Columbus Day 2021: History and Origins of Columbus Day

Elmira | 07 - 14 - 2023
Columbus day 2021

Columbus Day 2021: A day for the arrival of an Italian explorer. 

Columbus Day, also called Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is celebrated to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. It was originally observed on October 12 since 1971 it was changed to the second Monday in October. Columbus day 2021 is observed on October 11 which is the second Monday of October. Why is Columbus day celebrated? Find everything about Columbus Day 2021 celebration and its history and significance.

Who was Christopher Columbus?

Who Invented Columbus Day?
  • A. William Howard Taft
  • B. President Franklin Roosevelt
  • C. Lyndon B. Johnson
  • D. Calvin Coolidge

Christopher Columbus was a well-known Italian explorer. He was in search of a new way to cross the Atlantic ocean to the far East and landed in the New World. He started his sailing journey at the age of 14. On August 3, 1492, he left Spain with his three ships-Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He and his crew arrived in the New World, announcing the establishment of the Americas by Spain. He had four trips from Spain to the Atlantic Ocean and was determined to find a direct route west from Europe to Asia, but he couldn’t. Instead, he found America.

What Day Is Columbus Day?

Columbus Day is a US federal holiday, celebrating the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. In New York City, it was originally observed in 1792, making it 300 years after Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. It was declared as Columbus Day by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and marked as a holiday on October 12th. But the date was changed to the second Monday of October in 1971.

Origins of Columbus Day

It was observed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey, after the lynching that took plcae in New Orleans where a large crowd murdered 11 Italian immigrants. President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Columbus Day as a one-time celebration. This declaration was part of a big effort following the lynching to calm Italian Americans and overcome diplomatic tension with Italy. Teachers, poets, preachers, and politicians started to teach about patriotism on the anniversary of 1892. By gathering the Knights of Columbus and New York City Italian leader Generoso Pope, Congress inaugurated a statue.

Columbus’s landing in the Americas is considered a huge symbol of Italian heritage. Therefore, several Italian Americans celebrate Columbus Day as a holiday of their heritage. The arrival of Columbus was also commemorated in Italy and Spain. In several Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas, it is celebrated as Día de la Raza (“Day of the People”, “Day of the Race”). People who observe Día de la Raza also celebrate the indigenous peoples of Latin America. They also honor the culture that emerged over time as their culture is combined with Spanish explorers who followed Columbus. 

First Columbus Day Celebration

The first Columbus Day was held in New York in 1792, commemorating the historic arrival 300th anniversary. It started with annual religious ceremonies and parades to honor him.

Controversy over Columbus Day

Controversy over Columbus Day can be traced back to the 19th century when anti-immigrant groups from the United States refused the holiday as it was linked with Catholicism. Many Native Americans and other groups started protesting against the celebration of Columbus Day that resulted in the colonization of the Americas, the deaths of millions due to murder and disease, and the initiation of the transatlantic slave trade.

Is Columbus Day a Federal Holiday?

Columbus Day is a federal holiday and has been celebrated on the second Monday in October since the beginning of 1971.

Read Next