Columbus Day, which is being held on the second Monday of October, commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas on October 12, 1492. As early as the 18th century, it was unofficially celebrated in some cities and states in the US. In 1937, it finally becomes a federal holiday. For many individuals, such event honors the achievements of Columbus. It also celebrates the Italian-American heritage. However, it is a controversial holiday because the introduction of the European settlement in the Americas led to the downfall of the history and culture of the indigenous people.
Celebration in the US
The first celebration of the Columbus Day in the US was in 1792. That was the time when the New York’s Colombian Order or also known as the Tammany Hall held an event that commemorates the historic landing’s 300th anniversary. For some Americans, they celebrate this event with church services and other activities.
On the other hand, the Italian and Catholic communities in different parts of the country have annual religious ceremonies and parades in his honor. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892 that encourages the Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage with patriotic festivities.
The Knights of Columbus, which is an influential Catholic fraternal benefits organization intensely lobbied for the Columbus Day to be a national holiday. In 1937, it was successfully proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Before, it is usually being held every October 12, but it was later fixed to the second Monday in October in 1971.
Traditions during Columbus Day
For most parts of the US, Columbus Day has become a celebration of Italian-American heritage. The typical celebrations include parades and street fairs that feature colorful costumes, music as well as Italian food. Meanwhile, those cities and towns that alternatively use this day in order to honor indigenous people, some activities may include pow-wows, traditional dance and lessons about the Native American culture.