Many enjoy Labor Day as a day off from work and the last bit of fun before summer ends. Many forget what it is we are celebrating… it was first created by the labor movement and is dedicated to the contributions and achievements of American workers. That day is set aside for the American worker to have a day of rest and to remember the importance of worker’s rights.
During the Industrial Revolution, many people were required to work 12 hour work days for 7 days a week just to make ends meet. In the late 1800’s, labor unions then became more active. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest the unfair wages, work environment and hours.
September 5th 1882 was the first Labor Day celebration. Many workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. 12 years later, on June 26th 1994, the American Railroad Union called to boycott all Pullman Railway cars. This caused a crippling of railroad traffic nationwide. To break this strike, the government sent troops to Chicago. This only caused a wave of riots and deaths of many workers. In an attempt to repair ties with the American workers, congress passed the act to make Labor Day a legal holiday. And on June 28th 1994, President Cleveland signed it into law.
Even after all this time, it is still unclear who the founder of the holiday is. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, as the first to suggest it. But, many believe that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, was the first to propose the holiday.
Labor Day Celebrations & Traditions
The Labor Day celebration has transformed a bit over the years. When it was first celebrated, the focus was on a parade. This was meant to show to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” and then a festival to follow. As time went on, speeches by prominent people were introduced.
In recent years, the celebrations have really began to change. As parades have become ever more difficult in city centers, the day has focused more on relaxing and having fun before summer is over and kids are back to school.
A common Labor Day celebration in North Idaho is Fall Fest! at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. It’s a weekend filled with beer, wine, cider, live music, and a soda tent for the kids.
Many of us here in North Idaho use this last weekend of summer for family camping trips out in the National Forest. More about our National Forests
Boating on the lake is a special favorite of ours on this last weekend. Taking in all the sunshine we can and enjoying live on the lake before kids go back to school and we prepare for fall. More about Lake Coeur d’Alene
Others like to take advantage of all of the downtown events to choose from or just a weekend of shopping! Downtown CDA
No matter how you choose to celebrate Labor Day, enjoy your day off!
The holidays are no doubt my favorite time of year. I love the kindness and warmth and that people genuinely want to do good to others. This doesn’t have to stay in November and December. We have come up with a few ways to keep that magical holiday spirit alive throughout the rest of the year.
Don’t forget about your neighbors.
Goodwill toward mankind is in the air during the holidays. Giving is just part of the season, but as the food comas wear off and the gifts settle in, we get back to our busy lives. In some cases we start focusing on our careers again, or getting back to the gym. It’s (sadly) very easy to forget about those people you were so kind to. Not to say that you are now unkind, but we tend to start diverting our attention and efforts back on ourselves.
Making an effort to remember the people around us will make a difference. My granddaughter, though young loves to donate her toys because she wants other kiddos to have toys too. Ultimately, service to others is really the bigger picture and here are some ways to do so:
-Volunteer at a local charity
-donate used clothes or extras to people in need
-take the kids to talk with seniors in convalescent centers.
-make up care packages to send to troops overseas
-care packages for chemo patients
-be a cuddler at your local hospital’s NICU
-donate your time or extra clothes/food to our struggling veterans
Make Family Activities a priority
The amount of time we spend with family during the holidays is incredible. But why do we let it stop once we turn another page on the calendar? I personally believe that family is special and something to protect and cultivate. And this year I don’t intend on letting the family time slow down nearly as much. Just think about it, even getting together once a month is far better than being a Christmas/Thanksgiving gathering type of family. I’m guilty of it too, but small efforts go a long way.
-We have implemented friday night family pizza. We get together with the kids and grand-kids, have some pizza, some wine and catch up. It doesn’t always workout every week but its starting to become a recurring thing.
-Be present with each other, not just in the same room. Really interact and find out about their day etc.
Few holidays have the same warmth and widespread kindness as Christmas, but you don’t have to let those sentiments fade away when the lights come down. Maybe you can start making other holidays a big deal (if you don’t already). Here are a few that I think can be made in to holidays of service to others as well:
-Epiphany, celebration of the 3 kings presenting baby Jesus with the gifts
-Chinese New Year!
-National Freedom Day- the 13th ammendment was signed to abolish slavery.
-Holi! because who doesnt love color
-March Equinox- Welcoming in spring
Hope you were inspired by our post and thought of a few ways to keep the spirit alive in your family. Happy New Year!
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