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Columbus Day Controversies and Traditions

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Columbus Day comic.
Stylized Comic from the US Department of Defense

On October 8th America celebrated its national holiday Columbus Day. The holiday embarks on the historical day when Christopher Columbus and his crew landed in the Americas in 1492. It has unofficially been around for years, and finally became a real holiday in 1937. Ever since this day, the United States people celebrate a long line of traditions around it. This is problematic because these traditions are based on nothing but false history.

History of Columbus

We know that history is written by the winners. The same goes for this holiday. Columbus arrived at America and saw many indigenous people. This was because there were many settlers already living there when he arrived. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the first person here. In fact, many others have been inhabiting the new world for thousands of years.

The Controversy

Columbus Day has been a controversial holiday to say the least. It was disproved countless of times. With this much evidence of Columbus’ false history, we can for sure say that we aren’t celebrating Columbus for ‘discovering’ America. But even after historical facts, the holiday is still ongoing.

I’d like to point out that America, especially the United States is extremely patriotic, and in essence, Columbus Day represents Patriotism. To many people is the beginning of something more: the mass migration from the old world to the new world and the true birth of their lives in America.

Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day.
Native American Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day Instead of Columbus day.

The Change of American Culture

With this migration, the American culture drastically changed. We celebrate that day as the merge with the indigenous people as they come together to create the essence of America as it is seen today. In reality, this merge was a lot bloodier than represented, and many indigenous people suffered greatly for the years to come as their culture and tradition slowly deteriorated. But many people saw the merge as hope and created new traditions and customs on how to celebrate the holiday.

Columbus day marches in New York.
Typical parade photos from the New York March.

Today, we have many different traditions that honor this holiday. Many stores and even some schools close to celebrate, there are patriotic marches on the streets, and close family and church gatherings. The holiday itself ignores a lot of the reality of the history behind it. I believe that as long as it is around, it will have backlash. However, the newfound traditions around it are going to stick around for a while.

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4 comments

  1. I was surprised to see this article on the Culturs site, but felt that it definitely needed to be addressed as Columbus Day is still a debatable holiday. The author kept it simple and to the point while presenting basic information and background about the holiday. Subheadings throughout made it clear what each sections would be about and the main takeaways. I would have like to see primary sources and some hyperlinks showing what others think about the subject and how it is perceived by the globally mobile. A couple more large and dynamic visuals would have taken it up a notch too.

  2. This definitely needs to be addressed because Columbus Day is still a debatable holiday. I liked the history included about the holiday because it provided background. Some primary sources would be nice to really tie everything together. The subheadings made it easily readable and consumable, while also knowing what were the main points.

  3. I really appreciate that the author took the time to recognize indigenous people. People living in America tend to focus on Columbus Day as a patriotic holiday, when it ultimately celebrates native genocide. I agree with the previous comments that primary sources would add a lot to the article. I would love to hear a direct perspective on the topic.

  4. It has a really solid basis, but I feel like it could have used a bit more information. The controversy of the holiday is a huge factor around it. I like the points you touched on for the controversy, but I think it could use a bit more detail.

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