Columbus Day

Monday, 10 October Columbus Day in United States

Christopher Columbus Day commemorates the day when Italian explorer Columbus first sighted the New World (Americas) on October 11, 1492. The day is celebrated as a federal holiday in many countries of the Americas, with grand celebrations and parades held to honor the anniversary of Columbus’s voyage.

Christoper Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a holiday that commemorates Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas. Columbus was an Italian admiral, who was funded by the King and Queen of Spain.
When Celebrated:
Second Monday of October
Date:Second Monday of October
Commemorates a meeting of the “Old World” – Europe, Africa, and Asia – and the “New World” – North America and South America.
Opposition Holiday:
Indigenous Peoples Day
Happy Columbus Day
Parades, Festivals, Reading
Holiday Type:
Federal, Legal, State
Observed by:Americans
Where Celebrated:
Parts of the Americas

About Columbus Day

Columbus Day is celebrated every year on the second Monday of October. The holiday celebrates the day of 12th October 1492, when Columbus first sighted the Americas (the North and South American continents containing countries like the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, etc.)

Settled in Portugal, Columbus believed that there’s a shortcut to India and that the East Indies could be reached by traveling west and wanted to prove it to the world.

King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain heavily funded Columbus in his mission to find a westward route to China, India, and Japan – lands then known as the Indies.

Columbus Day

In August 1492, Columbus began his journey with his crew and three ships – called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. They sailed from Spain and stopped in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. From there, they traveled about 150+ miles each day.

After more than two months of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, the fleet spotted the land of the New World on October 12, 1492.

In October 1492, however, Columbus believed he had landed in Asia. He went on to map what he believed were India and China, but were actually the Americas. He continued to traverse the surrounding islands, calling the natives he encountered “Indians” because he thought they were inhabitants of the Indies.

Columbus returned home a hero and was named Viceroy of the Indies. It wasn’t until later that people began to suspect that he had actually found a New World. Columbus never believed it, though, and died claiming the Earth is smaller than predicted and that he had found a westward passage to the Indies.

Today, we celebrate every second Monday of October as “Columbus Day” – commemorating the day of October 12, 1492, when explorer Christopher Columbus first sighted the Americas. It is a dedicated holiday to honor Columbus for his discoveries of the New World as well as the meeting of the “Old World” – Europe, Africa and Asia – and the “New World” – North America and South America.

History & Origin: Who Created Columbus Day?

For centuries, Columbus has been celebrated as the brave explorer who discovered the New World. The very first celebration of Christopher Columbus Day was recorded in 1792 in the United States. Columbus’s iconic status was further cemented in 1828 when Washington Irving published a biography glorifying him.

But Columbus’ real big break came in the late 1800s when the United States started experiencing massive changes. Italian immigrants were arriving in the US in big numbers, and they faced harsh discrimination at the hands of the locals. They were considered low-class and were restricted to manual labor. Their Catholic beliefs opened the door for even more discrimination. So they embraced Columbus. After all, he was Italian and Catholic and already admired as a legendary icon in the US.

On the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in 1892, “Columbus Day was first brought into the school system. Schools held celebrations and students pledged allegiance to the flag for the first time, associating Columbus with patriotism in classrooms across America.

A year later Columbus became the theme of the World Expo in Chicago, branding him America’s hero around the world. As Columbus and his legend became further embedded in American culture, so did the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic social club founded by Italian immigrants.

By 1937, the Knights of Columbus had gained enough influence to convince then president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to proclaim Columbus Day a federal holiday.

In 1971, the original date of the federal holiday, October 12, was replaced with the second Monday of October.

Columbus Day

Dates: When Celebrated?

Columbus Day is always celebrated on the second Monday of October.

Celebratory Activities & Traditions

Unlike other national and federal holidays, the celebrations of Columbus Day are not widespread and only limited to a few states and regions. The grandest of the celebrations takes place within the Italian-Americans community, for example in Sans Fransico, where an annual Columbus Day Parade is held since 1868 and the second example is New York, where over 30,000+ marchers take part in the parade attended by one million viewers.

