Banks are almost always closed on this day, as are government offices. Schools are not usually closed on Columbus Day, it is also not recognized by most American employers as a day off from work.
The date of Columbus's arrival in the Americas is celebrated in Mexico (and in some Latino communities in the USA as the Dia de la Raza ("day of the race"), commemorating the first encounters of Europe and the Americas which would produce the new Mestizo race. Columbus day also falls near Spain's national holiday, October 12.
Some Native American activists within the United States find the holiday offensive because they object to honoring a person who they see as opening the door to European colonization and exploitation of native peoples. This has caused a persistent controversy between Native Americans and Italian-Americans. In response to this controversy, some communities, such as Berkeley, California have renamed the holiday to "Indigenous Peoples Day".
Some have argued that the responsibility of contemporary governments and their citizens for allegedly ongoing acts of genocide against Native Americans are masked by positive Columbus myths and celebrations. These critics argue that a particular understanding of the legacy of Columbus has been used to legitimize their actions, and it is this misuse of history that must be exposed. The claim made here is that certain myths about Columbus and celebrations of Columbus make it easier for people today to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions or the actions of their governments.