Columbus Day is a national holiday in many countries of the Americas and elsewhere which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492 (Julian Calendar; it would have been October 21, 1492 on the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar, which extends the Gregorian Calendar to dates prior to its adoption in 1582). Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer on behalf of Spain, who set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East only to land at the New World. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. Columbus and his crew’s arrival to the New World initiated the Columbian Exchange which introduced the transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, and technology between the New World and the Old World.
The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States but the name varies on the international spectrum. In some Latin American countries, October 12 is known as Día de la Raza or (Day of the Race). This is the case for Mexico, which inspired Jose Vasconcelos’s book celebrating the Day of the Iberoamerican Race. Some countries such as Spain refer the holiday as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional de España where it is also the religious festivity of la Virgen del Pilar. Since 2009, Peru has celebrated Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural (Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day) Belize and Uruguay celebrate it as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas). Giornata Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo is the formal name of Italy‘s celebration as well as in Little Italys around the world.
World Mental Health Day (10 October) is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. This day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide. In some countries this day is part of an awareness week, such as Mental Health Week in Australia.
World Mental Health Day was celebrated for the first time on October 10, 1992 at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. Up until 1994, the day had no specific theme other than general promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public.
In 1994 World Mental Health Day was celebrated with a theme for the first time at the suggestion of then Secretary General Eugene Brody. The theme was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World.”
World Mental Health Day is supported by WHO through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also supports with developing technical and communication material.
The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty is an alliance of NGOs, bar associations, local bodies and unions whose aim is to strengthen the international anti-death penalty movement. The World Coalition lobbies international organisations and States, organises international events and facilitates the creation and development of national and regional coalitions against the death penalty.
It was created in Rome on 13 May 2002 and has established 10 October as the date of the annual World Day Against the Death Penalty in 2003.
Ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics the World Coalition handed over a petition to Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong. The petition was signed by 256,000 people of 23 countries and called on Chinese President Hu Jintao to grant a moratorium on executions.