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Many Mexicans observe October 12 as Columbus Day, or Day of the Race (Día de la Raza) in remembrance of when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas.
Columbus Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Saturday, 12 October 2019 and most businesses follow regular Saturday opening hours in Mexico.
Columbus Day is viewed as a celebration of Hispanic heritage for Mexicans who celebrate it. However, it has also been a day chosen for protests, rallies and street marches in past years.
Columbus Day is an observance and not a statutory federal holiday in Mexico.
Columbus Day commemorates when Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) landed on an island in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. He was not the first person to discover the Americas but he established contact between Renaissance Europe and the indigenous peoples he encountered. With support from the Spanish monarchy, he completed four voyages that eventually instigated the Spanish colonization of the New World (eg. the Americas). Columbus Day has raised not just praise but also skepticism, as it serves as a reminder of conflicts that arose later between Spanish conquerors and indigenous peoples.
Pope Leo XIII rejected a proposal for Columbus’ sainthood. It is believed that the proposal was turned down because Columbus had an illegitimate son.
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