Columbus Day in Colombia - Dates, origin and meaning

14 Oct 2024

Date 2024

Monday, 14 of October

Date 2025

Monday, 13 of October

Official: Columbus Day
Spanish: Día de la raza Día de la Hispanidad
Representation of Christopher Columbus expedition Representation of Christopher Columbus expedition (Prado Museum)

Columbus day, or "Day of the Race", is a public holiday in Colombia, observed on the first Monday counted from October 12. This day has been commemorated since 1915 as a symbol of the meeting between two worlds: Europe and America.

What is celebrated on October 12?

October 12 is remembered because that day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas and began one of the most important human events in history: the discovery of America as a new territory never before explored.

This meant the discovery of new cultures and natural resources, and gave rise to the period of conquest and colonization of the “new world”. Each of the indigenous peoples experienced different experiences before the arrival of the conquerors. For this reason, not all Hispanic towns celebrate in the same way.

On the one hand, there are those who insist on remembering the methods used by the first conquerors, especially the Spanish, who did not respect the rights of American cultures and rather imposed their own social, political, and religious structure.

There are also those who affirm that the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus meant a cultural exchange between the peoples who inhabited the new continent and Europe. Over the years it expanded into a new culture and race.

Columbus Day provides an opportunity to reflect on issues of inclusion and exclusion, the rights of ethnic groups, diversity within the human species, and government efforts to protect minority groups.

On this date, critiques and perspectives from academics, politicians, and indigenous leaders regarding the discovery and colonization of the Americas are also brought to the forefront.

Countries that celebrate Columbus Day

Columbus Day is celebrated in more than 20 countries, although some use other names such as Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous Resistance Day, Hispanic Day. In Colombia is mostly know as Day of the Race.

Some of the countries that celebrate this day are:

Argentina, Panama, Cuba, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Bahamas, Bolivia, El Salvador, United States, Peru, Honduras, Spain, Ecuador, Belize, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico.

What to do on Columbus Day in Colombia?

Interesting fact

Columbus Day was the first national holiday to be celebrated, first observed in Santafé de Bogotá on April 29, 1813. A ceremonial arrayán tree was planted in the square as a symbol of human rights and independence. Subsequently, other cities began to commemorate this event as well.

Other public holidays