Columbus Day and the Italian-American Heritage Month
October is a special month for all Italian Americans living in the US
October, Italian American Heritage Month
Traditionally October is "Italian American Heritage Month," a special month for all Italian Americans living in the US. During this month, America celebrates and recognizes the contributions and achievements of Italian immigrants and their descendants living in America. It is a beautiful celebration for millions of Americans of Italian descent. This moment is a wonderful opportunity to share the Italian traditions still alive and well in the United States. Did you know that this heritage month was first celebrated in 1989? It was proclaimed by President George H.W. Bush and the United States Congress.
As you might know, Columbus Day is the annual federal American holiday (it falls on the second Monday of October each year) commemorating the voyage and arrival of Cristoforo Colombo - the Italian-born explorer known in the US as Christopher Columbus - in the Americas and his discovery of America on October 12th, 1492. The truth is that Columbus arrived in San Salvador and never touched the US.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1937, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Today Columbus Day in the US is a celebration of Italian-American heritage, history, and culture. In many cities, you will find hundreds of parades and street festivals with "Tricolore" (green, white and red) costumes, music, and, of course, delicious Italian food. More than 200 Italian festivals are held around the country; the most spectacular is the magnificent parade in New York City.
The Italian Americans
From 1820 to 2004, about 5.5 million Italians immigrated to the United States. Some were called "uccelli di passaggio," literally "birds of passage" because they returned to their families in Italy. Nevertheless, many others stayed in the United States, forming their new families and creating the Italian-American community all around the nation. Today Italians are the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States: currently, over 26 million Americans of Italian descent live in the country.
Do you want to observe the Italian-American heritage month?
Do you love Italy and want to be part of the celebrations during the month dedicated to Italian heritage? Here are some ideas for you! First thing first: food! You could host an Italian special dinner celebration at home. Start with a nice "aperitivo," a pre-meal drink accompanied by light snacks. Ask your friends and family to come to your home bringing their favorite Italian dish. You can also prepare some "Tricolore" pasta, honoring the colors of our flag: green, white, and red. Try penne with mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Donatella Mulvoni