Columbus Day Date: October 11
Columbus Day is celebrated all over North and South America on Second Monday of October.
Most countries all over the world have once been under the rule of the Europeans. The Europeans in search of trade routes to India set forth on journeys in different directions. Most of their journeys ended in vain either being shipwrecked by the violent seas or by pirates. There a few others who did find land but were killed by the natives. Besides all these there were a distinguished few who did live to tell their tales of discovery and bring the unknown world into the maps of European travelers.
One of that fortunate few to find land was Columbus. Christopher Columbus with his three ships set forth on an expedition to find a new sea route to India. On October 12, 1942, a sailor aboard the Pinta cried land and hence Americas were known to the European world.
Columbus Day History
Columbus Day is celebrated all over the world conquered by him. Thought not all of them celebrate it with great vigor. His arrival in the Americas is dated as 12th October 1492 as per the Julian calendar and as 21st October 1492 as per the modern Georgian Calendar. Most of the countries discovered by him honor this day as a national holiday.
Columbus Day was first observed as a state holiday in the state of Colorado. Subsequently it was declared as a federal holiday only in the year 1970. Many cities in the United States of America celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the Americas. This was not a much famous celebration and mostly kept low key. A hundred years later in the year 1872, American President Benjamin Harrison called upon celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas. The 400th anniversary was an eventful affair with preachers, teacher’s poets and event politicians chipping in using the Columbus Day celebrations to promote the ideals of patriotism.
Columbus Day Celebrations in Latin America
Many of the countries in Latin America like in Argentina, Venezuela, Chile and Mexico celebrate the day of Columbus landing on their continent. Most of these countries celebrated this day as an official holiday. In particular Venezuela established this day as an official holiday in the year 1921 as Día de la Raza. In the year 2002 President Hugo Chávez changed the name of the celebrations to Día de la Resistencia Indígena to celebrate the Indigenous people’s resistance to the occupying forces. On this day in 2004 Christopher Columbus’s statue in Caracas was toppled. A left wing website quoted that this was similar to the toppling of Saddam Husain’s statue in Bhagdad in the previous year. This also symbolizes the contrasting emotions of people across the continent.
Opposition to Columbus Day Celebrations
Opposition to the celebration of the Columbus Day dates back to the 19th century. It is stated that certain groups wanted the celebration of Columbus Day scrapped as they felt that the Catholics would use the day to promote their religion and take over their country.
Amusing Facts about Columbus day
There is also a belief that the advent of Columbus to the land brought about more harm than good to them. They attribute their feelings to the evidence from Columbus’s own accounts on how he treated the native people and the well known brutal acts of slavery enacted by the Europeans.
Emotions of people are always divided on all issues. But whatever is the popular notion it remains that the discovery of the New World is always attributed to Christopher Columbus, the navigator, explorer and colonizer.