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Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

What is Labor Day?

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. The people whose sweat build and maintain the hear of the United States.

In 19th century America, the industrial revolution was in full bloom and people were needed en masse to feed the machines of mass production. Millions responded, coming from the farms by the promise of the American dream, a trust in the commonwealth. The people wanted a secure year round income in an environment sheltered from the ofter harsh elements. What they found was a life toiling twelve and fourteen hours a day in dingy and sometime dangerous conditions in factories or underground mines.

From the late 1700s into the mid 1800s working people increasingly joined together in trade unions that would bargain collectively for the benefit of all members.  A day to praise the efforts of the everyday people was first suggested around 1880 by Peter J. McGuire, found of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. However, the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday September 5, 1882 in New York City by the Knights of Labor.  It celebrated the working man and the idea of celebrating the everyday working man began to spread with the growth of labor organizations. By 1885, Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years.
 Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable for women to wear white.

This Labor Day, turn on the sprinklers and sip some lemonade while remembering to give a toast to those who made it possible. Without them, there would be no standard of 8 hour workdays and minimum wage.

Happy Labor Day!
Creativity Bug ~ Sue


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