Why Do People Celebrate Columbus Day?

Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, to the New World on October 12, 1492. President Franklin Roosevelt established it as a federal holiday in 1937. The holiday has become controversial in the recent years because of claims that the European settlement of America resulted in the deaths of many people and the loss of culture.

Columbus Day is celebrated in different states in a number of ways. Since it is a federal holiday, most government offices are usually closed. Schools and post offices are not required to close. In Florida, the day is a legal observance, and it is named Discoverer's Day or Landing Day in Hawaii. Many people use the day to celebrate the achievements of Columbus and the Italian-American heritage.

Columbus is portrayed as the first European to reach the Americas. As a result, he is viewed as the "discoverer" of the Americas. However, it is claimed that the first people to sail to the Americas were the Vikings from Scandinavia. Moreover, people claim that Columbus did not discover the Americas because the land was already populated by the indigenous people. This has inspired many people to suggest alternatives to replace the holiday.