Columbus Day, observed on October 9th, has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1937. However, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to rename the holiday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to acknowledge the historical impact of European colonization on Native Americans.
In this blog post, we will explore the origins of Columbus Day and the reasons behind the movement to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Additionally, we will provide a comprehensive guide on what is open and closed on this holiday.
1. The Origins of Columbus Day
Columbus Day traditionally commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in North America on October 12, 1492. The holiday was first celebrated in the United States in the late 18th century by Italian-Americans to honor their heritage. It became a federal holiday in 1937, primarily due to lobbying efforts by Italian-American organizations.
2. The Controversy Surrounding Columbus Day
In recent years, there has been a significant shift in public perception regarding Columbus Day. Critics argue that celebrating Columbus perpetuates a Eurocentric narrative that ignores the devastating consequences of European colonization on indigenous populations. They point out that Columbus’s arrival marked the beginning of a period of genocide, forced labor, and cultural destruction for Native Americans.
3. The Rise of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
To counter the celebration of Columbus Day, many states and cities have adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative holiday. Indigenous Peoples’ Day seeks to acknowledge and honor the cultures and contributions of Native American communities. It also serves as an opportunity to educate the public about the history and ongoing struggles faced by indigenous peoples.
4. Stock Market Operations on Columbus Day
For investors and traders, it’s essential to know whether the stock market will be open or closed on Columbus Day. Fortunately, U.S. stock markets, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ, remain open on this holiday. However, it’s worth noting that bond markets are closed on Columbus Day.
5. Banking Services on Columbus Day
Most banks follow the Federal Reserve’s holiday schedule, which means they will be closed on Columbus Day. It is advisable to check with your local bank branch to confirm their operating hours. While physical bank branches may be closed, online banking services and ATMs are typically available for customers’ convenience.
6. United States Postal Service (USPS) Operations
On Columbus Day, post offices across the country will be closed, and there will be no regular mail deliveries or packages. However, certain USPS services may still be accessible online, such as ordering stamps, boxes, and scheduling package pickups through a USPS.com account.
7. Shipping Services: UPS and FedEx
Unlike the USPS, UPS and FedEx operate as usual on Columbus Day. FedEx Office and UPS Store locations will be open, though specific shipping services may have modified operations. It’s advisable to check with these carriers for any service updates or potential delays.
8. School Closures
School closures vary by state and school district. While some states like New York and Massachusetts observe Columbus Day as a school holiday, others like Florida keep schools open. Additionally, private institutions may have different holiday observances compared to public schools. To determine if schools are open or closed on Columbus Day, it is best to contact your local school administration office.
9. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Operations
The operation of state DMV offices on Columbus Day varies by state. For example, New York’s DMV offices will be closed, while Florida’s DMV offices will remain open. To ensure you have accurate information regarding your local DMV’s operating status, it is recommended to check with your state’s DMV website or contact your local DMV office.
10. Store and Restaurant Operations
Most retail stores, chain stores, and grocery stores are typically open as usual on Columbus Day. However, it’s worth noting that some companies may choose to observe certain federal holidays as company holidays. It is advisable to confirm with your local stores and restaurants if they will be open on Columbus Day.
Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day present an opportunity for reflection and understanding of the historical impact of European colonization on Native American communities. While the debate surrounding the renaming of Columbus Day continues, it is essential to be aware of what is open and closed on this holiday. By understanding which services and institutions operate on Columbus Day, individuals can plan their activities accordingly while also taking into account the significance of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day alongside or instead of Columbus Day.