Today is Labor Day. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, well, except for shopping and barbecuing. Interesting to note that Labor Day is also celebrated in Canada.
Peter J. McGuire, founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York, are considered founders of the U.S. Labor Day. They sought a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.
Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal in the 1882 and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. Workers agreed and staged a strike to get a day off work on the first Monday in September.
Twelve years later, in 1894, Labor Day became an official federal holiday though the bill did not give everyone a holiday. Only federal employees are authorized the day off by the law.
Over the years, emphasis changed from protests and demands and Labor Day shifted to honoring the labor movement and the social and economic achievements of all American workers.
Though the holiday has no rituals, addresses by union officials, industrialists, government officials, and others do receive coverage in social media, newspapers, and television.
Nowadays Labor Day mostly signifies a three-day weekend filled with retail sales, an extra day away from work, and the unofficial end of summer and hot dog season. A day to laze around the house and watch the kickoff of the NFL season.
It’s a weekend to play and relax unless you work in retail then you’ll have some long working hours. Police, firefighters, nurses, etc. will also experience heavy workloads because Labor Day is the second most dangerous holiday weekend to drive on U.S. highways.
Taking a day for relaxation is a good thing according Douglas Pagels.
"Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow."
If you’re one of those people who works all the time, why not follow Pagels’ advice today. Pick a rainbow color, grab one last hot dog, and slide down your rainbow beam.