Labor Day Means…

Roslyn Lifestyle Holidays, Labor Day, WorkLife

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What does Labor Day mean to you? I like to pretend it is another way of acknowledging mothers, like a variation of Mother’s day. After all, I gave birth to my son on labor day. There must be something about me and delivering my babies on holidays because my daughter was born on the 4th of July. If I had more children, I wonder what holidays they would have graced? But I know it isn’t about giving tribute to mothers although it could include mothers as workers.

Labor Day, the first Monday of September, is a creation of the labor movement, set aside to honor the contributions of American workers who take pride in their work, no matter what they do. Labor Day originated as a dedication to the social and economic achievements of workers. At the time of the first street parade during the height of the industrial revolution, workers were putting in 12 hour workdays, seven days a week. Work often happened in deplorable conditions including employment of children. On Sept. 5, 1882, in NYC the first Labor Day rally was held in support of an 8 hour workday. The form of the holiday was determined to be as a street parade to demonstrate to the public the strength of the trade and labor  organizations.

1st Labor Day parade 9/5/1882 in NYC by Cental Labor Union to exhibit the strength and spirit of trade and labor organizations and to host a festival for workers and their families.

1st Labor Day parade 9/5/1882 in NYC by Cental Labor Union to exhibit the strength and spirit of trade and labor organizations and to host a festival for workers and their families.

We may think that times have changed and in many ways they have, but as we follow the news we still hear about labor unions fighting for employee benefits and workers striking for higher wages and better benefits. The holiday has taken on many different meanings over the years. Towns, cities and communities still celebrate with a street parade which is so much fun for children. Parades give school bands an opportunity to march and perform. People wave flags and kids eat ice cream. The entire history of the American Labor Movement is hardly taught in schools today so how would today’s generation know differently?

Labor Day Means A Long Weekend

Schools used to start after Labor Day so the holiday was unofficially thought of as the end of summer. For those areas where school starts in August, the Labor Day weekend becomes the first day off from school. So whether it be a day off, a long weekend, end of summer, a town parade, community barbeque, a day of rest or start of football season, does it still resonate with the original intent of the holiday? Do we think about the people who work in retail and restaurants on this day? In fact, Labor Day has become one of the largest retail sales day due to the huge number of potential customers free to shop.

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Will You Wear White After Labor Day?

The custom of not wearing white started right after the civil war. It was established as a silly fashion rule by old money people to separate themselves from new money people. They only wore white after labor day to weddings and to resorts. There are still many  women who fashionably adhere to this rule without any notion where or why it was established.  Just think about yourself and your habit?

Let’s Get Back to Why We Celebrate Labor Day

Labor Day was established as a way to pay tribute to working men and women who worked hard for a better life. Sound familiar?  This value is still alive and well as an integral part of the American dream and our every day lives. Whether you are someone who works multiple jobs or someone who strikes out on their own as an entrepreneur; whether you work hard for yourself or to provide more opportunities for your children and grandchildren.  So as we approach Monday, September 5th, 2014, think of yourself, your family and what you wish to acknowledge yourself for. How can you express appreciation to those around you, including yourself,  who do their best to provide a good life?

 

 

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Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

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  1. Never knew about the why no white rule. I don’t follow that rule anymore. But it’s good to learn how it all started.

    As for Labor Day, I completely agree, it needs to be taught to today’s generation as to why it is a holiday.

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  2. This is a great reminder of what Labor Day stands for and yes, it is still important today. I actually have a friend who will not wear white after Labor Day. And I remember when none of us did.

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      Beth Niebuhr- Decided to include this piece of trivia knowing the controversy around this issue. Just between us, I can only wear white after Labor Day if it still feels like summer.

  3. This is WONDERFUL!! You are full of marvelous information (also the Grandparent’s Day that I would like to beg, borrow or steal from you!). I had no idea about the history of Labor Day!! Thanks so much for sharing this!

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      Tina- a benefit of having history as a school subject. Doing research was a great refresher. I’m enjoying myself too as I look to bring content to my readers as well as opportunities to see our jewelry. As always, love your enthusiasm.

  4. I love how you ended this post…tying it into how to acknowledge the work people do for themselves and others. I am very mindful to show gratitude and appreciation for all the people who are doing things to better their lives or the lives of others as well as though who are helpful to me. I have always said that I am so much more intrigued by and interested in people who make a difference vs. people who have a ton of knowledge and don’t really do anything to help others. So here’s to all of you out there working on yourselves in whatever way suits you and all of you working out there to make the world a better place for others.

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      Thank you Julie Latz for your thoughtful comment and acknowledgement of others. Clearly you are someone who does both- ongoing growth and development and makes a difference for others.

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      Thanks Sonya- i hadn’t thought about that. Glad it was a quick course in reason for celebrating Labor Day. We both labor a lot for our businesses to grow.

  5. Great post. Nice to be reminded of the history of a Holiday. So many people have no idea anymore. They just go along without even questioning the real meaning or importance. Thanks for sharing the reminder. We all need appreciate everyone individual who works hard to better themselves and the lives of others.

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      Thanks Meryl Hershey Beck for your thoughtful comment. I do pay particular attention to the 2 holidays I birthed my kids,. Chances are I will do some work on Monday because it doesn’t feel like work.

  6. The concept of working hard for a better life is still alive and true. It’s a tremendous opportunity and a time that we can all again be grateful for the opportunities around us.

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  7. We have Labour Day in Canada too. I wonder if the history in Canada is any different than the U.S. The shopping, no white and back to school are the same. I suspect the rest of the story regarding workers is similar.

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  8. We use to go and dine outside with the whole family on holidays specially on this kind of day, rewarding ourselves for a hard work 🙂

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  9. I am especially grateful to all those who do not take the day off on Labor Day — medical practitioners, firefighters, police officers, emergency medical responders and so on. Hats off to them…and I hope they get another long weekend somewhere down the line!

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  10. Roslyn, I have to admit, Labor Day means the long holiday. It gives me a break from the normal. Funny enough, I just forgot again that I have a long weekend! Yeah!!

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  11. I didn’t even know it was Labor day till I checked my son’s calendar and saw he was off. Good thing where I work is also closed on Labor day! Going to spend the day in bed if I can eheheh

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  12. I knew about Labor Unions and Labor Day. At one time they were a good thing. Now Labor Unions have become too powerful and too political. The last job my husband worked he was required to belong to a Labor Union. He had to pay dues to them. Then every time there was an election they sent him multiple letters telling him how to vote. That angered him. He did not like paying dues to an organization that spent his hard earned money to tell him how to vote. In this country we should have the freedom to choose whether or not we want to belong to a Labor Union the same as the freedom to vote as we please. There, that’s my opinion about Labor Unions!
    I grew up in the Southwest and had never even heard about not wearing white after Labor Day. Except for wedding dresses, white shirts and blouses I had just looked at white as a summer clothing color… didn’t know about the rule. Learn something new every day!
    Great article!

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  13. Thanks for an interesting article and more importantly, reminding us the reason behind the holiday…it’s not just a day off from work or school. Let’s honor those who blazed trails before us. It is because of their hard work and effort that we have the freedoms we treasure today.

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      Thanks Ellen Thomas for your comment. I think most people use the day in a way that supports them. Honoring and respecting those who made it possible, is a plus.

  14. Thanks for getting me to research Labour Day’s history in Canada. “The first Canada’s first Labour Day event was in1872. At the time, unions were illegal in Canada, which was still operating under an archaic British law already abolished in England. For over three years the Toronto Printers Union had been lobbying its employers for a shorter work week. Inspired by workers in Hamilton who had begun the movement for a nine-hour work day, the Toronto printers threatened to strike if their demands weren’t met. After repeatedly being ignored by their employers, the workers took bold action and on March 25, 1872, they went on strike.

    Toronto’s publishing industry was paralyzed and the printers soon had the support of other workers. On April 14, a group of 2,000 workers marched through the streets in a show of solidarity. They picked up even more supporters along the way and by the time they reached their destination of Queen’s Park, their parade had 10,000 participants – one tenth of the city’s population.”

    For those Canadian’s that stop by. 🙂

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  15. I loved learning the history bits in this post! Fun! Even though I am working today (just for a little bit!) I will be taking time with my significant other to have a nice meal and celebrate us, our work and the life we are building together.

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