So, Columbus was Italian, sailing for Spain, trying to discover the West Indies but instead found America, looking for spices, but finding chocolate… oh, and by the way, he never actually landed in America and if he had, he would have been at best, second, if not later. And Columbus Day wasn’t originally October 1oth, it was October 12th, the day he didn’t land in America in 1492.
Think we are confused, you should have been Columbus. He still thought he had landed in the West Indies even after returning to Spain in 1493. Someone eventually told him he would be credited with finding an entire new world and I can only imagine his response…”What new world?” Of course that would have been in Spanish, or Italian, or Latin, or… well you get the point.
The first celebration of Columbus Day that was recorded came in 1792 when the 300th anniversary was honored at Tammy Hall, a forerunner of the Knights of Columbus. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison suggested that all of the US celebrate the date on the 400th anniversary of the date. He stopped short of proclaiming it a National Holiday.
It was left to FDR to proclaim Columbus Day as a National Holiday in 1937. He was pressured by the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations in the US. Of course, back then they didn’t know Columbus never actually discovered America. The date was changed to the second Monday in October, to allow for a three day weekend for federal employees.
So in the end, we celebrate someone who didn’t discover America, wasn’t Spanish, and really was… lost. But I am told he was a nice guy otherwise.
How to celebrate – Reenact the Columbus landing (it really doesn’t matter where you are or where you land). Make some paper boats and float them in a nearby lake. Call them the Pinta, Nina, and Santa Maria. They may be nearly as good as the originals! Honor a great man trying to do great things.