Interesting Facts About Columbus Day: Four States Don’t Recognize It At All

Columbus Day Parade

Columbus Day Parade

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. Christopher Columbus landed in Bahamas, part of the Americas, on October 12th, 1494. Columbus Day is meant to celebrate this arrival. Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor, born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. He sailed with three ships and 90 crew members on the voyage that landed him in the Bahamas.
Unofficially, Columbus Day has been celebrated in the U.S. since the late 1700s, but did not become an official holiday anywhere until 1906, when it became state holiday in Colorado. It became a federal holiday in 1934 in the United States.
In 1971 it became a fixed holiday, celebrated on the second Monday in October. Columbus Day is also celebrated in different countries including: Latin America, the Bahamas, Spain, Argentina, Belize and Uruguay. These countries have different names for the holiday but they all celebrate the same event.
The banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, other federal agencies, most state government offices, many businesses, and most school districts generally observe Columbus Day nowadays.
Actual observance varies in different parts of the United States, ranging from large-scale parades and events to complete non-observance. Most states celebrate Columbus Day as an official state holiday, though many mark it as a “Day of Observance” or “Recognition” and at least four do not recognize it at all. Most states that celebrate Columbus Day will close state services, while others operate as normal.
Below are some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Columbus Day:
1. Not all American states celebrate Columbus Day anymore. Oregon, South Dakota, Alaska, and Hawaii do not recognize Columbus Day. Each year, it seems there are more objections about celebrating Columbus Day because of all the deaths, slavery, and destruction he caused. This is why other states and nations celebrate this day under a different name, such as Discoverers’ Day in Hawaii and Native American Day in South Dakota.
2. 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. New York City has the largest parade.
3. It was first recognized as a legal holiday in Colorado. The first Columbus Day celebration was celebrated in 1792, which was organized by the Society of St. Tammany in New York. However, it wasn’t until 1907 that it was recognized as a legal holiday by the state of Colorado. By 1920, Columbus Day started to become an annual celebration.
4. 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).
5. Because Christopher Columbus was Italian, Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, and the first such celebration was held in New York City on October 12, 1866.
6. Columbus Day didn’t become a federal holiday until the 20th century. Columbus may have made his voyage in 1492, but it wasn’t until 1937 that Columbus Day was actually recognized by the U.S. government as a federal holiday (we have President Franklin D. Roosevelt to thank for that). That being said, the holiday had been observed since the late 1700s as Italian Americans used the opportunity to celebrate their heritage, usually with parades.
7. As in the mainland U.S., Columbus Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. In the United States Virgin Islands, the day is celebrated as both Columbus Day and “Puerto Rico Friendship Day”.
Virginia also celebrates two legal holidays on the day, Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, which honors the final victory at the Siege of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War.
8. Some Caribbean countries also observe holidays related to Columbus Day. In Belize, October 12 is celebrated as Day of the Americas or Pan American Day. In the Bahamas, it was formerly known as Discovery Day, until 2001 when it was replaced by National Heroes Day.
9. In Italy, Columbus Day has been officially celebrated since 2004. It’s officially named Giornata nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo.

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