Alabama's weird holiday; Today is not just Columbus Day

Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Pixabay
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( — Alabama has never shied away from strange commemorations - after all, the state does have three Confederate-related days on its official holiday list. But Fraternal Day? Yes, it's a thing in Alabama.

The second Monday in October is commemorated in most places as Columbus Day, a time set aside to recognize Christopher Columbus and his journey to the new world. Controversy around the holiday has grown in recent years as more states and cities opt to replace the day honoring the Italian explorer with a time to honor Native American culture.

Alabama is one of those places, adding "American Indian Heritage Day" in 2000 alongside "Columbus Day" as the name of today's holiday. Alabama does that one better, however, including the lesser known "Fraternal Day" to the list.

Celebrated yearly alongside Columbus Day, Fraternal Day is a holiday unique to Alabama. It traces its roots to 1915 when it was celebrated in San Francisco though later efforts to make it a national holiday failed.

It didn't fail in Alabama, however.

In 1915, the Alabama Legislature jumped on the Fraternal Day bandwagon, with the focus of the holiday placed on traditional fraternal organizations, such as the Masons, but also on veterans' groups and other clubs. The holiday was originally set on the second Thursday of October but later moved to coincide with Columbus Day.

Alabama is the only state in the country to celebrate Fraternal Day.

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