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The History Behind Labor Day And Why You Should Celebrate

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Like clockwork, I grabbed my morning coffee on my way to work and waved to the elderly man at the shoe shop on the corner. 

Every morning he is out there before the streets start to fill up and the village shops open. His face is worn and exhausted but is always friendly and greets passersby with a smile and a wave.

This man represents all small business owners.

The first Monday in September is a federal holiday in the United States. Labor Day—a tribute to contributions made by American workers to the growth and development of the country. For many, Labor Day is the ultimate long weekend—the end of summer, beginning of fall, and for some the last day to wear white.

This year, we face a new challenge. What would normally be a long weekend getaway with friends or family, that camping trip you take every year, or the annual end of summer BBQ, we are now forced to cancel normal routines and celebrations due to a pandemic. 

So, now what? I say, take a day for yourself. You deserve it. Sleep in, go for a leisurely walk, read that book you have always wanted to read, stay in your PJ’s all day and binge watch that Netflix series. After all, this day is for you.

Here are some fun facts about the history of the holiday:

The very first Labor Day consisted of 10,000 workers marching in New York City

On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in NYC, holding the first Labor Day Parade in U.S. history.

“No white after Labor Day

Ever wonder why? The tradition goes back to the end of the Civil War when society was ruled by the wealthy wives of old-money elites. As more new-money millionaires entered society, the jealous old regime invented a whole suite of arbitrary fashion rules that only those in the in-crowd would know. Anyone who showed up to an autumn dinner party in a white dress, for example, would be instantly outed as a nouveau riche newbie. That tradition of not wearing white past summer has since trickled down through fashion magazines and into mainstream culture… even for those of us whose ideal dinner party garb is sweatpants. The good news is most fashion experts agree that there is no need to follow this elitist rule today.

Other Countries have their own Labor Day

It is called May Day, takes place on May 1, and just like Labor Day, was established to celebrate workers’ rights.

It is a weekend for people to come together

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, the head of the American Federation of Labor said that Labor Day was meant to be a time when workers “lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”

So, whether you are stepping away from a laptop or a lathe, this weekend is a three-day salute to what you and your colleagues have achieved together. Enjoy it.

About The Author

Danielle is a lover of all things. When she doesn’t have her head in a book you can find her taking advantage of long summer days hiking or camping with her dog Nora. Danielle is currently working on her Bachelors Degree in Homeland Security Management.

 


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