Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

"The end of labor is to gain leisure." ~Aristotle

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens". Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894. All fifty states have made Labor Day a state holiday. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. 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. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

Today, Labor Day is often regarded as a day of rest and, compared to the May 1 Labour Day celebrations in most countries, parades, speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key.
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. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school.

Since 1966, the annual telethon of the Muscular Dystrophy Association has been held on Labor Day weekend. The telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis, raises tens of millions of dollars each year to fund research and patient support programs for the various diseases grouped as muscular dystrophy. Labor Day weekend also marked the annual running of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. The race was run at any time during the weekend from 1950-2002. In 2004, NASCAR began racing on Labor Day weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chicago's Taste of Polonia, the city's largest Polish-themed festival celebration of Polish cultural heritage, traditions, and customs on the grounds of the Copernicus Foundation in Jefferson Park. Bringing in crowds well over 30,000 each year.

And, finally, a bit of Labor Day humor--for all the parents out there, here's a quote just for you:

"Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken."

- Bill Dodds, American humorist

Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

This description (mainly borrowed from Wikipedia) of Labor Day applies to the holiday as it is observed in the United States but many countries observe Labour Day on a variety of dates throughout the year, and have their own traditions for celebrating.

copyright pfeiffer photos 2008 - all rights reserved


w said...

gosh. i don't usually read "longer" posts... but this was so informative. so i had to read it! thanks for that! (and wow. gorgeous photos).

Pfeiffer Photos said...

I usually don't write longer posts but this one seemed like it needed the extra "something-something". Thanks for the compliments! ~tina

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