Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson Day is an observance day that is observed on October 9th to honor the Norse explorer who is believed to be the first European to have set foot in North America. The date was chosen not because it coincides with any actual event on that date in the life of Leif Erickson, but because it was the date of the first start of the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States that took place during the early nineteenth century.


This observance day was first enacted in Wisconsin in 1930, partly due to the increased popularity in the belief that the Vikings were the first explorers to discover North America and not Christopher Columbus. This was followed the following year by Minnesota. By the end of the 1950s, seven U.S states had made observances recognizing this day. These states were Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California.

Customs, Traditions And Celebrations

The President of the United States often offers a brief statement about this observance day and the importance of discovery. He may also talk about the contributions of the Nordic people to modern American society. Public schools may also have their students do special Nordic inspired arts and crafs on this day.

Where is Leif Erikson Day celebrated?

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