OCTOBER 8 - 2nd Monday – Columbus Day

OCTOBER 8, 2012* - Columbus Day

Columbus Day became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1905, and 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 loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Catholic immigration 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. One such organization, the Knights of Columbus, chose that name in part because it saw Christopher Columbus as a fitting symbol of Catholic immigrants' right to citizenship: one of their own, a fellow Catholic, had discovered America.

Some Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day 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. In April 1934, at the behest of the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside October 12 as Columbus Day and a Federal holiday.

Since 1971, the holiday 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 open.

States and city observations


The State of Alaska, which has a large indigenous population, does not recognize Columbus Day.


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 market


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 decades.


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. The day is "in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands". 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.

In 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.

New York

In New York State, Columbus Day is a holiday, as government offices and public schools are closed. However, the stock markets remain open. Not all universities in the state university system, SUNY, choose to observe the holiday.


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.

Puerto Rico

As in the mainland U.S., Columbus Day is a legal holiday in the unincorporated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

South Dakota

In the state of South Dakota, the day is officially a state holiday known as "Native American Day", not Columbus Day.

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.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

*Columbus Day will be celebrated as follows:
                 2011 – October 10
                 2012 – October 8
                 2013 – October 14
                 2014 – October 13