Columbus Day is a public holiday in many parts of the United States that commemorates the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492. In 2018, Columbus Day falls on Monday 8 October to create a long weekend.
|2018||8 Oct||Mon||Columbus Day||AL, AZ, CO, CT, DC, GA,
ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME,
MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM,
NY, OH, PA, RI, UT, VA
|2019||14 Oct||Mon||Columbus Day||AL, AZ, CO, CT, DC, GA,
ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME,
MO, MT, NE, NJ, NM, NY,
OH, PA, RI, UT, VA &
In recent years, the celebration of Columbus Day has sparked a lot of controversy in the US, Latin America, and beyond. But whatever one may think of it politically, the fact remains that Columbus Day is a widespread public holiday in the United States.
Widespread official observation of the holiday began in 1937 but Americans have been observing the anniversary of the voyage since colonial times. Columbus Day was originally held on 12 October every year to coincide with the anniversary of Columbus’s arrival. In 1971, the date of the holiday was changed to the second Monday in October.
On 12 October, 1492, Christopher Columbus’ expedition to the Orient ran headlong into the Occident. While the whole basis of the expedition was the belief that the world was round and could be circumnavigated, no one on board had imagined they would discover a whole new hemisphere.
The discovery of the Americas brought vast changes to the world, some good and some bad. But no one can deny the historical importance of the discovery Columbus made over 500 years ago.
Many states have decided to remove the holiday from the list of paid holidays that state employees are allowed. There is no mail delivery and banks are closed for business on the holiday. Today, few festivities are held for Columbus Day although, during the month of October, schools may dedicate lessons to teaching about Christopher Columbus.
Some states have opted not to observe the holiday at all. Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota do not recognize Columbus Day and, elsewhere, there is controversy surrounding whether Columbus Day should be a holiday. Many people across the United States argue that Christopher Columbus and his crew’s murderous abuse of the indigenous people of the Americas, means that Columbus should not be honored with a day in his name.
South Dakota celebrates Native American Day instead of Columbus Day, while Hawaii has chosen to celebrate a holiday known as Discoverers’ Day as a tribute to the Polynesians who discovered the islands.
However, groundswell for change is strongest at the local and city levels, where small jurisdictions are now quickly and consecutively changing the name or status of the holiday.