Next Tuesday is Columbus Day, a nationally-observed holiday which has come to be known in many United States Latino communities as “Dia de La Raza,” or in Spain, as “Dia de la Hispanidad.”
In grade school, we learned how, in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and “discovered America.” Of course, at the back of inquiring minds was the question, “But weren’t the ‘Indians’ already here?” And just south of the border, weren’t there indigenous cultures already living in Mexico? The “Dia de La Raza” celebration is a counter to Columbus Day and commemorates the first encounters with Europeans and Native Americans.
So what does Columbus Day mean today? A celebration of Columbus landing in the New World? This “discovery” symbolizes a merging of old and new worlds and a merging of cultures which have made defining the term “American” challenging.
Columbus brought rich history with him as he sailed with three ships, the Pinta, the Ni