School starts the day after Labor Day. Honestly, when I hear that, I think “Labor Day already?” and go back to whatever else I was doing. I don’t think about what Labor Day actually stands for. Do you?
Labor Day is a federal holiday meant to celebrate the achievements of American workers, both socially and economically. The very first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The Central Labor Union organized the holiday just for New York, with no other cities taking place. They celebrated the holiday again the following year, keeping the date so the holiday fell on a Monday, giving workers a three day weekend.
In 1884, the City of New York declared that the first Monday in September would be known as Labor Day from then on out and the Central Labor Union encouraged other cities to follow suit. In 1885, many of the industrial centers around the United States celebrated the date. Since these first holidays were celebrated by municipal ordinance, the cities rallied to push the states to pass laws to recognize the holiday on a state level, instead of just city by city. New York State was the first to have a bill before its lawmakers, but Oregon succeeded in passing its bill first on February 21, 1887. By 1894, 23 states had followed in Oregon’s footsteps and on June 28 of 1894, Congress passed a law making Labor Day a federal holiday.
The first proposal for the holiday outlined a suggested celebration. According to the proposal, towns were to have a street parade to “exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations of the community.” That parade was to be followed by a festival for the pleasure and enjoyment of the working families. This became the pattern for the celebration of Labor Day all over the country.
As cities grew larger and huge parades became more difficult to organize, some areas turned to televising speeches from leading union officials, educators, labor leaders, and industrialists to celebrate the holiday. More recently, families have used Labor Day as a last hurrah before school starts, one last long weekend available before the kids have a daily schedule almost as demanding as their parents.
Labor Day signifies the end of the summer for most people, and strangely enough, the end of a fashion season. So, ladies, once Labor Day arrives, we can no longer wear white clothing. Does anyone know why that is? I’ve heard it’s because the Navy switches their uniforms from white to blue, but I can’t confirm that. If anyone knows the origin of this tradition, give me a call at the library!
PAFL Update: Pipestone Area Friends of the Library is looking for members – anyone who is a friend to Meinders Library is welcome to join! The Friends group works hard to promote the library, raise money for projects, and organize their yearly book sale, in addition to the HUGE amount of support they provide throughout the year. Call us for the date of the next meeting!
If you have questions or have a book you’d like to reserve or renew, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (507) 825-6714. The winter hours (starting September 2nd) for Meinders Library are Monday through Thursday from 10 AM – 8 PM, and Friday and Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM. Meinders Community Library is located at 1401 7th Street SW, on the south side of the high school.