Labor Day is one of the most misunderstood and underrepresented holidays in the United States. Because it is often associated with a long, three-day weekend that commonly involves a party atmosphere, as well as sales on beds and cars, most people don’t truly understand what Labor Day is all about.
Labor Day always falls on the first Monday of September. In 1894, Labor Day became a Federal holiday (hence, why the banks and post offices are always closed). Labor Day is a representation of the 19th-century labor movement. Its purpose is to celebrate the American worker.
Labor Day, for many, signifies the end of summer (considering the timing of the holiday, that’s a reasonable connection). But Labor Day is truly intended to represent American workers who have experienced both blissful and depressing times over the century.
During the American Revolution, laborers often worked over 12+ hours a day. That’s half of an entire day that was spent grinding in a production factory for many normal Americans. Even children as young as six years old could often be found working in factories. The poor, the elderly, and many new American immigrants were subjected to incredibly long work days to fulfill the needs of budding domestic industries.
America, at its very foundation, is built on the hearts and callouses of these people (both then and now).
Labor unions found their place in American culture in the 18th century as a way to balance the scale of worker safety and worker hours. Laborers were then able to speak their minds through protests.
Railroads and car companies and coal mining factories were only a few of the companies that benefited from a domestic change in policies and awareness. Labor Day is the representation of how good or bad workplace conditions can become if we aren’t cautious with our policies.
It took time for all states to accept Labor Day as a permanent holiday, however, today there is no question that Labor Day is one of America’s biggest and most important Federal holidays.
For many in the modern world, it may always serve as a long weekend filled with parades and libations. However, the true foundation of Labor Day’s spirit is something that’s created one of the most modern and powerful and innovative countries in the world.