New York's Fifth Avenue, the site of
largest Columbus Day parade.
school child knows, Christopher
Columbus was the Italian navigator who sailed with Spanish
ships to a land inhabited by native
Americans only to mistakenly call them Indians
because he thought that he had landed in India!
the confusion, the discovery changed the course of history.
Today, among many
celebrations that still mark the discovery of America, the biggest ones for consumers are the annual Columbus Day sales by major retailers coast to coast offering early fall bargains on garden equipment and air conditioners.
And, of course, there are the parades! The
one in NYC is by far the largest, grandest and most popular, welcoming over 1 million spectators annually.
Meanwhile, another big celebration happens on the West Coast when Columbus Day is observed during San Francisco Fleet Week -- as the city's Italian American population joins in to salute the US Navy -- while commemorating the famous Italian who brought his three famous ships to America in 1492.
closed on Columbus Day?
Despite it being a normal workday for many Americans, Columbus Day is an official federal government holiday with post offices and banks closing in honor of
the day (although Wall St. stock markets still stay open as usual.)
Libraries are also usually closed for the day. School observances are made at the local level, but more often than not East Coast schools will give the day off, while schools remain open throughout the rest of the nation.
Columbus Day controversies
Indigenous Peoples' Day celebrations take
place on the same day as Columbus Day.
A culture clash continues to grown between proponents of Native American rights and those who celebrate Columbus Day.
Those who still honor the day see Christopher Columbus as an epic figure who helped forge an important trade route from the Old World to the New World, which eventually led to the American ideals of liberty.
Meanwhile, Native Americans regard Columbus Day (only declared a federal holiday in 1937) as a teaching moment to remind the nation of its entire past: Could Columbus have truly "discovered" America when Native Americans had already been living there for countless generations?
As a result, individual states, cities and towns across the nation have begun swapping Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. The counter-celebration most importantly honors the rich history and culture of the nation's first inhabitants. Indigenous Peoples' Day also appeals to Americans' deep sense of fairness, putting a spotlight on the inequities Native Americans suffered after lending their life-saving support to the first "settlers" of colonial America.
More about Columbus Day & Indigenous Peoples' around the Web:
Around the Web, discover more about traditional and
new ways to celebrate Columbus Day with more stories and history
lessons, arts and crafts ideas, and video just up ahead...
Day - From the Holiday Zone which offers fun arts and crafts
ideas, songs and poems, with links to sites that celebrate
Columbus Day. Sites that celebrate
Indigenous Peoples Day are given equal time, as well.