Watch: New York City erupts into celebration for Columbus Day Parade
- NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and NY Governor Kathy Hochul were present at the event
- Bands traveled up Fifth Avenue as spectators waved the Italian flag
- The first national Columbus Day was proclaimed in 1892 by President Harrison
The Columbus Day Parade set the mood on New York City streets on Monday after making a glittering comeback after being called off last year due to COVID-19.
Prominent politicians Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul were present at the parade in New York City. Both of them also shared pictures of the event.
Marching bands and floats traveled up Fifth Avenue as spectators waved green, white and red Italian flags. Organizers said 35,000 marchers took part in the parade and tens of thousands more watched.
Public schools in New York City are observing this October 11, 2021 as both Italian Heritage Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Governor Andrew Cuomo said removing Columbus Day would “insult or diminish the Italian American contribution” to the United States, the Denver Channel reported.
Billed as the nation's largest celebration of Italian American pride, the Columbus Day Parade has faced criticism in recent years from activists who cite 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus' brutal treatment of Indigenous people in the West Indies.
Some United States communities have responded to the controversy by replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
President Joe Biden on Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, which was observed Monday along with Columbus Day.
Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa, part of modern-day Italy. He sailed from Spain in August 1492 and landed on an island in the Bahamas on October 12 of that year.
Many of the Native people of the island were forced into servitude. Multitudes died of disease. Spain repopulated the workforce with African slaves.
The first national Columbus Day was proclaimed in 1892 by Republican President Benjamin Harrison to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' “discovery” of the Americas.
(With AP inputs)