Columbus Day in United States

Columbus Day

What is Columbus Day?

Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is a yearly federal holiday in the United States that takes place on the second Monday of October every year. This day commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus(a Genovese-born explorer) to the Americas on October 12, 1492.

In the United States, the landing is commemorated as Columbus Day, but the name varies worldwide. This day is known as "The Discovery of the Americas" in the Dominican Republic. Some Latin American countries recognize October 12 as Da de la Raza or "Day of the Race." And you will find other different names for this day.

Columbus Day - All Quick Review  

  • Time/Date: Second Monday of October every year
  • Category: Federal
  • Where It's Marked: USA
  • Why It's Marked: Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus's discovery of a new continent, the Americas, on October 12, 1492.

History of Columbus Day

The first documented celebration of Columbus Day was in 1792, 300 years later, after Columbus had discovered the Americas in 1492. On the 400th anniversary President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Columbus Day as a one-time national holiday on the 400th anniversary in response to a massacre in New Orleans where a group had slain 11 Italian immigrants. After the massacre, a stronger effort was made to appease Italian Americans and defuse diplomatic tensions with Italy. Under the guise of Columbus, politicians, poets, educators, and preachers started to weave a web of nationalism during this event. These ceremonies addressed issues like national loyalty and the limits of citizenship. 

Many Italian-Americans seized the chance to honor their roots. The National Columbus Day Committee, created in 1966 by Buffalo, New York, resident Mariano A. Lucca, pushed for the declaration of Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Due to the success of these initiatives, Columbus Day was declared an official holiday in 1968.

Due to Christopher Columbus's horrors against Native Americans, the commemoration of this holiday has grown increasingly divisive. Christopher Columbus isn't viewed by many as a revered hero but rather as a brutal dictator with poor navigational skills because he believed he had arrived in India when he reached the Americas. Additionally, he was in charge of the mass genocide, enslavement, and mutilation of mass Native Americans and other indigenous people.

As a result, commemorating Columbus Day now serves as a bitter reminder of the country's troubled past. Numerous states have petitioned to rename the holiday National Indigenous Peoples Day since the early 1970s to recognize Native Americans and celebrate their culture and stories. Many states recently started celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Countries that Observe Columbus Day

The Americas, Spain, Italy, and numerous Little Italys worldwide celebrate this day. Many cities and states of the USA celebrate Columbus Day as an Italian-American heritage. While others observe this day to honor indigenous people.

However, this day is not observed in Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, New Mexico, South Dakota, or Maine. While the governors of Nevada and Iowa must annually proclaim Columbus Day by statute, those two states do not recognize it as a holiday. Although it is still observed in Texas and California, this day is not a paid holiday for public employees. 

Several cities around the country do not celebrate the day but rather celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day. Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Maine don't celebrate the day. Although it is still observed in Texas and California, this day is not a paid holiday for public employees. Iowa and Nevada do not recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday but their governors are required to proclaim it by statute each year. 

How to Celebrate Columbus Day?

Columbus Day has evolved into an Italian-American heritage celebration in several areas of the United States. To celebrate this, local organizations host parades and arrange street festivals where you can find people in vibrant costumes enjoying Italian food and music. On the other hand, states that observe this day to honor indigenous people arrange activities like traditional dance events, pow-wows, and lessons on lessons about Native American culture.

If you want to celebrate this day as Columbus Day, you can participate in your locally arranged parades and street festivals. However, suppose you are on the other side and honor this day as Indigenous Peoples' Day and want to learn more about native American cultures. In that case, you can participate in a discussion on the native peoples of America. Also, you can buy native products on this day to support the economy of native people and learn American traditional dances to enjoy the day even better.

Interesting Facts About Columbus Day

Are you ready to learn some little-less known facts about Columbus Day? Here you go!

  • In 1937, Congress made Columbus Day a federal holiday, and in 1968 it was a recognized public holiday.
  • Columbus Day is the least observed federal holiday in the United States.
  • Christopher Columbus mistook America for India. He landed in North America while looking for a westward route to India, giving the American Indians their name.
  • Because European colonization in the Americas resulted in eradicating indigenous peoples' histories and cultures, Columbus Day is usually a controversial holiday.
  • The first European to reach the Americas and "the discoverer of the New World" is often referred to as Christopher Columbus. However, there is convincing evidence that Scandinavian Viking explorers were the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic.
  • The public opinion of Columbus had changed by the time of his exploration's 500th anniversary. Today, Columbus is viewed as the catalyst for a chain of events that resulted in Native American extermination, dispossession, sickness, and slavery of Africans in America.
  • The United States does not observe Columbus Day everywhere. Hawaii, Nevada, and California do not observe it as a holiday. Additionally, Native Americans' Day has supplanted Columbus Day in South Dakota, and Indigenous Peoples' Day is observed in Berkley, California.
  • Colorado was the first state to declare Columbus Day a legal holiday in 1905.
  • In San Francisco in 1869, the first celebration of Columbus Day was conducted as a way to honor Italian-American roots. Colorado hosted the first state-wide event in 1907.
  • In 1937, Congress made Columbus Day a federal holiday, and in 1968 it was a recognized public holiday.
  • Alaska, Hawaii, and South Dakota do not observe Columbus Day. Total 22 states don’t celebrate Columbus Day..
  • Because Columbus was cremated and re-cremated around the world multiple times, including brief stints in Spain and Haiti, his final burial location is unknown.

Columbus Day Quotes

Christopher Columbus as an explorer and Columbus Day as an official holiday might be one of many controversies. But then, Christopher Columbus is a name of inspiration for many people. So, here are some of our favorite Columbus quotes.

"Thus God gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities." - Christopher Columbus

"No one should fear to undertake any task." - Christopher Columbus

"Goals are tools to focus your energy in positive directions; these can be changed as your priorities change, new ones added, and others dropped." - Christopher Columbus


1. Why is Columbus Day no longer observed?

In response to Columbus's savagery toward Native Americans upon his arrival in the "New World," some states have substituted Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

2. When did Americans cease commemorating Columbus Day?

The number of Americans commemorating Columbus Day has decreased since the 20th century, although many still do.

3. Do public holidays exist for Columbus Day?

In Tennessee, 22 states will observe Columbus Day as a state holiday in 2023, and 28 states will celebrate it as a federal holiday.

Columbus Day Observances

Year Weekday Date Name Holiday Type
2022 Mon 10 Oct Columbus Day Public
2023 Mon 09 Oct Columbus Day Public
2024 Mon 14 Oct Columbus Day Public
2025 Mon 13 Oct Columbus Day Public
2026 Mon 12 Oct Columbus Day Public

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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