This U.S. federal holiday commemorates the date when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas. In the USA it is observed on the Second Monday in October.
The largest celebration of Columbus Day is in New York City, which hosts a huge parade. Communities with large Italian American populations may hold special Columbus Day festivities.
While there had been celebrations in 1792 to mark the 300th anniversary, Columbus Day was first officially proclaimed by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892, to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Bahamas.
With a large Italian immigrant population at the time, Colorado was the first US state to make Columbus Day an official holiday. Franklin Roosevelt established the first federal observance of Columbus Day in 1937. Since 1971, the holiday has been celebrated on the second Monday in October.
In addition to a state level, in many cities, the day is now celebrated as Native Americans’ Day or Indigenous People’s Day.
According to data from the Society for Human Resource Management, only 14% of organizations closed on Columbus Day in 2014.
Columbus Day is no longer observed in every state.