Labor Day Observances
In the USA, people give great importance to Labor Day, which are normally observed on the first Monday in September each year. This year it will be celebrated on September 3rd, 2012.
Most Americans view Labor Day as the symbolic end of summer and as the beginning of college football and the NFL, where the first game traditionally gets played the following Thursday.
The Origin of Labor Day
This day is dedicated to economic and social achievements of many American workers and constitutes national tribute to workers who have contributed to the prosperity, strength, and well being of America.
There is a controversy about whom the founder of Labor Day was. Many say that Peter J. McGuire (Cofounder of The American Federation of Labor), was the first to suggest workers get honored by dedicating a specific day to them.
Others say that Matthew Maguire (Secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in N.J), was the one who proposed the holiday in 1882. It became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland officially declared it as such, and it was celebrated with parades, athletic events and parties since then.
It’s been said workers eked out a living in the late 1800s by working 12 hour days, 7 days a week where children as young as 5 or 6 were toiling in factories, mines and mills across the US.
Prior to 1894, laborers who chose to celebrate this day had to forfeit their wages for the day.
Labor Day as Nationwide Holiday
Through the centuries it has been regarded as appropriate to assign honor where it is due, the American worker. This is the way the nation pays tribute by celebrating Labor Day by means of street parades, barbecues, picnics, fireworks and other festivities. This is also the time when the summer school holidays end, and it is time to go back to school again.
Modern Day Labor Day
People all over the United States of America view the modern Labor Day celebrations as a means to gather together as friends and family to enjoy barbecues, picnics and say goodbye to summer and shout one last hurrah before school starts again.
In Chicago, Americans celebrate Labor Day in style with their annual Chicago Jazz Festival that normally runs through from the Thursday to the Sunday. In 2011, the people in Chicago had endless fun as they showed off their dancing moves and jived the day away in Grant Park where they could strut their stuff by dancing to live music for at least two hours or more on a 4,900 square foot dance floor out in the open.
Various dance moves could be seen such as the Mexican Polka on Thursday, the salsa on Friday, then the lindy hop and swing on Saturday, and finally the Fox Trot on Sunday. Great fun was had by all and the Americans are sure to do the same this year when they get to celebrate Labor Day on September 3, 2012.