Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!! Whatever that means.

{Photo Credit}
The other day when Dylan asked when we had to go back to school, I told him the day after Labor day.  The next question was, of course, what's Labor Day? Do you know I couldn't answer him? Some teacher I am. 

Now I wasn't totally clueless.  I mean using semantics I knew that it had to do with working.  Plus since it is a holiday then that would mean a day of relaxing and celebrating.  So putting it together, I told him that Labor Day is a day for relaxing and celebrating because you work so hard all the rest of the year. 

But, then I started feeling some mommy guilt.  Here I am celebrating a holiday that I don't even really know why I'm celebrating.  So Google and Wikipedia to the rescue.

According to Wikipedia:
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 6 in 2010).
The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City.  It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.  All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. 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.

So there you have it.
Now that we know what we are celebrating, it is our American duty to go enjoy it.  

What are you doing to celebrate today?
Picnic? BBQ? Parade? Tell me all about it.

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