Leif Erikson Day Facts

Leif Erikson Day Facts
Leif Erikson Day is celebrated on October 9th each year in honor of Leif Erikson who is believed to be the first explorer to set foot in North America. Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer, born just before 1000 A.D. (in approximately 960), and the second son of Erik the Red. It is believed that Leif Erikson went off course on a trip to Greenland or on a trip home from Greenland, and reached Nova Scotia instead. Leif Erikson named the land where they disembarked Vinland. Leif Erikson's landing on North American soil was approximately five centuries before Christopher Columbus' landing. Leif Erikson was busy spreading Christianity and never returned to Vinland after he left, but his brother Thorvald did.
Interesting Leif Erikson Day Facts:
It is believed that Vinland is located in Nova Scotia, but Viking ruins were found in 1963 in northern Newfoundland, leading some to believe that this was the site of Vinland, instead of Nova Scotia.
The Viking site in northern Newfoundland called L'Anse-aux-Meadows, found in 1963 is believed to be the oldest settlement in North America by Europeans. To date there have been more than 2000 Viking artifacts recovered on the site.
October 9th was chosen as the day to celebrate Leif Erikson Day because it is the day that the ship the 'Restauration' arrived from Norway in the United States in 1825. This marked the start of Scandinavian settlement in the United States. October 9th has nothing to do with Leif Erikson personally.
President Calvin Coolidge credited Leif Erikson with the discovery of America while at the Norse-American Centennial in 1925. Christopher Columbus had been credited with the discovery of America but scholars' research recognized Leif Erikson as the first to set foot on North American soil.
Leif Erikson Day became a state holiday in Wisconsin in 1930, Minnesota in 1931, and by 1956 it was a state holiday in 5 more states including South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California. It was also recognized in Saskatchewan, Canada.
In 1964 Leif Erikson Day was officially adopted by Congress.
Leif Erikson Day is celebrated with a presidential proclamation in the United States.
Leif Erikson Day is considered to be an observance day as opposed to a federal holiday.
Some people celebrate Leif Erikson Day by embarking on a new adventure such as surfing, mountain climbing, or by buying lottery tickets in honor of 'Leif the Lucky'.
Some celebrate Leif Erikson Day by enjoying Norwegian food such as seafood, rice pudding, or Norwegian cheese.
Because Leif Erikson was on a voyage to spread Christianity when he discovered North America, some people choose to renew their religious faith on Leif Erikson Day.
Some people still believe that Christopher Columbus discovered North America but scholars have found evidence to prove that Leif Erikson was the first.
There is an episode on the cartoon 'Spongebob Squarepants' that honors Leif Erikson as the discoverer of North America.
Some people celebrate Leif Erikson Day with ceremonies and activities that promote Nordic-American heritage and the contribution of the Nordics to America's history.

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