In today’s culture, the focus is less on organized labor, and more of a mark to summer’s end and school’s beginning.
by, Becky j Miller
Forgive me if I gloat for just a moment; yesterday was the first time in over thirteen years that Labor Day was a paid work holiday for me.
I cannot tell you how joyous it was choosing between spending the day at the beach or Fiesta Texas. I did not spend the day looking with envy at my Facebook feed while friends and family enjoyed the luxury of a day off and I languished chained to my desk.
Oh you had to work? My apologies. Been there, it sucks. I’ll send a card with my regrets. Moving on.
Many American workers rejoice on Labor Day simply because it’s an extra day off, but they possess no inkling of why. The Old Farmer’s Almanac tells us the idea of Labor Day originated either with Peter J. Maguire or his brother Matthew. Peter was a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.
It was twelve years, 1894, before the date became a federal holiday. Always the first Monday in September, the date was chosen simply due to convenience; it sits midway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The first Labor Day celebrations kicked off with street parades followed by festivals held to amuse workers and their families.
In today’s culture, the focus is less on organized labor, and more of a mark to summer’s end and school’s beginning. Years ago, the school year did not resume until after Labor Day, no idea who decided to cut summer short and start classes before then, but shame on them!
For sports fans, Labor Day also symbolizes the beginning of an exhilarating new football season. Many teams from pee wee to junior high to high school, college and pro’s kick off their seasons right around Labor Day. #GoCowboys! For many families Labor Day is a chance for one last hurrah! before busy school and holiday schedules drain everyone’s energy.
I love what Calendar-12 says about the origins of Labor Day, “…to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.” That’s some American pride there, for where would this nation be without its workforce?
On this day we can also reflect with gratitude on the labor union movement i.e., the eight-hour day that allowed for eight hours of work, eight hours of recreation and eight hours of rest. For those who shun a full night’s rest, the Brothers Maguire might be offended. And a big shout out to Oregon; thank you for being the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday, hugs and kisses from the rest of us who reside in the slow-poke states.
And there you have it, some Labor Day Trivia. I hope your holiday was refreshing, and I hope you learned a bit more about why we celebrate it.
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller