Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day - what's it all about?

What is Labor Day to you?  The end of summer, the beginning of the football season, a reason to eat hot dogs and potato salad or a reason to party. 

Well, Labor Day is a US Federal Holiday observed the first weekend in September to celebrate economic and social contributions of workers.  (That's me and you).

The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York.  It was proposed in May of 1882 after witnessing a labor festival in Toronto, Canada by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor.

Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.  Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the US military and US Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President 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.

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 spirit of the trade and labor organizations", followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday.

There are still a few parades around here and there.  It's the last day of the Allentown Fair ( which I missed this year, darn) and I am sure there are some picnics, even though it's raining outside.   I guess with the current economy in the United States,  if we have a job,  it is probably a reason to celebrate. 

So roll out the potato salad and fire up the grill that's....another day in Catasauqua.