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Columbus Day

Many countries in the Americas, as well as other places are celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. The celebration is called "Columbus Day" in the U. S. and proclaimed in several Latin America countries as "Day of the Race". In Spain, it is observed as "Día de la Hispanidad" and "Fiesta Nacional" where it is also solemnized as the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar’. There are many other places giving honor to the occasion.

Brief History

Under the Spanish crown, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He intended to find a shorter sea route to China, India and the fabled islands of Asia known for its spices and gold.  Instead, he accidentally stumbled on the Americas in October 12, 14921.

Various Italian- and Catholic-American communities celebrated Columbus Day as far back as the late 1700s. Common sentiments in the U.S. during that time were anti-Catholic and negative Italian sentiments so adversaries made the Columbus issue as symbolic gestures for these communities.

In 1907, the first state that officially observed Columbus Day was Columbia. Many Italian immigrants with the senate worked hand-in-hand to pass the holiday into law. Columbus Day was officially named national holiday in 1937 when President Franklin D Roosevelt encouraged by the powerful Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus – declared a 12 October as official holiday. It was later moved by Congress to the second Monday of October.

Columbus Day celebration around the world

In some parts of the United States

Columbus Day has been considered a celebration honoring their talian-American heritage. Communities hosted parades and organized street fairs that exhibited extravagant & colorful costumes, fancy music and original Italian food. Columbus Day parades are held in New York City, Denver City and other cities as part of festive celebrations.

Some Latin American countries

Some Latin-American countries observed the anniversary of Columbus’ landing traditionally for the Hispanic culture’s diverse roots called Dìa de la Raza or “Day of the Race”. Countries like Chile, Nicaraqua, Valenzuela and others are celebrating the occasion.


In Spain this holiday is celebrated Fiesta de la Hispanidad for the diversity of Hispanic community around the world. It is like a dual celebration for the festivity of La Virgen del Pilar.


Mexicans celebrate and honor the cultural syncretism of their country by exposing the best created by their multiple heritages and indigenous culture.


Genoa is the birthplace of Columbus. Celebrations are held in many places as they honored him for his feat. But the day is not considered a national holiday.

Why Columbus Day must be celebrated?

Columbus Day must be celebrated for many reasons.  Italians claim Columbus as him as their own. Isn’t Columbus Day is an opportunity to good recognize Italians contribution to America and the world?  Let’s honor the spirit of exploration. It takes guts to sail off into the unknown. The best part of being human is that sense of discovery. Express gratitude for the spread of Western civilization for delivering freedom and bounty that were unknown. While celebrating Columbus Day, look back to history and honor Native Americans. Being the original immigrants to the New World, they deserve our gratitude and remembrance.

Erkut N.