Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely 3-day weekend? Labor Day always makes me kind of nostalgic – after all, it’s the holiday that marks the end of summer. And when I was a kid, it meant it was time to go back to school although the kids in my neighborhood have been back in school for a couple of weeks already! But I digresswhere did the Labor Day holiday come from?
To get the facts on Labor Day, I started with the U.S. Department of Labor. Seems logical right? Here’s the explanation of Labor Day I got there:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Not a very complete picture of the creation of the holiday! So I kept digging. Next stop – my favorite on-line resource, Wikipedia. According to their history of the holiday, Labor Day began out of the labor movement of the late 1800’s. The first Labor Day celebrations were held in New York City in 1882 uniting several labor unions at parade sponsored by the Central Labor Union of New York.
In 1887, Oregon became the first state to officially recognize a Labor Day holiday with the Federal Government recognizing it in 1894. So we’ve been celebrating Labor Day as a national holiday for well over 100 years!
One of my fond memories of growing up was watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon for muscular dystrophy on TV. Unlike today when you can stream performances of your favorite band or actor, in the 1970s one of the best places to see all the top talent of the day was the MDA Telethon. It was an annual 24 hour marathon of Jerry Lewis hosting everything from music performances to dancing to animal acts that raised over $2 billion dollars during its run from 1966 to 2010. One of our local TV stations that broadcast the telethon used to offer Muscular Dystrophy carnival kits so kids could get involved. I always wanted to get one – but my parents were NOT enthusiastic about the idea of it – probably because they knew they’d end up doing all the work!
Now pardon me – there are Labor Day sales to get to and last minute summer relaxing to cram in before the day is over! Happy Labor Day!
Want to know more about Labor Day or the MDA Telethons? Check out these links: