I'm ashamed to admit I had to look up the origin of Labor Day. I've always known it's a holiday about work (the word "labor" sort of gives it away), but I guess I've never really thought about the true origin before. For me, Labor Day was simply a holiday - a day off to spend with friends and family. But this year, I really wanted to know what this special "day off" was all about. This is what Wikipedia has to say:
The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. 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 reconciled with the labor movement. 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.And here is the pattern of celebration for Labor Day today:
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.So, basically, Labor Day celebrates the people who have worked to contribute to the strength, well-being, and prosperity of our country. Pretty cool.
Well, today my kids are gone with friends and I have no specific plans, so I'm going to see a movie and go shopping for a few things I need for the upcoming ACFW writer's conference, then I'll probably spend the rest of the day relaxing and getting a little writing done. Of course, for me, writing is not really work at all, but something I love to do, so I won't be "laboring" in the true sense of the word. And I don't know if my writing contributes to the strength, well-being and prosperity of our country, but I do hope it will provide some smiles, encouragement, and entertainment in a time when the strength, well-being, and prosperity of the U.S. isn't exactly at an all-time high.
So now that you've learned something new (or not) about the history and purpose of Labor Day, what about you? Are you enjoying this last official holiday of the summer or will you spend it laboring?