Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. Since 1971, the United States recognizes this federal holiday the second Monday in October.
Although his explorations were financed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Columbus was a native of Genoa, Italy, and over the years Italian Americans took up the cause of honoring his achievement.
The 300th anniversary of his landing was celebrated in New York City in 1792 by the Society of St. Tammany, or Columbian Order, and in 1892, the 400th anniversary, by presidential proclamation nationwide.
During the latter half of the 19th century, the day began to be celebrated in cities with large numbers of Italian Americans, and in 1937, became a national holiday by presidential proclamation. The day came to be marked by parades, often including floats depicting Columbus's ships --- the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria --- and by public ceremonies and festivities.