Today is Columbus Day in America, a day to celebrate (or protest) the anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. Though popular folklore taught many of us American kids that Columbus landed in the United States, in actuality he landed on Hispaniola, which is the island that houses today’s Haiti and Dominican Republic.
I always wondered why he didn’t have Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims… of course, other than a geographic divide there’s also the fact that Columbus set out 130 years before the Pilgrims. But these details can go over the head of a first grader.
Columbus was trying to reach India by sailing East from Spain and though he’d landed in the East Indies, which is why the indigenous population came to be knows as “Indians” in the Western world.
If you’re in Latin America you’re celebrating Dia de la Raza today, which marks the first encounter between Europeans (the Italian Columbus and his crew) and celebrates the origins of the mestizo race. Unless you live in Brazil (which has no celebration today) or Venezuela, which celebrates Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) today.
Though the stock market is open today, if you work for a bank you’re celebrating a day off. And given the calamitous state of our economy lately, it’s likely that all the bankers out there looked forward to this year’s day off much more than in past years.
So Happy Columbus Day/Dia de la Raza/Dia de la Resistencia Indigena/Dia de Descanso de Bancos.