Sandusky, Ohio Is the Latest City to Announce It Will Stop Observing Columbus Day

bdsklo/iStock.com
bdsklo/iStock.com

Italian explorer and colonist Christopher Columbus is losing popularity in America. Sandusky, Ohio, is the latest city to announce it will no longer observe Columbus Day as a holiday, according to The Hill. Instead, municipal workers in the city will get to take off Election Day in November.

The city’s decision merges two of the top ongoing debates about national holidays: Many people have pushed for Election Day to be made a federal holiday to ensure that all Americans have the chance to get to the polls and vote. At the same time, many cities have stopped celebrating Columbus Day, citing Columbus's abuse of indigenous peoples.

“We are swapping [the holidays] to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote,” city manager Eric Wobser told the Sandusky Register. “It’s also because Columbus Day has become controversial, and many cities have eliminated it as a holiday.”

In lieu of Columbus Day, which is held the second Monday of October, some cities have opted for alternative ceremonies instead. Seattle recognizes Indigenous Peoples Week; Los Angeles has a Life Before Columbus Festival; and Crazy Horse, South Dakota, hosts a Native American Day.

As for Election Day, some politicians and civil rights groups say the day should be made a federal holiday as a way of addressing America’s low voter turnout. The U.S. wouldn’t be the first country to do so, either. Residents of France, Mexico, Israel, and South Korea already get the day off to vote, and dozens of other countries hold their elections on the weekend.

According to USA Today, voter turnout peaked in the 19th century, from the 1840s to the 1890s. At that time, Americans were granted a day off from work, and celebrations and public gatherings were frequently arranged. "Even children too young to vote were involved in these festivities, which got them in the practice of civic participation and instilled a sense that it was important and fun,” Holly Jackson, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, told the paper.

However, as Slate points out, the issue of voter turnout is a little complicated, and it's hard to predict whether a national holiday would actually help drive people to the polls.

[h/t The Hill]

Presidents Day vs. President's Day vs. Presidents' Day: Which One Is It?

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iStock

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" implies that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

California Retirement Home Put Residents' Vintage Wedding Dresses on Display

iStock.com/raksybH
iStock.com/raksybH

You know you’ve reached a certain level of maturity when many of your once-modern day belongings can be described as vintage. It’s a term the residents of the Stoneridge Creek retirement community are taking in stride this month, because some of their (yes, vintage) wedding dresses are now on display.

The Pleasanton, California retirement home has created an elaborate presentation of more than 20 dresses with various laces, styles, and lengths, some of which date back to 1907, along with wedding photos and other memorabilia to commemorate Valentine’s Day. The public is invited, but if you’re not local, you can catch a glimpse of the dresses in the video below.

This isn’t the first time Stoneridge Creek has made news. In 2015, a number of residents came together to craft quilts for residents who had served in the military. The group worked in secret to make the customized quilts honoring their service, then surprised them with the gifts on Veterans Day.

[h/t ABC7]

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