Monday marks the annual Columbus Day holiday in the U.S., which, for many people, means a long weekend in honor of the man credited with discovering the new world in 1492. But others are expected to go through their regular week day routine that likely consists of waking up early and reporting to work or attending school regardless of what history books say Christopher Columbus did centuries ago.
Why the day off for some and not for others? Isn't Columbus Day a federal holiday?
The answers to the above questions vary per state.
Less than half of the states and territories in the union offer Columbus Day as a paid holiday, according to the Pew Research Center. The first state to ever observe the Columbus Day was Colorado, beginning almost a century ago, before other states caught on due in large part to the celebration of Italian heritage. The most recent state to get in on the holiday was South Dakota, in 1990.
But for the most part, just six days annually are generally offered as paid holidays that allow workers to take the day off, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Those holidays are: Christmas, Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving.
As far as schools go, their holiday policies and practices are for the most part dictated by local school districts' leadership. For instance, in Philadelphia, Columbus Day is no longer a holiday for public schools there, CBS Philadelphia reported.
"We wanted to end the interrupted weeks," Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William Hite said recently. "And Columbus Day was one of those days that we identified that we could have children in school, very similar to many of our suburban counterparts."
In general, though, most schools are closed along with local banks, federal and municipal offices. This is true in Tennessee, too, although the holiday fails to fall on the second Monday of October like elsewhere in the country. Instead, the Volunteer State observes Columbus Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving "at the governor's discretion," according to City Lab.