Is Columbus Day a Federal Holiday?

Columbus Day
Columbus Day is celebrated as a holiday at the national level. Many countries of America celebrate it every year. In the United States, it is still considered a federal holiday. They celebrate it as the anniversary of Christopher Columbus. On the 12th of October 1492, he came to America, and every year, Americans celebrate this aspect. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the New World. For all this, he started his trip on Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta. He covered the distance in three months. Columbus and his team worked on the Earth's Western Hemisphere that is America. They developed this part of the World with new technology, animals, people, and plants. Hence, the people of America take it as the Columbian Exchange (Criblez, 2021).

Research by a PhD dissertation writing service shows that different countries named it differently. But the purpose of celebration is same as the arrival of Columbus. United State named it as Columbus Day, while Latin America called it Día de la Raza. It is also termed as Discovery Day, Día de la Hispanidad, Fiesta Naciona, Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural, Day of the Americas, and Día de las Américas. They are named so in Bahamas, Spain, Belize, and Uruguay respectively. Similarly, Mexico, Peru and Italy celebrate it as Día de la Raza or "Day of the Race".

It is also called Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural ("Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day"), and Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo, or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo. In the 18th century, it was celebrated privately. But from the early 20th century, many areas started celebrating it as an official holiday.

Celebration of United States:

In the United States, people celebrate Columbus Day with great patriotism. Teachers, churchmen, politicians, and great writers spread the words of devotion. Italian-Americans celebrated Columbus Day on 12th of October 1866 for the very first time. It was labelled as a legal holiday. In 1905, it was announced as a state-wide holiday by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald. And it was termed a statutory holiday in the year 1907. In 1934, congress issued some statements related to Columbus Day. They declared the 12th of October as Columbus Day.

They encouraged celebrating Columbus Day at the national level with Governor Bodies. They also exhibited a flag display ceremony on the 12th of October. They also ensured celebration at churches, educational institutes, or any other appropriate place. In different parts of the United States, Columbus Day is celebrated differently. In some places, it is celebrated on a large scale. Whereas in others areas, it is treated as a local ceremony. People celebrate it on a large scale.

They do not provide services on Columbus Day and take it as a 'Day of Observance'. At the same time, other states work as per daily routines. In 1868, San Francisco celebrated the annual parade on a large scale. U.S. territory of Puerto Rico also claims it as an official holiday. Whereas United States Virgin Islands celebrate in two ways. One is Columbus Day, while the other one is "Puerto Rico Friendship Day." Same as United States Virgin Islands, Virginia also celebrates it as Columbus Day, and Yorktown Victory Day.

In same way, the states of Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin, and parts of California started ignoring the celebration. This celebration of Columbus Day at the end of the 20th century is not witnessed anymore. Instead, they restored it as Indigenous People's Day. Similarly, the states of Oregon and Washington take it as an unofficial holiday. In this context, Iowa and Nevada were requested to celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday. However, they kept changing the title of the day. Finally, in 2017, the city council of Akron, Ohio, decided to change Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day. In 2018, it turned into North American First People's Day, and in 2020, it is finalised as Italian-American Heritage, and Culture Day.

Celebration of Latin American:

It covered the discussions of Día de la Raza, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. In Spanish, this celebration is named Día de la Raza. Till 1957, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and Mexico celebrated it as Día de la Raza. After that, they started celebrating the day in 1917, 1921, 1922, and 1928 respectively. The year of first celebration for Colombia and Venezuela is the same as 1921. But after 1957, Venezuela changed the title of celebration from Día de la Raza to Día de la Hispanidad. In 2002, it was changed to Día de la Resistencia Indígena again.

Argentina has celebrated Columbus Day as a "Day of Respect of Cultural Diversity" since 2010. They were already celebrating the Day of the Race since 1916. It was the initiative of President Hipólito Yrigoyen. In 2010, President Cristina Kirchner changed its name, but remained observant (Eason et al., 2021).

According to a dissertation writing service UK, Colombia is derived from Columbus itself. Colombia celebrates Columbus Day. This is done just as it celebrates El día de la Raza y de la Hispanidad ("Day of the Race and Hispanicity") every year. The government of Colombia takes it as the best way to prove that they appreciate the diversity of race. Peru and Venezuela also celebrate Columbus Day as a holiday. The only difference is of title. Peru referred it as Día del descubrimiento de América ("Day of the discovery of America"). And in 2009, they tilted it Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural. This translates to Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day in English.

Similarly, Venezuela's president Juan Vicente Gómez celebrated it as Día de la Raza with the other nations of America. In 2002, President Hugo Chávez called it Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance), and celebrated the day. In the same way, Costa Rica used to mark the official holiday as well. But since 1994, the government of Costa Rica has changed the holiday of Columbus Day from Día de la Raza to Día del Encuentro de las Culturas. This translates to Day of the Encounter of Cultures in English. The purpose behind this change was to ensure the combination of African and Asian cultures. Hence from 2020, Costa Rica stopped enabling it as an official holiday. But they preferred enjoying Military Abolition Day on the 1st of December.

Celebration of European:

European Observance covers Italy and Spain. Italians started celebrating Columbus Day in the 18th century. They still consider it as a celebration of their heritage. Spain started celebrating Columbus Day in the year 1730. It celebrates Columbus Day as a national holiday till date.


  • Criblez, A., 2021. 2" Americans Ruling America": Independence Day Nativism, 1850-1856. In Parading Patriotism (pp. 50-69). Cornell University Press.
  • Eason, A.E., Pope, T., Becenti, K.M. and Fryberg, S.A., 2021. Sanitizing history: National identification, negative stereotypes, and support for eliminating Columbus Day and adopting Indigenous Peoples Day. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 27(1), p.1.

Albert Barkley

Hello, my name is Albert Barkley. I am working as education consultant with a UK based firm after completion of my PhD. I like to write on different social, tech and education trends.

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