If you want a holiday named after yourself, here's a tip - discover some new land. That's the reason Columbus Day is celebrated. The holiday is in honor of the explorer who first came to the New World on October 12, 1492. Since 1920, it has been an annual holiday. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside October 12th as Columbus Day in 1937. Later, President Richard Nixon declared Columbus Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Columbus Day: Holiday with Many Names
In the States there's always a parade down New York's Fifth Avenue. Smaller towns and cities also have parades and put on plays. In the last several years, the holiday has been rejected by many people. Columbus wasn't the first person to visit America and because of this, some places call the holiday Native America Day. Many Latin American countries call it Dia de la Raza - Day of the Race. Another name for it is Indigenous Peoples Day.
Columbus Day: A Very Brief History Lesson
On August 2, 1492, Christopher Columbus set out from Palos, Spain to find India. He went in search of spices, silks and wealth. Columbus took three boats with him, the Santa Maria - the biggest one, was 80 feet long and carried 40 men. The Pinta carried 26 men and the Nina had 24 men. How's your math? There were 90 men in all. After stopping at Canary Islands, Columbus and his men didn't see land for a many months. When they did, they sailed along the shoreline for a while. They established some camps along the way and met the natives - some friendly, some not. Columbus thought he had discovered India but it was really North America. The "newly discovered" land became known as the New World.