#203: You get Columbus Day off
This is not true for me, because George Washington University does not believe in Columbus Day (or maybe it doesn’t believe in days off), but it’s true for a lot of people. I also recently found out that people that follow the stock market don’t get the day off because stocks don’t believe in Columbus Day (or maybe they don’t believe in days off).
Columbus Day is really controversial. I’d never seen people argue so much about a day off. This would certainly never happen in Venezuela, where we celebrate everything, including a day for “First Step Towards Independence”, which is celebrated on April 19. People in the US, and certainly people in DC, don’t like Columbus Day because he brought all that smallpox and death to the “New” World. To get around the whole thing, there are no actual celebrations honoring Columbus and instead there’s just a ton of mattress sales.
Columbus Day is one of only 4 “new” federal holidays to be approved in the last 100 years, so it’s no small thing. It was added because the Knights of Columbus lobbied really hard for it. Really. So even though in name it’s a holiday to celebrate the guy that brought the ebola of 1492 to the Dominican Republic, in spirit it’s some kind of Roman Catholic/Italian-American holiday, and that’s kind of cool. I question why they picked this particular guy to honor instead of like maybe getting Saint Patrick’s day to be a federal holiday or something, but I think their original motives sound ok.
In Venezuela, the government replaced “Columbus Day” with “Day of Indigenous Resistance” which is a cool name but kind of misleading. Venezuela celebrates the holiday on October 12, no matter what. This is confusing because of October 12, 1492 Columbus didn’t come to (present day) Venezuela, so unclear whose resistance we are celebrating.
The choices I have are these then.
(A) I could celebrate October 12 as indigenous resistance day and not get any days off (at least not this year when 10/12 was a Sunday).
(B) I can celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday of October and take the day off to do whatever I want, like go mattress shopping, remind people how Columbus was yucky and germ-infested and that the day really celebrates the lobbing achievement of one civic-religious organization more than it really celebrates the Genovese explorer or anything else, really.
I pick (B). Or I would pick (B) is I could get the day off.
I think most people in DC picked secret option (C).
(C) Take the day off because you get the day off and don’t think about it.