Monday is Labor Day, a time when many Americans enjoy a day off, spending the time away from work with friends and family at picnics and parades across the United States. The holiday has also become the unofficial end of summer for many, a final celebration before school kicks into high gear and many areas of the country see cooler temperatures take over. Many Senior Lifestyle communities have special Labor Day celebrations planned with residents, staff and family members joining together for food and fun. As a country, we celebrate Labor Day every year, but how many of us know the history of the holiday?
According to the United States Department of Labor, the first Monday in September is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Labor Day celebrates the contributions workers have made to “the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886 gave rise to the first official local Labor Day celebrations, while Oregon passed a state bill in 1887 to make Labor Day an official holiday in that state. On June 28th of 1894, Congress passed an act declaring the first Monday in September a holiday for workers across the United States and its territories, giving the holiday a federal stamp of approval.
There is still some mystery surrounding the actual founder of Labor Day, with some accounts showing that a general secretary for the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners first proposed the holiday, while others believe that it was a machinist and secretary for Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists who actually founded the celebration. What we do know is that the first unofficial Labor Day celebration took place in New York City in 1882, organized by the Central Labor Union.
The form of our contemporary Labor Day celebrations is very similar to the day envisioned by the first Labor Day organizers, who planned street parades to show the “strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” in each community, followed by community-wide parties organized “for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.” In many communities across America, we see these same celebrations, with some lasting the entire Labor Day weekend; parades, carnivals and town-wide Homecoming-style events are popular in many of these communities.
However you choose to celebrate your Labor Day, be sure to take a moment to reflect on the contributions of those who work to make our communities wonderful places to live. Senior Lifestyle celebrates the work ethic and team spirit of our staff, whose efforts show every day in the satisfaction of our residents and families!