Leif Erikson Day
|Leif Erikson Day|
U.S. stamp issued on Leif Erikson Day, 1968
|Observed by||United States|
|Significance||Recognize contributions of Americans of Nordic descent|
Leif Erikson Day is an annual American observance which occurs on October 9. It honors Leif Ericson (Icelandic: Leifur Eiríksson, Old Norse: Leifr Eiríksson or the Norwegian: "Leiv Eiriksson"), the Norse explorer who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot in North America.
America Not Discovered by Columbus by Rasmus B. Anderson was published in 1874. This book helped popularize the now familiar idea that Vikings were the first Europeans in the New World. During his appearance at the Norse-American Centennial in 1925, President Calvin Coolidge gave recognition to Leif Erikson as the Discoverer of America due to research by Norwegian-American scholars such as Knut Gjerset and Ludvig Hektoen. In 1930, Wisconsin became the first U.S. state to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday, thanks in large part to efforts by Rasmus Anderson. A year later, the state of Minnesota followed suit. By 1956, Leif Erikson Day had been made an official observance in seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan). In 2012 the day was also made official in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1963, the U.S. Representative from Duluth, John Blatnik, introduced a bill to observe Leif Erikson Day nationwide. The following year Congress adopted this unanimously. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery. In addition to the federal observance, some states officially commemorate Leif Erikson Day, particularly in the Upper Midwest, where large numbers of people from the Nordic countries settled.
October 9 is not associated with any particular event in Leif Erikson's life. The date was chosen because the ship Restauration coming from Stavanger, Norway, arrived in New York Harbor on October 9, 1825, at the start of the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States.
- Leiv Erikson (Go Norway. 2007)
- Becoming American, Becoming Suburban: Norwegians in the 1920s (Knut Gjerset and Ludvig Hektoen. Norwegian-American Historical Association.Volume 33: Page 3)
- My Minneapolis (Carl Gustav Otto Hansen. Minneapolis,MN: 1956)
- Leif Erikson Day in United States (Time and Date AS 1995–2009)
- Leif Erikson in Humboldt Park (Norwegian National League)
Further reading 
- Anderson, Rasmus Bjorn (1874). America Not Discovered by Columbus: an historical sketch of the discovery of America by the Norsemen in the Tenth Century. Chicago: S.C. Griggs.
- Leif Erikson Day - October 9th
- Leif Ericson Viking Ship, Inc.
- Brief History of Leif Erikson's Life & Voyages