October 10, 2022- Canadian Thanksgiving and Indigenous People’s Day/Columbus Day (U.S.) have shared calendar space for many years now. Canadian Thanksgiving has been observed since 1879, and in a statutory manner since 1957. Columbus Day was first observed on the tricentenary of Christopher Columbus’s landing on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, in October, 1792, in New York. The fact that he never set foot in the mainland U.S. was seen as superfluous. It became a national holiday, for one year, after the lynching of eleven Italian immigrants in New Orleans, on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the landing, in 1892. A yearly proclamation, commemorating the landing started on October 12, 1934, and continued observance as a Federal holiday, from October, 1968, after lobbying by the Knights of Columbus and other Italian-American groups. In October, 2021, the holiday began to officially share Federal recognition with Indigenous People’s Day-a Presidential acknowledgement of both the contributions of Italian-Americans and First Nations peoples, as well as of the sufferings endured by the latter.
Each time these holidays occur on October 10, they share the date with the National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This was the National Day on mainland China, under Kuomintang rule, from 1911-1945. The People’s Republic acknowledges the date as the anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, which ended Qing rule, but not as a public holiday. I had the pleasure of being in Taiwan, on the occasion of Double Tenth, in 1988. It is as festive and patriotic an occasion as Independence Day, in the U.S.
All this makes October 10, also auspicious this year for occurring in a time of full moon, possessive of particularly vibrant human energy. I noted that, while helping serve a Columbus Day lasagna and salad dinner, under a tent canopy, to the homeless men and women who are regulars on Monday nights. People seemed a lot more relaxed and congenial than they sometimes are.