Columbus Day – American Holiday
Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is a federally recognized holiday in the United States (originally celebrated on October 12; since 1971, it has been observed on the second Monday in October) to honor Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World on October 12, 1492.
Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, and over time, Italian Americans took up the cause of recognizing his accomplishments even though King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain provided funding for his voyages.
The 300th anniversary of his landing was honored in New York City in 1792 by the Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order, and the 400th anniversary, in 1892, by presidential proclamation nationally.
During the second half of the 19th century, the day began to be observed in places with substantial numbers of Italian Americans, and in 1937 it became a national holiday by presidential proclamation.
The day came to be honored by parades, frequently including floats depicting the ships of Columbus, and by public ceremonies and festivities.
By the quincentennial in 1992, the celebration was an occasion for examining the European invasion of American Indians, and some people objected to celebrating the event and offered alternatives, among them Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The landing of Columbus also came to be remembered in Spain and Italy. In many of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas, the landing is marked as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race” or “Day of the People”).
Rather than honoring Columbus’s arrival in the New World, many watchers of Día de la Raza celebrate the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the culture that emerged over the ages as their legacy melded with that of the Spanish explorers who followed Columbus. In certain nations, religious ceremonies are an essential feature of the observances.
What is Columbus Day?
Columbus Day is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492, in the New World. Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, and over the years Italian Americans took up the cause of commemorating his achievement. In 1937 it became a national holiday by proclamation of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a celebration in the United States that recognizes the Native populations of America, most of whom were violently uprooted and exploited beginning with the advent of Christopher Columbus. Depending on the state government, municipal government, or institution, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is observed in place of Columbus Day or alongside it.
When is Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrated?
In the United States, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is honored on the second Monday of October—the same day on which Columbus Day is typically celebrated.
Why was Indigenous Peoples’ Day created?
Indigenous Peoples’ Day was founded as an alternative holiday to Columbus Day for individuals who disagree with what they say is an insensitive celebration of the date that marks the commencement of the disastrous European invasion of Native Americans.
The first prominent proposal of Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day happened in 1977, during the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. Learn more.
How is Indigenous Peoples’ Day observed?
Indigenous Peoples’ Day can be marked by centering on Native populations’ voices and recognizing their great achievements.
The event has also been highlighted as a vital moment to reflect on the way conventional historical narratives have often disregarded the tragedies indigenous peoples faced as a result of the colonization of the Americas.
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