Date and Origin of Colombus Day
Colombus Day Dates in 2018, 2019 and 2020
Colombus Day is celebrated at the following dates:
- Monday, October 8th 2018
- Monday, October 14th 2019
- Monday, October 12th 2020
Columbus day is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
Columbus day is observed as a federal holiday, though only 23 states give their workers a paid day off2. It celebrates Columbus's voyage and subsequent discovery the new world in 14923, despite strong evidence of previous Norse and claims of other pre-Columbian voyages.
Columbus day was first celebrated as a state holiday in Colorado in 1906 though celebrations of Columbus's voyage have been held since colonial times5. It became a federal holiday in 19375. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison called for a celebration of the 300th anniversary of Columbus's voyage where the emphasis was placed on ideals of patriotism56. In the Italian-American community, Columbus day is considered a celebration of Italian heritage7.
Celebrations vary widely across the country. Some places hold giant parades celebrating Christopher Columbus's journey, such as in San Francisco, CA, which hosts the oldest continuously running Columbus Day parade, established in 1868 by Nicola Larco8. New York city boasts the largest Columbus Day parade with 35,000 marchers, 100 groups and nearly one million spectators1.
In observance of Columbus day, most school districts have the day off as well as most state government offices, many businesses, banks, the bond market, the U.S. postal service and other federal agencies9.
Columbus day has been steeped in controversy since at least as early as the 19th century due to associations with immigrants and the Knights of Columbus, as well as worries that it was a holiday used to widen Catholic influence10.
Starting in the mid 20th century, however, the focus has shifted towards critiques about the historical accuracy of Columbus being the first European to discover the New world and criticisms of Christopher Columbus's treatment of indigenous populations. One often cited example that illustrates the severity of Columbus's treatment of native Americans was his enslavement of 1500 Arawak men, women and children11. He brought 500 back on his ship, but because at least 200 died, he was forced to stop in Haiti, where he forced natives to bring him a certain quota of gold11. If the quota was not met, they would have their hands cut off and bled to death11.
These criticisms have led to some cities renaming Columbus day as Indigenous people's day, a movement started in 1992 with Berkeley, California and followed by Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, California; Dane County, Wisconsin; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington12.