What is Columbus Day?
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. The day commemorates Christopher Columbus landing in the New World in October of 1492.
Christopher Columbus initially embarked on his voyage in the hopes of finding a quick route to Asia for direct access to their spices, gold, and treasures. When his ship landed on the Bahamas, he believed he had reached China. Columbus made several journeys throughout his life and it wasn’t until his third trip that he realized he had not found Asia but rather a completely new continent previously unknown to Europe.
Throughout the years, this holiday has been surrounded by controversy due to the fact that this voyage brought disease, war, and suffering to the New World and its indigenous people. Many reject this holiday and celebration of Columbus and instead use it as a day to celebrate the Italian-American heritage.