Thanks to the absurd Uniform Holidays Act of 1968, today is Columbus Day (the federal holiday). The real Columbus Day, of course, comes later this week on October 12, the actual 530th anniversary of the Spanish explorer’s first landing in what we now call the Americas. That was an event of monumental world-historical significance, with admittedly catastrophic consequences for many of the original populations of the Americas and an array of complex consequences for the rest of the world, which would not otherwise exist in its present form. There are, therefore, multiple significations to Columbus Day, all of which deserve to be studied, discussed, and debated – among them also its significance as a constitutive building block of an alternative to the prevalent WASP-centric account of the American founding.
In addition, for various historical, cultural, and religious reasons, Columbus Day has acquired a special significance for the celebration of Italian-American identity.
I have written previously about the abiding significance of Columbus Day for Italian-Americans and others at:
Photo: Statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle, New York City.