Columbus Day Trivia

William O. Lockridge/Bellevue LibraryPetworth Library

Columbus Day Trivia

"In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue"

Columbus Day

If you recall nothing else about Columbus Day from your school days, you probably at least remember the beginning of this infamous poem that briefly describes the explorer's search for the New World. You may also be familiar with the holiday, which falls on the second Monday of October, simply because it's an extra day off from work.

This extra day off from work, however, is much more than that. It was created in 1937 as a celebration intended to honor the discovery of America.

Interestingly, this holiday has several names and meanings in different parts of the U.S and Canada. For example, in Hawaii, it's called "Discoverer's Day" and honors both Christopher Columbus and Captain James Cook. Berkeley Californians celebrate "Indigenous Day" while South Dakotans hold "Native American Day." In general, Columbus Day has become an important day of celebration for Italian Americans to embrace their heritage. Outside of the U.S, this holiday also holds special significance for Canadians who celebrate Thanksgiving on this day.

Columbus Day Poem
ColumbusIn fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;Waiting for Columbus
Some men worked while others snored.

Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!

"Indians! Indians!" Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But "India" the land was not;Last Voyage of Columbus
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.

Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he'd been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.