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Pascua Florida Day: April 2 was designated by the 1953 legislature as State Day because Ponce de León first sighted Florida about that date in 1513. It usually falls on April 2. It is the anniversary of the discovery of Florida in 1513 by Juan Ponce de León, who searched for gold and the Fountain of Youth. He named the land "Pascua Florida" probably because the date was near Easter.
The designation by lawmakers was at the suggestion of Mary A. Harrell, a teacher of Social Studies in the John Gorrie Junior High School of Jacksonville.
Pascua Florida Day is designated as a state day. When it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the governor may declare either the preceding
Friday or following Monday as the state day. According to the Florida Senate Statutes, the Governor of Florida may annually issue a proclamation designating
April 2 as the state day and designating the week of March 27 to April 2 as "Pascua Florida Week" and calling upon public schools and citizens
of Florida to observe the same as a patriotic occasion.
No transport schedule changes have been announced by major bus companies, such as Greyhound Lines, and train lines, such as Amtrak. According to the Florida Department of Education, Pascua Florida Day is not a school holiday.
Florida was named for the day on which it was discovered by Spanish explorer Ponce de León, who called it La Florida in honor of Pascua Florida,
the Spanish Feast of the Flowers at Easter time. While there are no official records, historians believe that Ponce de León was born in 1460 in San
Tervas de Campos, Spain.
Ponce de León accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish Crown. He is also notable for his voyage to Florida, the first known European excursion there, as well as for being associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth which is said to be in Florida.
With two vessels, 200 men, 50 horses and other domestic animals, and farm implements, he sailed for Florida. Upon landing on the west coast, his party was fiercely attacked by Native Americans, and he was severely wounded by an arrow. The expedition sailed immediately for Cuba, where Ponce de León died.
The law designating April 2 as the official Florida state Pascua Florida Day is found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Title 39, Chapter 683, Section 06
Title XXXIX COMMERCIAL RELATIONS
Chapter 683 LEGAL HOLIDAYS; SPECIAL OBSERVANCES Entire Chapter
Pascua Florida Day.
683.06 Pascua Florida Day.-
(1) April 2 of each year is hereby designated as "Florida State Day."The day to be known as "Pascua Florida Day."
(2) The Governor may annually issue a proclamation designating April 2 as said State Day and designating the week of March 27 to April 2 as "Pascua Florida Week"and calling upon public schools and citizens of Florida to observe the same as a patriotic occasion.
History.- ss. 1, 2, ch. 28063, 1953; s. 2, ch. 77-423.