Columbus Day

What is Columbus Day?

Proclaimed a national holiday by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937, Columbus Day commemorates Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New  World on October 12, 1492 and celebrates Italian-American heritage. However, celebrations of Columbus are controversial, as Columbus’s arrival and the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of millions of native peoples.

Learn more about Christopher Columbus, controversy surrounding Columbus Day and Columbus Day alternatives here.

When is Columbus Day?

Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October.

How do people celebrate Columbus Day?

As a federal holiday, government offices and schools are closed in some states while most businesses remain open. In the U.S., Columbus Day is typically a celebration of Italian-American heritage and includes parades, street fairs, music and Italian food. Some cities honor the indigenous peoples by celebrating Native American cutlure.

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