OCTOBER 9 - Leif Erikson Day

OCTOBER 9 - Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson Day is an American observance occurring on October 9. It honors Leif Ericson (Leifr Eiríksson), who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot on North American soil. In 1964, Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery.

In addition to the federal observance, some states officially commemorate Leif Erikson Day, particularly in the Upper Midwest, where large numbers of people from the Nordic countries settled. In 1930, Wisconsin became the first state to officially adopt this holiday, thanks to efforts by the Norwegian-American initiator, Rasmus B. Anderson. A year later Minnesota followed suit. In 1963, the U.S. Representative from Duluth, John Blatnik, introduced a bill to observe it nationwide. The following year Congress adopted this unanimously.

October 9 is not associated with any particular event in Leif Erikson's life. The date was chosen because the ship Restauration coming from Stavanger, Norway, arrived in New York Harbor on October 9, 1825 at the start of the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States.


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