It’s my sincere hope, if you’re an American, is that you’re reading this post on Tuesday and that you’re not stuck in front of a monitor on a perfectly beautiful Monday. Labor Day is literally a day for celebrating the contributions of the labor force to the wonderful standard of living we now enjoy. Originally it was meant to highlight the hard work produced by people in less than ideal conditions. I’ve explored some of this information in two previous posts: Labor Day, Time for Fun and Reflection and Labor Day, Eh?. (My Celebrating Labor Day post was simply to let you know I’d be offline.)
I did come up with a few interesting facts about Labor Day this year. For example, I discovered that it’s traditional for men to wear a straw hat from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then a felt hat the rest of the year. In fact, there is a cowboy etiquette site that will steer you straight on all the rules. Of course, most men don’t wear hats any longer and my hat would break any tradition because it’s made from cloth. As with the rule that women can’t wear white after Labor Day, the hat rule has faded into obscurity (even more so because I could find few references to it).
A number of other nationalities celebrate Labor Day, which I found interesting. For example, if you speak Spanish, Labor Day is called “Día del Trabajo”. However, in Mexico, people actually celebrate May Day (Primero de Mayo) as Labor Day. Over the years I’ve become more interested in how people in other countries celebrate holidays that are close to or the same as our own. The fact is that Americans used to celebrate Labor Day in May as well. After the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Riot, American’s celebrated May Day as we celebrate Labor Day now. The 10 May 1894 Pullman Strike convinced President Grover Cleveland and Congress that a different holiday was needed, which is how we ended up with Labor Day. Interestingly enough, Canada celebrates Labor Day on the same day that we do.
Today is a day celebrated with family time, picnics, the last outing somewhere, or possibly just a barbecue. No matter how you celebrate, make sure you take time to consider the reason for the celebration. Somewhere, perhaps not even in this country, someone is working in a factory in less than ideal conditions to provide the goods that you use on a daily basis. Yes, they’re getting paid (hopefully), but factory work is usually hard and not appreciated by those who have other tasks to perform in life. Today is the day to give these people their due. Let me know your thoughts about Labor Day at [email protected].