- Photo via Ministry of Culture -
Published on Tuesday, October 12, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Every October 12, Costa Rica celebrates the Día de Las Culturas, the culture day in the English language, formerly known as the race day.
Today marks the commemoration of the discovery of the American Continent by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who discovered the Americas for the Spanish King in 1492.
King Ferdinand of Spain sponsored the expedition west in the hopes of sailing to India. In August of 1492, Columbus set off into the Atlantic with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Two months later he would set foot on the Bahamas and establish settlements on Hispaniola Island, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Upon his return to Spain, he spoke of gold in the New World and thus the Americas became targeted for European colonization.
This celebration is similar to Columbus Day in the United States and Canada or the Day of the Americas in several Latin American countries.
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In 2019, the Costa Rican Congress established Oct. 12, as the day of the cultures in memory of the construction and preservation of the national identity, including the cultural heritage of the indigenous, European, African and Asian as part of the composition of the Costa Rican idiosyncrasy.
In schools, activities are carried out, mostly virtual due to covid-19, to inspire and preserve patriotic values in students.
Historically, since the first Columbus Day celebration in 1892, opposition to the controversial day originated from anti-immigrant activists who sought to eliminate its celebration because of its association with immigrants from the Catholic countries of Ireland and Italy.
According to the Columbus-Era Documents study published by the Medieval and Renaissance Center of the University of California, in Los Angeles, USA, they explained how the treatment of the indigenous populations during the European colonization of the Americas, which followed Columbus's discovery, were the greatest waves of the genocide of the American Indians known in history.
The holiday on Oct. 12 was replaced by Dec. 1, declared the Army Abolition Day.