The second Monday in October is selected in the United States as Columbus Day. This day commemorates Christopher Columbus' first voyage and sighting of the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, Columbus Day as a national holiday was not officially recognized until 1937.
Italian-Americans were key in the formation of Columbus Day. Beginning on October 12, 1866, New York City's Italian population organized a festivity of the 'discovery' of America. This yearly celebration spread to other cities and became known as Columbus Day in San Francisco in 1869.
Since Columbus Day is a designated national holiday, the post office, government offices, and many banks are closed. Many cities across America stage parades that day. Baltimore claims to have the Oldest Continuous Marching Parade in America celebrating Columbus Day. Denver is holding its 101st parade in 2008. New York City holds a Columbus Celebration that includes a parade down Fifth Avenue and a mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
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