Thursday, September 1, 2011

Labor Day Weekend: One Last Summer Hurrah!

The Last Roses of Summer
Labor Day Weekend

Throughout the history of Labor Day, which is an American National holiday, it takes place the first Monday of September.  Some call it is the unofficial end to summer.  Labor Day's true meaning is to honor the everyday working people.  The people whose sweat build and maintain the heart of  United States.  Today Labor Day is as normal as baseball, apple pie and fireworks on the fourth of July, but this was not always so.

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 often harsh elements.  What they found was a life toiling twelve and fourteen hours a day in dingy and sometimes dangerous conditions in factories and 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, founder 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 on that date.  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.

This holiday is to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community.  Labor day is also a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.  Parades, festivals , barbeques, this became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.  Speeches by prominent men and women are given to emphasis the economic and civic significance of the holiday.

In the l880's labor organizations began to lobby various state legislatures for recognition of Labor Day as an official state holiday.  The first states to declare it a state holiday in, 1887, were Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.  In 1894, Congress passed a law recognizing Labor Day as an official national holiday.

Labor Day has come to be recognized in the United States not only as a celebration of the working class, but also as  the unofficial end of the summer season.  In the northern half of the U.S.  the summer vacation season begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day.

(Note: Photos taken by my granddaughter, Angela. New Hampshire)

I will be spending the weekend in the mountains of New Hampshire, for our last summer "hurrah!"  Some of the main roads will not be fixed for weeks, according to NH's governor's report last night; however, we can still manage to make it to our family's favorite place and even the weather will not stop us from enjoying our weekend, as there is always the in-door swimming pool.

Of course, this means I will not be near a computer or phones - will not be posting here Saturday and Sunday, but most of you will also be busy with family - time for a little break.

Whatever your plans, enjoy the holiday, stay safe and come back rested!  Enjoy!