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Columbus Day
Celebrate on: Second Monday in October

This day commemorates Italian navigator Christopher Columbus' landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. Most nations of the Americas observe this holiday on October 12, but in the United States, annual observances take place on the second Monday in October. The major celebration of the day takes place in New York City, which holds a huge parade each year.

The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. Organized by The Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order, it commemorated the 300th anniversary of Columbus's landing.

A portrait of Christopher Columbus
1519 portrait by Sebastiano del Piombo of a man said to be Christopher Columbus (born about 1446, died 1506)
(Source: EDSITEment)

The 400th anniversary of the event, however, inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation urging Americans to mark the day. The public responded enthusiastically, organizing school programs, plays, and community festivities across the country. Columbus and the Discovery of America, Imre Kiralfy's "grand dramatic, operatic, and ballet spectacle," is among the more elaborate tributes created for this commemoration. The World's Columbian Exposition, by far the most ambitious event planned for the celebration, opened in Chicago the summer of 1893.

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Texts are prepared by the U.S. Consulate General Krakow, Poland and abridged from the U.S. Department of State IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.

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