Government agencies in Alabama closed on Monday due to several federal and state holidays that fall on the same day.

Columbus Day, American Indian Heritage Day, Indigenous People’s Day and Fraternal Day are all on Monday, causing confusion about what is being celebrated.

Christopher Columbus became the first early modern European to land in the New World when he arrived in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. However, Columbus Day, a federal holiday, is celebrated on the second Monday of October. 

Columbus Day has been celebrated since at least 1792, though early celebrations were unofficial. It became a federal holiday in 1937 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was originally celebrated on the anniversary of Columbus’s arrival, but Congress restructured the holiday in 1971 under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. 

Indigenous People’s Day began as a celebration in protest of Columbus’ treatment of Central American natives. It became a city holiday in Berkeley, Calif., on October 12, 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival. Over the next 30 years, several other cities adopted the holiday. Some states stopped celebrating Columbus Day altogether, and some celebrate holidays similar to Indigenous People’s Day instead.

President Joe Biden issued “A Proclamation on Indigenous People’s Day” in 2021. However, it is not yet a federal holiday.

Instead of Indigenous People’s Day, the State of Alabama officially recognizes American Indian Heritage Day. The state and federal government continue to recognize Columbus Day. 

Alabama adopted Fraternal Day in 1915 to celebrate clubs and fraternal organizations, such as the Free Masons, on the second Thursday of October. The state later moved the holiday to coincide with Columbus Day.

As a result of the federal holidays, all federal offices and Federal Reserve Banks are closed on Monday, and the U.S. Post Office will not deliver mail.  

Due to the state holiday, state offices and courts, and select municipal and county facilities, are closed. 

Some state agencies took to Twitter and Facebook on Monday to notify citizens and recognize one or more of the holidays. Few recognized Columbus Day or Fraternal Day, however. 

The Alabama Department of Labor, in sharing its offices would be closed, simply cited an unspecified “state holiday.” 

The Alabama Department of Public Health just stated its offices will be closed.

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