2014/2015  Federal Legal Holidays
* When a federal holiday falls on a Saturday, it is usually observed on the preceding Friday. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, it is usually observed on the following Monday.

2014 Holiday Schedule
Wednesday, January 1 New Year’s Day
Monday, January 20 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 17 * Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 26 Memorial Day
Friday, July 4 Independence Day
Monday, September 1 Labor Day
Monday, October 13 Columbus Day
Tuesday, November 11 Veterans Day
Thursday, November 27 Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, December 25 Christmas Day


2015 Holiday Schedule
Thursday, January 1 New Year’s Day
Monday, January 19 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 16* Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 25 Memorial Day
Friday, July 3** Independence Day
Monday, September 7 Labor Day
Monday, October 12 Columbus Day
Wednesday, November 11 Veterans Day
Thursday, November 26 Thanksgiving Day
Friday, December 25 Christmas Day

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a holiday celebrating the anniversary of the October 12, 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Similar holidays, celebrated as Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in many countries in Latin America, Día de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures) in Costa Rica, Discovery Day in the Bahamas, Día de la Hispanidad in Spain, and the newly-renamed (as of 2002) Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) in Venezuela, commemorate the same event.

Discovery of the Americas
Further information: Christopher Columbus, European colonization of the Americas
Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of the Americas in Columbus's famed expedition to the West, in which he hoped to find a naval route to India. Instead, he found an entire continent that was mostly unknown to Europe, Africa, and Asia at the time. While other Europeans had sporadically visited the Americas earlier, and there are varied theories of even earlier contact by East Asians, Phoenicians, and others, Columbus's expedition triggered the great wave of European interest in the New World. Unlike the earlier visitors, Columbus aggressively popularized his discoveries and arranged for return voyages. While controversy remains about many of the actions of the era, the colonization of the Americas is still seen largely as a good thing and thus worthy of celebrating.


United States observance
The first Columbus Day celebration was held in 1792, when New York City celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event in 1892.

Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866.[1] [2] Columbus Day was popularized as a holiday in the United States by a lawyer, a son of Genoese immigrants who came to California. During the 1850s, Genoese immigrants settled and built ranches along the Sierra Nevada foothills. As the gold ran out, these skilled "Cal-Italians", from the Apennines, were able to prosper as self-sufficient farmers in the Mediterranean climate of Northern California. San Francisco has the second oldest Columbus Day celebration, with Italians having commemorated it there since 1869.

This lawyer then moved to Colorado, which had a population of Genoese miners, and where, in 1907, the first state-wide celebration was held. In 1937, at the behest of the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic fraternal service organization named for the voyager), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set aside Columbus Day as a federal holiday.

Since 1971, the holiday has been commemorated in the U.S. on the second Monday in October, the same day as Thanksgiving in neighboring Canada. It is generally observed today by schools, some banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service, federal offices, and most state government offices; however, most businesses and stock exchanges remain open.


Día de la Raza
The date of Columbus' arrival in the Americas is celebrated in Latin America (and in some Latino communities in the USA) as the Día de la Raza ("day of the race"), commemorating the first encounters of Europe and Native Americans. The day was first celebrated in Argentina in 1917, Venezuela in 1921, Chile in 1923, and Mexico in 1928. The day was also celebrated under this title in Spain until 1957, when it was changed to the "Día de la Hispanidad" ("Hispanic Day").

In 2002, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela changed the name to "Día de la Resistencia Indígena" ("Day of Indigenous Resistance").


Opposition to Columbus Day
Opposition to the holiday cites the fact that Columbus and many of the conquistador followers treated the American Indians with great cruelty. Columbus directly brought about the demise of many Taino (Arawak) Indians on the island of Hispaniola, and the arrival of the Europeans indirectly slew many indigenous peoples by bringing diseases previously unknown in the New World. An estimated 85% of the Native American population was wiped out within 150 years of Columbus's arrival in America, due largely to diseases such as smallpox, which were both accidentally and deliberately spread among Native American populations. Additionally, war and the seizing of land and material wealth by European colonists also contributed to the decline of the indigenous populations in American.[3]

Columbus Day is not celebrated in the state of Minnesota. However, some city offices in Minneapolis were closed in 2006, as well as libraries across the Twin Cities.[4] In the state of South Dakota, the day is officially a state holiday known as "Native American Day", not Columbus Day.[5] Columbus Day is not a legal holiday in Nevada, but it is a day of observance. Schools and state, city and county government offices are open for business on Columbus Day.[6]

In the summer of 1990, 350 Native Americans, representatives from all over the hemisphere, met in Quito, Ecuador, at the first intercontinental gathering of indigenous people in the Americas, to mobilize against the quincentennial celebration of Columbus Day. The following summer, in Davis, California, over a hundred Native Americans gathered for a follow-up meeting to the Quito conference. They declared October 12th, 1992, International Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People.

The largest ecumenical body in the United States, the National Council of Churches, called on Christians to refrain from celebrating the Columbus quincentennial, saying, "What represented newness of freedom, hope, and opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for others."