Tag Archives: labor day

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

A bit of history

Labor Day parade, marchers of Russian Labor Assn., New York (1909)

Labor Day parade, marchers of Russian Labor Assn., New York (1909)

The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

 

 

What people do on Labor Day?

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.

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.

Retail Sale Day

Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday.

End of summer

Labor Day has come to be 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 to wear white or seersucker.

In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. .

In the U.S., most school districts that started summer vacation in early June will resume school the day after this, while schools that had summer vacation begin on the Saturday before Memorial Day in late May will have already been in session since late August. However this tradition is changing as many school districts end in early June and begin mid-August.

Happy Labor Day!

Lily-of-the-valleyMay 1 is a national holiday in France, where people celebrate “la Fête du Travail” (Labor Day). On this day post offices, banks, restaurants and businesses are closed.  Trade unions and other organizations organize parades and demonstrations to campaign for workers rights.

A popular custom wants that people offer a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers. This custom goes back to King Charles IX of France. He was presented with lily of the valley flowers on May 1, 1561. He liked the gift and decided to present lily of the valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. Around 1900, men started to present a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers to women to express their affection. The flowers are a more general token of appreciation between close friends and family members these days.

The eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France on April 23, 1919, and May 1 became a public holiday. May Day was not observed during World War II. However, May 1 became a public holiday again in 1947. May 1 officially became known as La Fête du Travail (Labor Day) on April 29, 1948. Since then, it has been an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights. The day is also known as Labor Day in other parts of the world.

And you, how do you celebrate May Day in your region?