History Behind Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a holiday in Colorado since 1906 and it became the federal holiday in 1937. Americans celebrate the Columbus Day dedicatedly. Soon the Columbus Day became a ritual to spread the patriotism all over US. Teachers, preachers, poets and politicians were determined to outline the patriotic rituals around the themes like support for war, faithfulness and devotion to the nation, restrictions that each and every citizen of the nation should follow. Overall, the objective was to make the nation successful and progressive.

In the mid-19th century, immigration became a problem. A number of immigrant communities were coming up. Catholics had also decided to develop an immigrant community to fight nepotism and providing support to the catholic immigrants. Catholics developed the organization called "the Knights of Columbus" which involved the name of Christopher Columbus because of the acceptability of Columbus to the Catholics as he discovered America. He was one of the fellow Catholics as well.

Columbus Day is now a part of the heritage. The grand celebration of the particular day had first started on 12th October, 1866 in New York City. The first Columbus Day was celebrated in New York in 1792 to commemorate and honor the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s momentous influx. The Columbus Day became a popular holiday in United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce who was an Italian. The Columbus Day became a constitutional holiday in 1907 because of the proclamation by the Colorado Governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to make 12th October a federal holiday due to the lobbying of the community "The Knights of Columbus".

The holiday was on the second Monday in October since 1971. Coincidentally the same day is celebrated as Thanksgiving in the neighboring Canada since 1959. The particular day is observed by all the banks, bond markets, U.S postal services, Government offices and federal agencies. Very few offices and business entities remain open on that day.

Origin of Columbus Day

Columbus Day originated from his first visit to the new world in October 12, 1492. His trip was backed by the Spanish royalty. His aim was to discover a western route to the countries of India and China, the fabled land of Unicorns and gold, but landed in the Bahamas instead. Initially he did not realize he was in a previously undiscovered land, and thought to be in the Indian, Chinese and Japanese region, but later realized that he has found a new continent.

Columbus Day have been declared a national holiday since 1937. However some states and organization do not celebrate the holiday, owing to the Columbus controversy.

Why Is Columbus Day Celebrated?

Columbus sailed the ocean in fourteen hundred ninety two. Along with the arrival of the European sailor, the culture, religion and various goods also came into the territory. Even though he was not the first person to step in but the way he publicized his discoveries and thoughts through out the United Kingdom, People of Europe and America started to believe his exploration. But it is a fact that before Columbus a number of sailors from Europe and Asia visited the land of America but they could not even think of publicizing this or letting people know about their discoveries.

Basically he never thought of discovering any new region. He left Iberia with financial aid of the king Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and wanted to land up in Indies, a chain of south East Asian islands. This was a business destination of Spain. The way to Indies from Spain was very long and costly. The intention of Columbus was to ascertain a short and inexpensive route to Indies.

Columbus didn’t know the existence of North and South America. In the process of discovering a shorter way to Indies Columbus discovered a land. He named the land "San Salvador". Columbus had committed a mistake of thinking the natives of San Salvador as Indians. This is truly a misnomer. Columbus came to the land of America thrice in 12 years. But until then he didn’t know that the land is unexplored and uncultivated.

How Is Columbus Day Observed?

The whole America, irrespective of the regions, celebrates the Columbus Day as a Holiday but the reasons of celebrations vary extensively in different parts of United States. Government offices, District schools, US portal service and most of the Stock markets are closed on that particular occasion.

Hawaii celebrates the day as an auspicious day when Christopher Columbus along with Captain James Cook discovered the uncharted and unexplored land of Hawaii Islands. They had also celebrated the customs and cultures of the native people of Hawaii. In most of the states of America, people celebrate the day with processions and they salute Italian American Culture with due respect.

People of Canada celebrate the Columbus Day along with Thanksgiving. On the other hand Latin America celebrates the Día de la Raza ("Day of the Race") as the first battle between endemic people and Europeans. At present the day is recognized and renowned as "Día de la Resistencia Indígena" ("Day of Indigenous Resistance") in Venezuela.

What is Columbus Day all about?

Columbus Day is celebrated on 12th October, 1492. The day is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of America by Columbus in general. Americans also respect the role of the Italian immigrants in making the United State great and supreme. Americans celebrate the day to remember these immigrants as well.

Even though most of the work places are closed but different stores keep their shutters open on that particular day and they also hold many special offers with discounts.

North and South America remember the day in a bit different way. In Bahamas, people celebrate 12th October as "Discovery Day" while many parts of Latin America celebrate the day as Día de la Raza (Day of the Race). Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of the Indigenous Resistance) is celebrated in Venezuela.

How did Columbus Day become a holiday?

The first celebration of Columbus’s discovery took place after 300 years of his actual discovery. A group called the Columbian Order arranged a ceremony in New York to memorize the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s discovery. A group of Italian immigrants organized the celebration in true sense after the civil war. After that other Italian immigrants followed the same path.

President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Columbus’s landing in the Bahamas in 1892. That day was not a national holiday till then. But after 17 years, in 1905, Colorado had showed the way to the other parts of America and 12th October became a holiday. Ten years later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Columbus Day a federal legal holiday. In 1971 congress decided that on the second Monday of October, there will be an official observance.

How important was his "discovery"?

The discovery of Columbus was acclaimed as a great "discovery". The continent was not that well known to the rest of the world earlier. It’s only the publicity, by which people got to know the discovery of Columbus. So, many people recently put a question mark over the name of the discoverer. Columbus discovered the land and thought it as a land which belongs to Asian coast. But it was not the case. He was not the first interloper to reach the land. Scandinavian adventurers and explorers had built colonial dependencies in Greenland and Newfoundland five centuries earlier.

The discovery of Columbus is not insignificant and extraneous though. His work has influenced a large number of future explorers. The route to the East Asian coastal area was discovered and America was recognized as a new territory. His bravery, willpower, perseverance and descriptive writings are respected. Washington Irving has praised the competence and intelligence of Columbus in his writings.

What makes Columbus Day controversial?

Even though America celebrates the day as a national holiday but this is a controversial decision. Many of the biographers think that Columbus started his journey for gold and glory but when he landed up in Salvadorian earth, he changed his decision and became a completely different man. Inhabitants of the discovered land almost pleaded to him and his mates for survival but his men showed no mercy. The own journals of Columbus has shown the violence against men, women and children.

The mass killing has not given him the glory he wanted. The new world soon understood his carnage and Columbus was incarcerated after the investigations. Eventually the crown and wealth of Columbus were restored but he never had got the respect that he sought. Columbus was not allowed to receive the revenues produced by the Spanish government through colonization.

Columbus was a part of the mass killing and that was an intentional act by him. He described his discoveries and cultivations in his writings. If you read this you will also understand the way he and his partners destroyed the culture of the inhabitants. Native population could not even form the resistance against the diseases that came along with the European explorers. According to a statistical prediction after hundred years of their momentous landing, 90 million of native women, men and children were dead.

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