Columbus Day 2013 means that post offices are closed and that there is no mail delivery except for Express Mail. Since Columbus Day is the celebration of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492, and became a federal holiday in 1937, it is considered to be an official holiday, and the courts, other federal government offices, and libraries are closed, reported The Washington Post on Oct. 11, 2013.
Most schools are closed on Columbus Day. However, since many districts allow schools to move official holidays to another day, it is best to check with one’s school or district to find out whether students are expected to show up for classes or not.
Being an official holiday, trash pick-up and recycling pick-up is generally moved one day. Private trash pick-up companies might keep their schedule, so a quick check online is advised.
According to The Washington Post report, rush hour restrictions are lifted and parking is not enforced. In Maryland, parking is “not enforced in Prince George’s County except for New Carrolton Garage and parking lot, National - Virginia: Harbor and the Dept. of Corrections.”
In Virginia, “HOV restrictions will be lifted on I-66 and I-395. Meters not enforced in Arlington and the City of Alexandria.”
Transportation Services in and around the Maryland, Virginia area:
- Metrorail will run 5 a.m. to midnight on a Saturday schedule; parking is free at station lots.
- Metrobus will be on a Saturday supplemental. Metroaccess has regular service but subscription calls are cancelled.
- CUE, Ride On and The Bus have regular weekday service. DASH will run on a Saturday schedule.
- ART runs routes 41, 42, 51, 77 and 87 only on a Saturday schedule.
- Fairfax Connector runs on a holiday weekday schedule.
- PRTC Omiride runs on a modified holiday schedule.
- Loudoun Bus has reduced service.
- MARC and VRE are not running.
- MTA Communter Bus will run Route 201 only on a holiday weekend schedule.
Most transportation services in other states also run on a holiday schedule and many parking meters are not enforced.
Is Columbus Day disappearing?
While Columbus Day is being celebrated in some states with parades (check local traffic advisories), other states are slowly either renaming or canceling Columbus Day because of the controversy surrounding the origin of Columbus Day.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, “The tradition of honoring Christopher Columbus for sailing the ocean blue in 1492 is facing rougher seas than the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria."
Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota are the three U.S. states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all. South Dakota, which is home to many Native American tribes, calls it "Native American Day."
Similar to South Dakota, some tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day "Native American Day", or name the day after their own tribe.
In 22 states, employees do not get Columbus Day off, according to the Council of State Governments.
Columbus Day used to be a big deal in Columbus, Ohio, but “it has been 11 years since the city had an official parade for its namesake, in part because of the controversy swirling around Columbus.”
Philadelphia's annual Columbus Day parade was canceled in 2009.
Tennessee routinely celebrates Columbus Day the Friday after Thanksgiving to give people an extra-long weekend.
Brown University this year renamed the holiday "Fall Weekend" following a campaign by a Native American student group opposed to celebrating an explorer who helped enslave some of the people he "discovered."
Texas and California have removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers but have retained it as a legal holiday.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, the city of Berkeley, California’s birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, has replaced Columbus Day with “Indigenous People's Day” since 1992.
While many cities and states have made changes to the celebration of Columbus Day, defenders of the holiday are not prepared “to watch their hero's holiday sail off the edge of the earth. They say he should be celebrated for risking his life to explore the world and for forging modern ties between Europe and the Americas.”