Happy Columbus Day! Here's a bit of history as well as practical information for the 2012 holiday, which falls on Oct. 8.
Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus' arrival in the United States.
It became a state holiday in Colorado first, in 1906, and became a federal holiday in 1937. Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage. The first occasion was celebrated in New York City on October 12, 1866.
In recent decades there has been increasing controversy over whether Christopher Columbus should be celebrated as a hero due to his violence towards the Native American population.
In the United States, Hawaii and South Dakota do not celebrate Columbus Day. Instead, they celebrate Discoverers Day (which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii) and Native Americans Day, respectively.
California,Texas and Florida removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers, while still maintaining it either as a day of recognition or a legal holiday.
Columbus Day is also celebrated in Spain, Uruguay, the Bahamas and many South American countries.
Government offices, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, are closed. Courts and public schools are also closed. There is no mail delivery.