In the American tradition, the first Monday of September is marked with the celebration of Labor Day, a national holiday created to pay tribute to the workers of the country. The holiday was introduced by the labor movement at the end of the 19th century. In 1894, Labor Day became a federal holiday.
Apart from its historical meaning, Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer, so many people prefer to organize home parties or big events such as parades or athletic competitions.
Traditional Labor Day celebrations include:
- Street parades.
- Speeches of prominent people.
- Athletic competitions.
Not many know, however, that the holiday originated during one of the darkest periods in the American history. In the 1800’s, our grandparents had to work a minimum of 12 hours a day virtually without weekends in order to survive. That time was the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the USA. The working conditions were appalling. Daunting physical work at mines, mills, and factories with the breach of basic hygiene regulations, often without the access to the fresh air, was the only way for the recent immigrants to make a living. Although some states introduced restrictions, most children starting from 6 or even 5 years of age had to work in the same conditions to help their families.
So, the annual “workingmen’s holiday” was introduced to pay some credit to working people. Many industrial centers of America supported the idea. Some states would even put forward legislation to recognize Labor Day. However, it took Congress 12 years to legalize it. This probably would not happen hadn’t the workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company gone on strike against wages’ cuts and labor shedding.
Therefore, Labor Day bears a significant historical meaning
This national holiday is another reminder of the dismal period in the American history and is a day to honor those whose input into the country’s development cannot be exaggerated.