The Columbus Day became an official state holiday in
Colorado in 1905. It became a federal holiday in 1970. People have ritually
remembered Columbus beginning at least in the Colonial period. In 1792, New
York City and other eastern U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of
his landing in the New World. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison called
upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th
anniversary of the event. During the 400 year anniversary in 1892, teachers,
preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals
of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as support
for war, citizenship boundaries, the importance of obedience to the nation,
and celebrating social change as progress.
The immigration of the Catholics in the
mid-nineteenth century induced discrimination from anti-immigrant activists
such as the Ku Klux Klan. Like many other struggling immigrant communities,
Catholics developed organizations to fight discrimination and provide insurance
for the struggling immigrants. The organization, the Knights of Columbus, chose
Columbus as the masthead to symbolize their rights to citizenship: one of their
own, a fellow Catholic, had discovered America.
Columbus Day is observed by some Italian-Americans
as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City
on October 12, 1866. Columbus Day was first popularized as a holiday in the
United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian,
in Denver. The first official non-centennial Columbus Day was decreed by Colorado
governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905 and made state law in 1907. (ch. 184, 48
The holiday, since 1971, has been commemorated
in the U.S. on the second Monday in October, the same day as Thanksgiving in
neighboring Canada. It is generally observed today by banks, the bond market,
the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies, most state government offices,
and some school districts; however, most businesses and stock exchanges remain
States and city observations
Some public schools throughout the state
are closed in observance of Columbus Day.
The city of Berkeley celebrates Indigenous
People's Day instead of Columbus Day every year with a pow wow and Native American
The Columbus Day parade in Cleveland
takes place in the Little Italy neighborhood near University Circle. The day
begins with Mass at Holy Rosary Church which features the combined choirs of
the four historically Italian Cleveland area churches - Holy Rosary, Holy Redeemer,
St. Rocco and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The parade then goes down Murray Hill
featuring over 100 units and a dozen marching bands.
The Columbus Day parade in Denver has
been protested by Native American groups and their supporters for nearly two
Discoverer's Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Hawaii; it
honors Captain James Cook as the first European to document Hawaiian society
Hawaii does not officially honor Columbus
day and instead celebrates Discoverer's Day on the same day, i.e., on the second
Monday of each October. While many in Hawaii still celebrate the life of Columbus
on Columbus Day, the alternative holiday also honors James Cook, the British
navigator that became the first person to record the coordinates of the Hawaiian
Islands and share with the world the existence of the ancient Hawaiian people
and society. Some people interpret the holiday as a celebration of all discoveries
relative to the ancient and modern societies of Hawaii. Neither Columbus Day
nor Discoverer's Day is regarded as a holiday by State government; state, city
and county government offices and schools are open for business on Columbus
Day, while Federal government offices are closed.
The Hawaii, the Discoverer's Day celebration
has become a day of protest for some advocacy groups. A popular protest site
is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace and the Chancery building of the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. Such advocacy groups have been commemorating the
Discoverer's Day holiday as their own alternative, Indigenous Peoples Day. The
week is called Indigenous Peoples Week.
The city of Boston, which has a large
Italian population, marks the occasion on the Sunday before Columbus Day with
a parade through the city that alternates each year between East Boston and
the North End.
All state agencies are closed, and parking
at meters is free in the city of Boston.
In New York State, Columbus Day is a
holiday, as government offices and public schools are closed. However, the stock
markets remain open. However, not all State Universities choose to observe the
holiday, such as SUNY Stony Brook.
Columbus Day is not a legal holiday in
Nevada, but it is a day of observance. Schools and state, city and county government
offices are open for business on Columbus Day.
As in the mainland U.S., Columbus Day
is a legal holiday in the unincorporated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
In the state of South Dakota, the day
is officially a state holiday known as "Native American Day", not
U.S. Virgin Islands
Due to opposition against Columbus Day,
in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the day is celebrated as "Puerto
Rico-Virgin Islands Friendship Day."
The second Monday in October is a legal
holiday in Virginia: Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, honoring Christopher
Columbus, and the final victory at Yorktown in the Revolutionary War.