, “Archeological evidence seems to now point to African and Europeans inhabiting some parts of the Americas even before the arrival of the ancestors of Native Americans.”