Columbus Day is marked as a national holiday in the United States, with most banks, some financial markets, federal agencies such as the US Postal Service, most state government offices, and many school districts closed for the day. It is celebrated throughout the Americas (North America, Central America and South America) on the same day, although the celebration, and its reasons, varies widely.
For example, in Hawaii, it is Discoverer’s Day, combining Christopher Columbus’s explorations with those of Captain James Cook, who charted the Hawaiian Islands and celebrated the ancient people and their culture. In most states in the U.S., Columbus Day is met with parades and salutes to Italian American Culture.
The teachers told us: “In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America.” That is, of course politically and technically incorrect, as native cultures had already been thriving for centuries by the time Columbus's three ships arrived from Europe. A more accurate way of explaining it to children would be to say that "In 1492, Christopher Columbus had his first encounter with the Americas."
What exactly is the point of Columbus day and why is it stil a national holiday when it has become increasingly refocused on a celebration of Italian American culture?
Columbus Day is also met with great protest throughout the Americas. Those opposing the day take the opportunity to reveal the unpleasant treatment that some European settlers subjected upon the indigenous people, including mass religious conversions and genocide.
For many in the United States, the celebration been refocused as a celebration of Italian American culture, particularly in areas with a high concentration of people with Italian lineage. This transition officially began in New York in 1866 and San Francisco in 1869, and has spread to Boston and other large cities. This has resulted in Italian-American themed celebrations, parades, and events.
Some have argued that the responsibility of contemporary governments and their citizens for allegedly ongoing acts of genocide against Native Americans are masked by positive Columbus myths and celebrations.
It is a day in which we celebrated Christopher Columbus' trip from Spain to Hispaniola, North America in 1492