Today we observe the day that Christopher Columbus sailed west and discovered the American Continent on October 12, 1492, or as many of us call “home”. But what else do you know about the history of this day, or what it means to you today?
Columbus began sailing west from Europe and assumed that he had reached the eastern shore of China. Contrary to popular belief, most educated Europeans were aware the Earth was round; therefore Columbus did not set sail to prove that the Earth was not flat.
Columbus Day was not recognized until President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed in 1937, that October 12th, the date that Columbus set food on San Salvador Island in 1492, as the official date for the annual holiday. But in 1971, Congress moved the date to the second Monday of October to guarantee a three-day holiday weekend.
Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon and South Dakota do not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday. South Dakota in fact celebrates Native American Day rather than Columbus Day. As the state of Nevada, it depends where you live if government offices and schools are closed. Most schools remain open and instead observe Nevada Day later in the month.
Columbus introduced wheat, barley, rye, sugar bananas and citrus fruits to the Americas.
In present day, it is one of the best days of the year to find great deals all around. For retailers, it marks a weekend to clear the shelves with clearance sales to make way for the bulk of items coming in for the holiday season. Food specials are another great perk of the holiday, including buy one get one free buffet at Seasons Buffet.
Columbus Day is celebrated in several countries including Latin American countries, the Bahamas and Spain simply under different names.
The District of Columbia is named after Christopher Columbus.