Today we celebrate Labor Day, but I honestly had no idea what the holiday meant. I understand Fourth of July and Thanksgiving and even Memorial Day, but I never delved into the meaning of Labor Day. Until now. That’s one of the benefits of the Internet; you can learn about anything.
According to the “Time” magazine web site, Labor Day traces its origin to a parade in New York City in 1882. It was designed as a festival to celebrate the common laborer, and about ten thousand people showed up. Over time, especially as unions became stronger and more influential, the parade was formalized into a holiday on the first Monday of September in 1896.
The official holiday is 118 years old this year; and while union membership has declined in recent years, “Time” noted there are still many challenges facing workers. And it’s not just people in the fast food industry and other lower rungs of the financial ladder. Consider the corporate professional who often works ten or more hours a day, puts in unpaid overtime on weekends, and is only a text or tweet away from the office.
Now that I’m informed, I plan to celebrate the holiday by paying more attention to the plight of various working groups. And by taking a nap!