This holiday is celebrated throughout the entire western hemisphere to commemorate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas. The day goes by several names including Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race), Columbus Day, Dia de la Hispanidad (Day of Hispanic Heritage) and Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Indigenous Resistance Day).
History of Dia de la Raza
On August 3rd, 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain in search of the East. He unknowingly landed in the Americas on October 12th of the same year. From that day forth, the Spanish colonized most parts of what today is Latin America and blended their culture with that of the native indigenous tribes.
The Different Meanings of October 12th
There are many different ideas of what October 12th should celebrate. To some, it is honor Christopher Columbus and his crew for linking the East and West together, an important moment in world history. However, many believe that Columbus does not deserve a holiday, for the Spanish committed mass atrocities in the Americas after he arrived. Many call October 12th the Day of the Race or Day of Hispanic Heritage to remind modern latinos of their similar cultures and spanish ancestors. The word ‘race’ bothers some, however, as it can insinuate division instead of unity.
How the Maya Recognize October 12th
The indigenous Maya within Guatemala call this date Día de la Resistencia Indígena, or Indigenous Resistance Day. They believe that neither Columbus nor the Spaniards should be hailed for heroes for the discovery. The Maya use the day to remind themselves of the horrors that they were subjected to under Spanish rule and to denounce the racism that they still often receive.