Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October each year. Learn more about Columbus Day, its festivities and history.

About Columbus Day

Columbus Day celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12th, 1492. It’s honored in the United States of America but also in some Latin American countries: Mexico, Peru, Belize, Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, and Italy.

Christopher Columbus (1451 –1506) was an Italian explorer. In 1492, he tried to get to Asia using a new western sea route. Instead of getting to Asia, he arrived in the Bahamas and became the first European to discover the Americas after the Vikings.

Columbus Day has been celebrated in the United States since the XVIIIth century, but only in 1937 has become a national holiday. While the American presidents have honored it with proclamations and festivities, others protested claiming that the discovery of the Americas led to slavery and destroying of the native population.

How is Columbus Day celebrated?

In some Latin Americans countries, Columbus Day is considered a day of honoring the indigenous resistance.

Today, Columbus Day is celebrated with parades, marches, religious services, and family gathering. Every state and city has its way of celebrating. The most notable events happen in San Francisco and New York where large communities of Italian -
Americans live.

When is Columbus Day celebrated?

Starting with 1971 Columbus Day is celebrated every year in the second Monday of October.

Is Columbus Day a federal holiday?

Columbus Day is one of ten federal holidays recognized nationwide by the United States Government. All non-essential federal government offices are closed on Columbus Day, and all federal employees are paid even if they receive the day off. Many private-sector employees will also receive paid time off or special holiday pay on Columbus Day.


Discover the complete list of US business holidays and federal holidays.