Monday, September 1, 2008

What is this 'Labor Day' Holiday all about..??

I think we all know the purpose of most of the American holidays we celebrate.

Fourth of July: that patriotism thing, the flag, fireworks, the Declaration Of Independence...

Memorial Day: remembering those who served in their country's stead. Flags massed, parades, too-old veterans in now-too-small uniforms, remembering those who currently serve our country...

Thanksgiving Day:
'Turkey Day', Pilgrims, Indians and Indian corn, pie, celebrating our bountiful (once again) harvest...

Christmas: Baby Jesus, Christmas trees, mangers, gifts/presents...

New Years Day: Football..!! A new year, a new beginning, Auld Lang Syne,

I listed them in the order they came to my mind, just free-associated a few thoughts with each. There are more of course. But those are the major ones.

Except for one: Labor Day

I sit here pondering the purpose of celebrating a day for 'Labor'. Perhaps the only thoughts that comes to mind for it are a traditional marker of the end of summer, a day for grilling and barbecuing, a day for anything but 'labor'

A little online reading points to that last thought as not being so far from the mark. Turns out the holiday originated in the late 1800s as "...a day off for the working citizens." Often a parade to celebrate "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" was held, which was then "followed by a festival for the workers and their families."

Dang, that sounds fine to me. Though I think over the years the holiday has fallen down the list of 'celebratory' holidays and perhaps now serves more as a marker of the end of summer, a chance to gird (one last time) ones children for the rigors of the coming school year, perhaps that weekend for one last road trip.

Which all works for me. I deliberately avoided my wife's 'honey-do' list and wasted the day barbecuing, surfing the Internet, watching some sports on TV, anything and everything but actually engaging in 'labor'. After all: we must honor the holiday and the working man..!!

A toast to all the workers out there. I am sharing my hope that you all had a fine and relaxing (and labor-free..!!) Labor Day holiday..!!



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