Columbus or Indigenous Peoples Day

Columbus or Indigenous Peoples Day

Today is the Columbus Day federal holiday in the United States.

“Columbus Day” puzzles many African readers of this blog. After all, Columbus didn’t land in America but in the West Indies. So it seems a fickle holiday in a country that’s known to not have many.

Many Americans are as puzzled as Africans and recently a movement among larger American cities is growing that would change “Columbus Day” to “Indigenuous Peoples Day.”

The idea began in Berkeley, California, where it has been the law since 1992. But there it sat unmoving anyone until just a few years ago when Sacramento, then Minneapolis and then the largest city so far, Seattle, also adopted the new orientation.

Today, regardless of what they day is called where an American lives, almost all government services are suspended, schools are closed, all banks in all states must be closed, and there’s no mail delivery. The holiday was proclaimed in 1937 on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus into the Americas. So this year, with so much of the federal government also closed, America is really chilling out.

Many large cities, including New York, have huge parades. Over the years the celebration has taken on an ethnic tone, celebrating Italian heritage.

Many of us take short road trips to country house BnB’s and tiny towns further north to enjoy the fall colors, because the holiday traditionally marks the end of summer and warm fall, and the start of dreary fall and frigid winter.