Columbus Day celebrations do not actually fall on the explorer’s birthday, the exact date of which is unknown (between 22nd August and 31st October, 1451). Rather, they take place on the anniversary of his arrival on American shores on 12th October, 1492. Though the widely-held belief that he was the first westerner to discover America is apocryphal, it was his expedition that forged the first lasting link between Europe and the ‘New World’, leading to the colonization of the latter. Recognition of this event varies widely from state to state, with some regions taking part in large parades while others do not celebrate at all.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, born on the 4th July, 1807, was an Italian soldier and patriot who dedicated his life to fighting tyranny and oppression. His military enterprises in Europe and South America earned him the sobriquet ‘the Hero of the Two Worlds’, though he is perhaps best known for his role in the unification of his native country. His birthday is celebrated particularly by Italian Americans in the U.S.