Leif Erikson Day - October 9th - U.S.
Leif Erikson day is a holiday in the United States commemorating the Norse explorer's landing on North American soil. In 1964, the United States congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through a yearly procamation. Leif Erikson day has been observed in the United States every year since the Johnson administration.
Click here to read the 2006 presidential proclamation.
Leif Erikson was the first European to set foot in the new world, doing so in 1001 A.D. He was the son of Erik the Red, the famous Icelandic viking. When Erik the Red was banished from Iceland, Leif sailed west with him, and became a first-class sailor. On this voyage, Erik disovered Greenland and there they lived for many years. Lief captained his first voyage at 24 and then met king Olaf of Norway, who introduced him to Christianity. It was after this that Leif Erikson returned to live in Greenland, became restless and explored the western seas, eventually discovering what is now Newfoundland. There, they built a settlement and stayed the winter, after which they returned to Greenland to stay.
A more complete description of Leif Erikson's life and voyages can be found at this website.