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Home Back to School Labor Day Weekend Purpose of Labor Day

Purpose of Labor Day

purpose-of-labor-dayCelebrate Labor Day 2009 This Year Knowing What It All Means

Did you ever wonder what is the purpose of Labor Day?  Where did the first Labor Day occur?  What is the history or Labor Day as a celebration?  Or perhaps, if you are savvy in the political way, why do we still celebrate something that was originally more of a protest/demonstration than a celebration?   We have a lot to be thankful for today as a result of the protests of that timeframe; today the aspect of the American worker as an empowered citizen constitute the best symbol our country has to offer.

Symbols of Labor Day Reflecting the Best of America

Indeed the very first celebration of Labor Day was a march in New York City to protest the harsh hours workers were required to work, the low wages they earned, the working conditions as well as the child exploitation they felt was occurring.  In many cases workers were very often protesting with their own children.  And so the key symbol of Labor Day in America is the worker who holds his beliefs up and his head up high and stands for the American way of life.

So where did it all start?  Well it's a good Labor Day trivia question...Who introduced the concept of Labor Day to the unions back in 1882?  Two different names could be considered correct.  Historians do not know which one of the two actually started it but it is between Peter McGuire and Matthew Maguire.  Both men were active in the American labor movements and both of them saw a need to start taking a stand against conditions they thought were deplorable.  The rise of American unions started to really take place during these years as a way to protect the workers from these abuses of power.

Eventually the adversarial labor verses management tension gave way to an all out celebration of the contributions of the American worker.  When congress approved Labor Day as a national holiday in 1894 it was with the intention that the hard working blue and black collar worker should be given a day of rest just because of how incredibly hard they worked coupled with how that hard work was positively impacting the industrial revolution in America. Labor Day is celebrated with parties, awards and parades.

The industrial revolution might be over but the ingenuity and hard work of the American worker is still the driving force behind the status of the United States as an industrial leader.  So Labor Day activites continue to shine as the beckon of light - a spot light- on the successes of the American worker.  It is the sole purpose of Labor Day to thank people for how hard they work.   Of course as a result there is an awful lot of relaxing that now happens on that day.

Labor Day seems like a funny name for a day of relaxing but that is exactly what we do now.  We will see the same symbols of Labor Day:  we go to parades and gatherings, we listen to people give speeches and then we go home and barbeque, play in the pool and enjoy the last days of summer.  Considering how hard most people work it is no wonder that we take full advantage of this day off so we can have a little down time with our family and friends.

Labor Day 2009 is September 7th.  On that day we will once again acknowledge the social and economic impact of the worker on our country.  We will celebrate the strength, ingenuity, creativity and resulting prosperity that the worker has brought to the country and we will find time to have just a bit of fun with those close to us.