Columbus Day is a national holiday celebrated on the second Sunday of October. In addition to being celebrated in the United States, Puerto Rico, Italy and Spain also celebrate Columbus Day. The purpose of the day is to celebrate Christopher Columbus discovering America in 1492.
Christopher Columbus is responsible for the introduction of European culture into the Americas. When he discovered the Americas in 1492, he spread the word of a new land and thus began the migration of Europeans into the Americas. Italian-Americans, especially, are proud that an Italian discovered the new land.
The first person to bring sugarcane from the Canary Islands to the New World, Christopher Columbus is considered to be the grandfather of the rum trade; he's also said to be the guy who first brought sherry to this side of the Atlantic. Apparently, the more fortified kind was said to be a favorite of the earliest European explorers, and while Columbus was Italian, he was sailing on behalf of Spain. So, you know—sherry. Lots of sherry.