Columbus Day is today, Oct. 10, and the national holiday is being celebrated all over the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about the holiday, which is named for Christopher Columbus, who famously sailed the blue and discovered America in 1492.
Today we celebrate October 12, 1492, the day that Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. Here are five things to know about the national holiday!
1. The day honors Christopher Columbus.
Columbus is usually portrayed as the first European to sail to the Americas, thereby discovering the New World. The day is a celebration of Italian-American heritage, and is observed on the second Monday in October every year.
2. It took hundreds of years for Columbus Day to be established as a real holiday.
It became a federal holiday in 1937, though it’s been celebrated since colonial times. On the holiday, banks, the US Postal Service, most state government offices and many businesses and schools are typically closed. That way, people can attend parades that are usually happening! You can check out our list of businesses here to see what’s open today.
3. The holiday has always raised controversy.
Many people point out that Christopher Columbus exploited and enslaved the indigenous people in America, and didn’t “discover” the country at all. Lately, Indigenous People’s Day has gained popularity as an alternative, anti-Columbus Day holiday that is observed on the same day. Up to 38% of Americans are against celebrating Columbus Day, according to a 2015 HuffPost/YouGov poll.
4. It’s not just celebrated in the U.S.
Columbus Day is observed in the United States, but it’s celebrated in many Latin American countries as well. Italy and Spain also recognize the holiday.
5. It might not be around for too much longer.
A growing amount of states and cities are renaming, or not celebrating, Columbus Day. Vermont Governor Peter Schumlin officially renamed the holiday Indigenous People’s Day this year, and Phoenix has voted to celebrate the latter, too. If the momentum gains enough traction, we might not be celebrating Columbus Day at all within the next generation or so!
HollywoodLifers, are you celebrating Columbus Day? Let us know!