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Christopher Columbus's ships

Exploring Christopher Columbus

Autumn has officially arrived, and a variety of leaves are now beginning to display impressive shades of orange, yellow, and red.  And, as we marvel at the shifting of the seasons, we realize Columbus Day Weekend will soon be greeting us, as well.

Naturally, Columbus Day commemorates Christopher Columbus, a courageous Italian explorer who voyaged across the Atlantic into unforeseen waters.  The daring traveler believed he had landed in Asia but instead stumbled upon what later would become known as the New World.

Despite Columbus’ enviable, seafaring ways, some individuals point out his expeditions resulted in misery for many indigenous people. While this piece of history should not be forgotten, it would be remiss if we did not take in to account that his pursuits positively impacted history, too.

With both thoughts in mind, let’s look at a few lighter particulars surrounding the explorer’s travels.

  • Columbus sailed on the Santa Maria.  As we know, the Nina and the Pinta were also en route.  All three ships were trading vessels.
  • The Santa Maria was considered a nao, a slower type of cargo vessel.  The Nina and Pinta were caravels; they were a bit faster and easily maneuverable.
  • Santa Maria means Saint Mary in Spanish.
  • In 1492 (on Christmas Eve), the Santa Maria hit a reef and shipwrecked in Hispaniola, the-now Dominican Republic/Haiti.
  • The smallest ship was the Nina: Nina means girl in Spanish.  Nina was the ship’s nickname; its real name was Santa Clara.
  • The Pinta (i.e., the paintedor spotted one) was the fastest vessel of the three.  Pinta was its nickname; the full name of the craft is uncertain.

So, with all this talk about voyages, is there a Columbus Day activity occurring nearby?

Definitely, in fact, call the grandchildren, as the 22nd Worcester Columbus Day Parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 9, at Noon.

The procession, equipped with floats, marching bands, music, etc., begins at the corner of Aitchison Street and proceeds down Shrewsbury Street.  The revelry concludes at Washington Square (near Union Square).  Robert Pezzella, the 2016 Grand Marshal, will be leading the parade with his family and friends.  Pezzella grew up right off Shrewsbury Street.

Indeed, the Columbus Day Parade is a terrific time to honor Italian traditions, as well as other wonderful heritages.  As paraphrased from the organization’s website, the Worcester Columbus Day Parade Committee’s objective is to welcome a variety of community groups that demonstrate family-oriented goals.  To learn more about the spirited festivities, go to columbusdayparade.homestead.com.

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