Let’s Get Together to Express Our Gratitude to Laborers Who Made Our Lives Comfortable, on ‘Labor Day. It is a moment for us to think about how much of our lives are dependent on the labor of others. Our food, clothes, homes, cars, and electronic devices are produced by others. Even less tangible benefits like our civil security and the traffic we do not fight on the roads because of people taking public transportation come to us through the labor of others.
The history behind Labor Day
During the late 19th century, terrible working conditions were the norm in America's industrial cities. The average factory worker put in twelve-hour days, seven days a week just to meet basic family expenses. And young children were not exempted from the grueling routine. Labor groups, craft guilds, and trade groups were formed for the goal of improving conditions, raising wages, and protecting children. At that time Labor Day was a time of fiery rhetoric and parades.
History is a little murky regarding who was specifically responsible for the beginning of the tradition. However, the first proposal to create an official holiday came from the Central Labor Union in New York. On September 5, 1882, more than 10,000 workers assembled to participate in America's first Labor Day parade. The parade was followed by a picnic, speeches, and a concert.
Three years later, in 1885, Central Labor selected the first Monday in September for its celebration. The group encourages others across the nation to do the same in their city. The movement grew. Over the next two decades, states and cities began to officially adopt the holiday. Finally, in 1894 Congress declared that the first Monday in September would be Labor Day.
What is Labor Day and How is It Celebrated in the Different US States?
Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement in the US at a time when labor was not valued and not honored. Sweathouses were prevalent and workers were often mistreated and devalued. Unions were formed to protect workers and out of these unions came the call for a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. They called for one day a year in tribute to the contributions workers who have made to the strength and prosperity of their country.
Two men stand at the forefront of the movement to create a nationally recognized day for laborers. Peter J McGuire, an Irish American cabinetmaker and general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor first suggested a day to honor America's workers in May 1882. "Let us have a festive day during which a parade through the streets of the city would permit public tribute to American Industry".
Celebration in the Different States
Sweet and Hot Jazz Festival - (Los Angeles, California): The Sweet and hot Jazz festival is held every year on Labor Day in Los Angeles, California. Here Labor Day is celebrated with Jazz - the most popular form of music in the country. It's a forum for the past and the present of Jazz music to come together with the latter paying tribute to the former. It's a unique way to celebrate Labor Day and the idea is to honor the tradition of labor through music.
Bumbershoot - (Seattle, Washington): The Labor Day weekend in Seattle, Washington, is animated by the Bumbershoot Art Festival. Since its golden days in the 1970's, the place is a conglomeration of artists from around the world--writers, poets, dancers, musicians, actors, and even acrobats take the center stage on the occasion of Labor Day. The event is held at the Seattle Center which spans 74 acres and was built for the 1962 World's Fair. With over 20 stages spread across the Center, the Labor Day celebration in Seattle definitely takes a creative edge over the rest!
Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival - (Louisiana): The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in the Louisiana State is a traditional Labor Day festival born during the 1930s. The Gulf Coast Seafood Producers & Trappers Association organized this for the first time, to honor the ocean workers--shrimpers, oystermen, crab fishermen to frog and alligator hunters, and dock workers. Louisiana comes alive every year with water events, arts and crafts exhibitions, fireworks, and culinary shows.
Boomsday - (Tennessee): Boomsday is the annual firework that is organized in Knoxville, Tennessee on Labor Day. The fireworks are choreographed to music. It is held as the nations largest Labor Day fireworks show that attracts more than 325,000 spectators every year. The event is sponsored by the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation in conjunction with local radio stations of Journal Broadcast Group Pre-fireworks fun includes food, exhibitor tents, live music, and entertainment! Fireworks are set off from the Henley St. Bridge and spectators view the show from the riverfront, hillsides, or on boats from the Tennessee River.
Mackinac Bridge Walk - (Michigan): In Michigan people walk the length of the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, a tradition that started in 1958. Around 50,000 to 65,000 people participate in this parade in an average year which is traditionally led by the Governor of Michigan. The participation in this walk increased in certain years when this was made a part of political events for gubernatorial or presidential elections.
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Labor Day holds great importance in our lives. So, we all should celebrate it wholeheartedly in the remembrance of those laborers, who have made our lives comfortable and enjoyable.
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