4. Opposition to Columbus Day dates back to the 19th century, when anti-immigrant groups in the United States rejected the holiday because of its association with Catholicism. In recent decades, Native Americans and other groups have protested the celebration of an event that indirectly resulted in the colonization of the Americas and the death of millions: European settlers brought a host of infectious diseases, including smallpox and influenza, that decimated indigenous populations; warfare between Native Americans and the colonists claimed many lives as well. The image of Christopher Columbus as an intrepid hero has also been called into question. Upon arriving in the Bahamas, the explorer and his men forced the native peoples they found there into slavery; later, while serving as the governor of Hispaniola, he allegedly imposed barbaric forms of punishment, including torture.
5. Officially, the people of the USA are invited to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of the country with church services and other activities. In some towns and cities, special church services, parades and large events are held. Most celebrations are concentrated around the Italian-American community. In New York, the Columbus Day Parade has been organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation since 1929. Over 35,000 people participate in the parade in New York City. The parade attracts nearly one million spectators and is the largest celebration of Italian-American culture in the world.