5 Better Ways to Celebrate Columbus Day
Today is Columbus Day. White people across the country are taking the day off and firing up the grill in celebration of the man who in 1492 sailed the ocean blue to “discover” the New World. However, the actual history behind Christopher Columbus invading America and destroying huge chunks of Native culture has a tendency to be ignored.
A few cities have opted to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in order to pay homage to Native American history and culture, but the majority of the country still celebrates a neatly whitewashed version of Columbus’s legacy.
If you were to accurately celebrate Columbus Day, you could
- Show up to a stranger’s home, tell them it’s yours now and that you own them.
- While you’re in this stranger’s home, demand all of their money.
- Infect yourself and as many other people as you can find with a new disease that their immune systems can’t combat.
- Kill anywhere from 3 to 5 million people.
But to be honest, none of those really sound like that much fun. We consulted Wikipedia, and we found a whole bunch of better reasons to take off work on October 12th.
1. Celebrate Wolverine’s birthday
What better way to spend your holiday than by looking at pictures of Hugh Jackman’s chiseled bod on the internet all day? You can make a birthday cake with the Australian demigod’s face on it and leave it on his doorstep. Or, find his number, and leave him a voicemail of you singing a weepy rendition of “Happy Birthday” into the phone. The song is public domain now, so you might as well.
2. Have a Harry Potter movie marathon
If we must still have a “Columbus Day,” let it not be in celebration of Christopher Columbus the exploitive, genocidal maniac of the fifteenth century. Let us instead celebrate the life and works of Chris Columbus, director of some of our favorite feel-good films. Not that we even needed another reason to re-watch Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, or the first two Harry Potter movies.
3. Get super drunk
October 12th, 1810 marked the day of the very first Oktoberfest in Munich. The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to the Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The scenic fields of Theresienwiese in front of the city gates were flooded with laughter, beer, and the joyous spirit of the people. Continue this wholesome tradition by treating yourself to a Heineken (or six) and a big ol’ pretzel.
4. Practice witchcraft
On this day in 1692, the Salem Witch Trials were officially put to an end. (You can thank the governor of Massachusetts, William Phips, for this decree.) You know what that means, witches! Bust out your spell book and fire up the cauldron. Invite your friends over for a seance, mix some magic potion jello shots, and get weird with a Ouija board. No one can stop you now!
5. Celebrate cultural diversity and open-mindedness
Instead of commemorating Columbus’s conquest of the Americas, a few countries use the second Monday of October to promote the acceptance of different cultural identities. Costa Rica celebrates “Day of the Cultures,” and Argentina celebrates “Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity.” Today is also National Coming Out Day in the United Kingdom and Freethought Day in the US.
This is not to say that we should just forget about Christopher Columbus altogether — he did still explore shit, and it’s important that we remember the atrocities committed by people like him and recognize them for what they are. And feel free to celebrate this holiday however you want! Just know that if you are racist, you will be yelled at.
Images via Huffington Post, IMDb, and Demotix