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Is Columbus Day Sailing Off the Calendar?

Arrivederci, Columbus Day.

The tradition of honoring Christopher Columbus for sailing the ocean blue in 1492 is facing rougher seas than the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria.

Philadelphia's annual Columbus Day parade was canceled. Brown University this year renamed the holiday "Fall Weekend" following a campaign by a Native American student group opposed to celebrating an explorer who helped enslave some of the people he "discovered."

And while the Italian adventurer is generally thought to have arrived in the New World on Oct. 12, 517 years ago on Monday, his holiday is getting bounced all over the calendar. Tennessee routinely celebrates it the Friday after Thanksgiving to give people an extra-long weekend.

"You can celebrate the hell out of it if you get it the day after Thanksgiving — it gives you four days off," says former Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter.

In California, Columbus Day is one of two unpaid holidays getting blown away by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a budget-cut proposal. In Washington, D.C., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid canceled this year's weeklong Columbus Day recess so the senators can buckle down on health care. (They still get Monday off, though.)

Another obstacle: Columbus Day hasn't transcended its original purpose, as some other holidays have. Sure, Columbus Day celebrates one of the world's great explorers. But Memorial Day and Labor Day also do double duty as summer's official bookends, whereas Columbus Day is stuck in mid-October, halfway between summertime and Christmas. And many Americans apparently prefer more days off around Christmas.

So some employers have turned to "holiday swapping." In Calimesa, Calif., the city council recently voted to swap two holidays — Columbus Day, and a day honoring labor organizer Cesar Chavez — for one floating holiday and day off on New Year's Eve.

Click here to read more on this story from the Wall Street Journal.