Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco in 1869. The first statewide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907 and by 1937, Columbus Day became a holiday across the United States. Columbus Day has been celebrated on the second Monday in October since 1971. The typical ways Columbus Day is celebrated in the USA is by attending various church services and other activities. In some towns and cities, parades and large events are held with the celebrations in cities like New York and San Francisco being the most noteworthy of events. In addition to being celebrated in the United States, Puerto Rico, Italy and Spain also celebrate Columbus Day.
Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage. Many Americans, especially Italian-Americans, celebrate Columbus Day with a barbecue. It is typically the last barbecue held in the year, depending upon the weather. Others cook a typical festive dinners in honor of the meal that Christopher Columbus must have eaten on the sail to the Americas. The meal can consist of fish, potatoes, beef, cheese and variety of other foods such as rice, dried fruits and legumes that are common seamen dishes. Tables will be brightly decorated in the traditional colors of Italy in honor of the Italian heritage with flowers and brightly colored tablecloths. If you have friends or family that takes part in Columbus Day as part of a tradition, send them some wonderfully bright flowers to adorn their dinner table.