Several documentaries related to Columbus’s voyage to the Americas are broadcasted on television. In educational institutes, there are held different activities like debates, games, themed parties, and lectures related to Columbus and his voyage.

Columbus Day

This year’s Columbus Day falls on 10 October – celebrating the 528th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. Happy Columbus Day!

List Of The United States of America’s States & Columbus Day Observances

Columbus Day Observances by State
US States that celebrate and do not celebrate Columbus Day


All other states (that are not listed here) either don’t observe Columbus Day or celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead.

What’s Closed On Columbus Day This Year?

There is a federal holiday recognized by the US government in all the above listed US States. Federal government offices are closed, and each federal employee will be paid for the holiday. Private-sector employees required to operate on a legal holiday may get vacation pay as well in addition to their regular wages.

As a general rule other institutions, such as banks, post offices, mail delivery services such as USPS and schools might be closed also.

Should We Celebrate Columbus Day or Not?

Columbus Day is a national holiday that has divided the United States of America. The day is marked with heated nationwide debates – with one group favoring the holiday and the other group opposing or opting to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in its place. Here we have listed top reasons on why you should and why you shouldn’t celebrate Columbus Day. You can definitely go with the option that persuades you more!

Points In Favor of Columbus Day

According to a survey, a little portion of more than half of the population of America (around 55%) have voted in favor of Columbus Day. This 55% population of America wants everyone to celebrate Columbus Day because:

  • Columbus’s discovery led to the Development of the greatest country on Earth, the United States of America.
  • Columbus discovered the North American and South American continental coast and recorded the voyage in a manner that allowed others to repeat the journey. He opened a route that may be sailed by others later on. It’s Columbus’ way of discovery and record-keeping that distinguishes him from other explorers who might formerly have “discovered” the New World.
  • It can be true that Leif Erickson was the first European to arrive in North America, and the Native Americans had already lived here for centuries, however, neither of these ushered in the huge economic and social revolution which Columbus did.
  • Columbus was a man of so many qualities. He’s viewed as a highly-skilled sea captain. He challenged the traditional notion the Earth was flat, trying to”hit the east by going west,” a notion to which the scientists of the day were forcibly against.
  • He encouraged the heliocentric motion of the solar system by Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler before it became known by this title. He also opened the door to further discoveries by upcoming explorers

Opposition To Columbus Day Observances

After the myth of Columbus is confronted with brutal historical facts – some states and cities in the US have stopped observing Columbus Day. Many people have started opposing the holiday and here’s why:

  • Columbus never even set foot in the United States of America. His four-day voyages only brought him to the modern-day Caribbean islands, Central, and South America… but never to the country where more than 50 cities, towns, and counties bear his name. We rarely hear about other explorers – such as Giovanni de Verrazzano, Ponce de Leon, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda – who actually landed in the US just a couple decades after Columbus. So how did a man who never even set foot in the US should be honored with a national holiday and a permanent place in American mythology?
  • A majority of the books, documentaries, and cartoons have wrongly portrayed the image of Christopher Columbus in our minds. We were told that Columbus’s voyages to the inhabited islands in the Americas were peaceful, but in reality, Columbus and his men were responsible for mass deaths of native people. Columbus and his crew forced their way into the local American settlements, killing children, women, and men. These details have been kept out of most publications from the beginning, allowing Columbus to become an American icon.
  • While the myth of Columbus had been developing throughout history, Native Americans in the US had been dealing with destruction and discrimination for centuries at the hands of all the European settlers that followed Columbus.
  • Historians started reexamining Columbus and his story, correcting the myth and including the missing historical facts. As revelations about Columbus have become mainstream, some people have rejected the holiday as well as the man and legacy behind it. Today cities and even states around the US are opting out of celebrating Columbus Day and choosing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead.

Happy Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day Wishes Greetings Messages

  • A happy and healthy Columbus Day Weekend to my Fellow Americans.
  • Every ship that comes to America got its chart from Columbus. Happy Columbus Day greetings to all.
  • Happy Columbus Day ! Hope you have a great time exploring the adventures of life.
  • On Columbus Day, I wish that you discover many things that are brighter and beautiful – just like Christopher Columbus who discovered the Great America!
  • Columbus day teaches us that by prevailing over all obstacles and difficulties, we may unfailingly arrive at our chosen goal or destination.
  • Happy 527th Anniversary of Columbus’s voyage and discovery of the Americas. He was a legend who gave the world another world and attached the “Old World” to the “New World”.

