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columbus day

Of many celebrations that still mark the discovery of America, the biggest ones for consumers are the annual Columbus Day sales by major retailers coast to coast offering early fall bargains on furniture and winter apparel.

And, of course, there are the parades! The one in NYC is by far the largest, grandest and most popular, welcoming over 1 million spectators annually. This year, the annual Columbus Day Parade in NYC takes place on Monday, October 8, 2012 beginning at 11:45 AM – as huge lunchtime crowds come out to cheer along the parade route up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street north to 79th Street.

The vibrant glory of Italian American culture and heritage will take center stage on Fifth Avenue on Monday, October 8 celebrating Columbus Day with the 68th Annual Columbus Day Parade.

The parade will feature 35,000 marchers and over 100 contingents, including virtuoso performances of traditional and contemporary Italian and Italian-American music and dance, street performers, historical and contemporary floats, over a dozen marching bands, and national and international dignitaries.

The parade turns Fifth Avenue into a reverberating canyon of music, dance, and theatrical displays set amid a sea of red, white, and green – the colors of the Italian tri-color flag.

The Grand Marshal will be Mario Gabelli, philanthropist, namesake of the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business and founder, chairman and chief executive officer of GAMCO Investors.

Appearing on the Red Carpet in performances broadcast by WABC-TV will be Elise Testone, Season 11 American Idol contestant, members of the U.S. Marine Corps Band, tenor Christopher Temporelli, and cast members of Seti Mundo (The Seven Worlds).

Meanwhile, another big celebration happens on the West Coast as Columbus Day is observed during San Francisco Fleet Week – when the city’s Italian American population joins in to salute the US Navy while commemorating the famous Italian who brought his three famous ships to America in 1492.

What’s closed on Columbus Day?

Despite it being a normal workday for many Americans, Columbus Day is an official federal government holiday with the post office and banks closing in honor of the day (although Wall Street stock markets still stay open as usual.)

On Columbus Day, American Indians are also given equal time in many areas where Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated, usually with colorful native festivals and pow-wows to which the public are warmly welcomed.

Columbus Day Parade in New York

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Columbus Day, which is annually on the second Monday of October, remembers Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492.

In 2012, Columbus Day is celebrated on October 8th.

This holiday is controversial because the European settlement in the Americas led to the demise of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples.

What do people do?

Officially, the people of the USA are invited to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of their country with church services and other activities. In some towns and cities, special church services, parades and large events are held. Most celebrations are concentrated around the Italian-American community. The celebrations in New York and San Francisco are particularly noteworthy. In Hawaii Columbus Day is also known as Landing Day or Discoverer’s Day.

Not all parts of the United States celebrate Columbus Day. It is not a public holiday in California, Nevada and Hawaii. Moreover, Native Americans’ Day is celebrated in South Dakota, while Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated in Berkeley, California.

Public life

Columbus Day is a public holiday in many parts of the United States, but is not observed or is not a holiday in some states. Government offices and schools are generally closed, but businesses may be open. The flag of the United States is displayed on Government buildings.


Christopher Columbus is often portrayed as the first European to sail to the Americas. He is sometimes portrayed as the discoverer of the New World. However, this is controversial on many counts. There is evidence that the first Europeans to sail across the Atlantic were Viking explorers from Scandinavia. In addition, the land was already populated by indigenous peoples, who had “discovered” the Americas thousands of years before.

Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco in 1869. The first state-wide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907. In 1937, Columbus Day become a holiday across the United States. Since 1971, it has been celebrated on the second Monday in October. The date on which Columbus arrived in the Americas is also celebrated as the Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Latin America and some Latino communities in the USA. However, it is a controversial holiday in some countries and has been re-named in others.

Columbus Day celebrations are controversial because the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of a very large proportion of the native people. It has been argued that this was a direct result of Columbus’ actions. It is clear that the arrival of the European settlers led to the demise of a large proportion of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It has also been argued that Columbus should not be honored for discovering North America, as he only went as far as some islands in the Caribbean and never got as far as mainland America.