Columbus Day falls on 13 October 2014 and marks the date that the explorer and adventurer Christopher Columbus first landed in the western world in the year 1492.
Celebrating Christopher Columbus Across the World
The anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas is celebrated around the world. Throughout the Americas or New World the holiday is marked by festivities like parades, holidays and long weekends. Many countries mark the arrival of Columbus in their own unique spirit and the holiday offers the opportunity to truly explore diverse cultures.
Columbus Day in the United States
In the United States, Columbus Day commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. It is a federal holiday, and celebrated on the second Monday of October with the closing of public offices and schools. Columbus Day is especially celebrated in the Italian American community as a reflection of Columbus’s nationality. It is often marked by parades, as well as enjoyed as a recreational holiday from school and work. The long Columbus Day weekend is an excellent opportunity to explore the history of the Americas by visiting the many historical sites in the United States.
Canadian Columbus Day
Canada celebrates Columbus Day on the fourth Thursday of November. Since this is also the date of Thanksgiving in the United States, American tourists can still enjoy a holiday atmosphere of leisure and sales if traveling to Canada during Thanksgiving weekend. And Canadians are able to enjoy the American festivities of parades and sales if traveling to the United States. Columbus Day is truly a holiday of common heritage and opportunity to enjoy leisure activities like sightseeing and shopping.
In Latin America Día de la Raza, Day of the Race, is celebrated throughout Latin America. It is a celebration of the meeting of Europeans and Native Americans. In Cost Rica it is known as Day of the Cultures to recognize the many heritages enjoyed by Costa Ricans. The discovery of the Americas by Columbus is also recognized by some groups as celebrating the resistance of the Native Americans to the Europeans colonization of Latin America. This has resulted in new recognitions such as Venezuela’s Day of Indigenous Resistance. The diversity of Latin America is reflected by the various ways the countries commemorate the discovery of its lands by the Europeans. Celebrations can range from holidays and parades, to marches by Hispanic activists. Knowing how a Latin American country celebrates Columbus is an important component in understanding its rich, cultural heritage.
In Spain, the sponsor of Columbus’s historical voyage, Columbus’s discovery of America is known as National Day. It is traditionally celebrated as recognition of all international Hispanics. Columbus's great exploration is acknowledged as a national holiday and an important part of Spain’s participation in the discovery of the Americas.
The Caribbean countries also recognize Columbus’s great exploration and arrival in the Americas. It is celebrated as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, where Columbus first discovered land, and is also celebrated in the Cayman Islands.
Columbus’s arrival in the Americas is celebrated throughout the Americas and in Europe. The diversity of these celebrations and holidays reflect the richness of the heritages that have evolved since Columbus’s historical voyage. Exploring countries that celebrate Columbus Day is truly an opportunity to explore diverse cultural heritages, landscapes and cultures.