Happy Columbus Day Quotes & Sayings

  • Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World – by Christopher Columbus
  • One can never cross the ocean unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore – by Christopher Columbus
  • The significance of Columbus’s discovery was that on a round earth, humanity is more interconnected than on a flat one. On a round Earth, the two most distant points are closer together than they are on a flat Earth – by Matt Taibbi
  • It is hoped that by God’s help, some of the hidden continents in the Ocean will be discovered… for the Glory of God – by Christoper Columbus
  • If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock – by Arthur Goldberg

Columbus Day Poems & Rhymes

Oh Columbus sailed the ocean in 1492
With the Niña, and the Pinta and the Santa Maria too

Oh Columbus found America in 1492
With the Niña, and the Pinta and the Santa Maria too

On October 12th we remember
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
With the Niña, and the Pinta and the Santa Maria too

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
He had 3 ships, he let from Spain
He sailed through sunlight wind and rain

He sailed by night he sailed by day
He used the stars to guide his way
90 sailors were aboard
Some men worked while others snored
Then the workers went to sleep,
And other sailed the ocean deep
Day by day they looked for land
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand
October 11th their dreams came true
You never saw a happier crew
Then in 1492, when columbus sailed the ocean blue
In 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue

Columbus Day Interesting Facts & Fun Information

  • Christoper Columbus started sailing when he was just 15 years old.
  • When he set sail to the expedition, he was provided with three boats by the city of Palos. The names of those three ships were the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
  • Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Before it turned into a legal national holiday in 1971, several nations celebrated Columbus Day on October 11.
  • Columbus Day marks Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas. Columbus landed on the island of Guanahani from the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.
  • Columbus’s crew consisted of 90 men and three boats. The objective of the trip was to graph a western sea route to the Indies, as well as related to reaching the islands in Asia rich in gold and spices.
  • One of Columbus’ ships, the Santa Maria, wrecked on the shore of the Americas and didn’t make the return voyage. 40 crewmen had to remain behind because there was no space on the other two boats. They stayed on the island Hispaniola.
  • Christopher Columbus traveled the New World three times.
  • Christoper Columbus died when he was 55, in 1506, just two decades after his final trip to the New World. Nobody knows where he’s buried as he had been reburied many times in various areas across the world.
  • Nobody is certain exactly what Columbus looked like, because there are no real portraits available.
  • Back in Virginia, Columbus Day is celebrated along with Yorktown Victory Day.
  • Since Christopher Columbus was Italian, Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus Day as a celebration of the heritage.
  • Depending on where you reside in the USA, you might visit parades to celebrate the holiday season. In most states, the kids have the day off from their schools.
  • New York City has the biggest Columbus Day parade. Over a million viewers enjoy watching the parade of 30,000+ marchers each year on Columbus Day.
  • In 1792, the firs-ever Columbus Day celebration was organized by The Society of St. Tammany and held at New York City (300th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage).
  • On April 7, 1907 – Colorado became the first state to announce Columbus Day a legal holiday.
  • In 1920, Columbus Day starts to be observed annually.
  • The initial national observance of Columbus Day was held under President Franklin D. Roosevelt on October 12, 1937.
  • Many historians agree that Columbus wasn’t the primary person nor the very first European, to discover the Americas. Native people were residing in the Americas for centuries before Columbus’ arrival.
  • Multiple cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco along with US states, such as Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon, have substituted Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. The movement raises awareness of Columbus’ harsh treatment of native people and to honor and celebrate indigenous culture.
  • Berkeley, California was the first city to embrace Indigenous Peoples Day, in 1992.
  • Columbus’s expeditions are blamed for many disease outbreaks. New diseases that had previously been limited to Europe followed Columbus’s team to the New World. After 1492, diseases like smallpox, measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, typhus, and flu were transferred from people of the Old World to the New World and vice versa. Researchers classify this as being one of the biggest demographic disasters in history.
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