Columbus Day

Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October and remembers Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492. In Hawaii Columbus Day is also known as Landing Day or Discoverer’s Day. This holiday is controversial because the European settlement in the Americas led to the demise of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples; many states now celebrate Native Americans’ Day/Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day.

It has also been argued that Columbus should not be honored for discovering North America, as he only went as far as some islands in the Caribbean and never got as far as mainland America.

What’s open or closed?
Columbus day is a public holiday in many parts of the United states, but is not a day off in some states. Some government offices are closed because Columbus Day is still a federal government holiday. The day is a legal observance in states like Florida.

Many businesses and shops are open in states that don’t have Columbus Day as a public holiday. Schools are not required to close but check with your school district or school calendar on Columbus Day school holiday closures. The same goes for post offices – check with your local post office.

Consulate General Dubai and Embassy Abu Dhabi will be closed in observance of the U.S. Columbus Day Holiday.

In the event of an emergency, such as the death or arrest of an American citizen, the Consulate General and Embassy stand ready to assist 24 hours a day. You may contact the duty officers at +971-2-414-2200.

The U.S. Consulate General in Dubai is located on the 21st floor of the Dubai World Trade Center, P.O. Box 9343. Telephone: +971-4-311-6000, fax: +971-4-311-6213, email:, on the web: For after-hours emergencies in Dubai or the Northern Emirates, call +971-2-414-2200 and ask for the Dubai Duty Officer.

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi is located in the Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, P.O. Box 4009. Telephone: +971-2-414-2200, fax: +971-2-414-2241, email:, on the web: For after-hours emergencies in Abu Dhabi, call +971-2-414-2500 and ask for the Abu Dhabi Duty Officer.

About Columbus Day
Christopher Columbus is often portrayed as the first European to sail to the Americas. He is sometimes portrayed as the discoverer of the New World. However, this is controversial on many counts. There is evidence that the first Europeans to sail across the Atlantic were Viking explorers from Scandinavia. In addition, the land was already populated by indigenous peoples, who had ‘discovered’ the Americas thousands of years before.

Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco in 1869. The first state-wide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907. In 1937, Columbus Day become a holiday across the United States. Since 1971, it has been celebrated on the second Monday in October. The date on which Columbus arrived in the Americas is also celebrated as the Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Latin America and some Latino communities in the USA. However, it is a controversial holiday in some countries and has been re-named in others.
The Columbus Day celebrates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1942.

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