Columbus Day - October 13 2008 / October 12th 2009
Columbus Day is one of the 4 federal holidays recognizing an individual and takes place every second Monday in October. Columbus Day was originally celebrated in New York City in 1792, 300 years after Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas. Columbus’ arrival is also celebrated under various designations throughout Central America, South America and Spain as well.
It wasn’t until 1934 that President Delano Roosevelt named Columbus Day a national holiday, and set the date for the holiday on October 12th. In 1971 the date was changed to the one we now observe as Columbus Day. One faction of the American population in particular celebrates Columbus Day as a special event. Since 1866 many Italian-Americans have often used the holiday to also celebrate their heritage in addition to Columbus’ landing.
However, for other Americans Columbus Day is surrounded by controversy. In light of new historic findings, many people oppose Columbus Day due to the fact he was not the one to actually discover the region and because of the mistreatment of the native peoples of the Americas suffered after the landing. Since October 12th 1992 the Intercontinental Gathering of Indigenous People in the Americas, a group of more than 350 indigenous groups around the world, has referred to the holiday as the International Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People.