What Does Labor Day Mean to You?
07 Sep 2020
Labor Day Should be Celebrated in Each Country of the World
Labor Day has already begun. It is 2020, and people continue to observe it, and yes, they even celebrate it in the controversial times of global pandemic. September 7 is yet another Monday, but citizens of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, as well as Guam have a day off when this date comes.
The labor movement of the late 19th century instigated this holiday, making it a federal one in 1894. Moreover, even after Labor Day ends, the Labor Day weekend will last. Will people of the above-mentioned countries rest more during these September days? It cannot be said for sure. However, it often entails the symbolism of the last moments of summer, and Americans used to organize various events during this week, trying to be especially gleeful and active. Unfortunately, many sports events, joyful parties and parades had to be canceled because of the malicious coronavirus that has not come to its end yet. At least, some companies allow their employees to work less and spend their precious last “summer” time with their families.
Do People Have to Celebrate Labor Day and What are its Origins?
Labor Day occurs once a year to honor every single worker, their strivings, efforts, and achievements. While the meaning behind the holiday seems to be an upright one, it stems from a gloomy history.
Americans of the late 1800s could not only imagine themselves as freelancers, free artists who receive decent salaries, they even could not believe that the time would come and people would normally work 8 hours a day and even less. Despite being an influential civilization progress contributor, the Industrial Revolution was an embodiment of “the evil Mistress” who made people work no less than 12 hours per day, and an average worker did not know that the weekend existed. Despite such daily toil, they hardly earned a living, muddling through their lives as some downcast creatures. What is more horrible, even children had to work unbelievably hard in various factories, mines, and mills for the sake of miserable salaries. Only a few states restricted children’s work.
Immigrants and Strikes
Being an immigrant was another pandemonium, as they were usually poor, without friends and “connections”, so they had to work in terrible life-threatening conditions, lacking fresh air and sanitary facilities. Breaks were limited, sometimes improvised when the “master” did not see how the employees endeavor to have a rest.
However, people, as social beings, tend to help each other as well, and stand by each other’s sides. Gradually, miscellaneous labor unions emerged, becoming more protuberant and rebellious day by day. People started getting together, sharing their opinions, stories of the-then employment injustice, and pondering on plans aimed to break the discriminating system. Therefore, various demonstrations and protests were organized to fight against the poor conditions, to finally be heard.
Apparently, violence on both sides could not be avoided. When people become angry, the war begins. Thus, we can recollect the ill-famed Haymarket Riot that happened in 1886: it took lives of both Chicago workers and policemen. Other riots were less unfortunate, so they resulted in people-unifying traditions, such as taking days off and marching along the streets. The historical event of such a march happened in September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers left their workplaces to walk from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. It is often called the original Labor Day parade in U.S. history. It inspired many other states, especially industrial centers, and everyone involved decided to celebrate a widespread day off on the first Monday in September. As it often happens on the political level, the Congress did not hasten to legalize such a holiday. It took 12 years and instigated another bloodshed to make this holiday a legal one. The Pullman Palace Car Company employees started a strike to protest against their diminished salaries’ cuts. It happened on May 11, 1894 in Chicago. Later, in June, the American Railroad Union organized a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, which caused railroad traffic all over the states. Governmental troops were sent to Chicago, which simultaneously caused terrible riots that also had lethal victims.
Finally, the Congress Made a Decision
The Congress had to be benevolent, as the situation was fully out of control. In order to calm the massive unrest down and show respect towards American workers, the special act was passed to make Labor Day a legal holiday. Initially, it was legalized in the District of Columbia and the nearby territories. It was turned into the genuine law on June 28, 1894 by President Grover Cleveland. However, it is still difficult to find the primary founder of the workers’ holiday.
Some people say that Peter J. McGuire is responsible for it, as a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. There are also suggestions that a secretary of the Central Labor Union Matthew Maguire was the one who offered to create such a universally American celebration.
Nowadays, Labor Day is distinguished in practically all cities and towns throughout the United States. Citizens take part in flamboyant parades, make family barbecues, and fireworks usually brightly light up the labor-day skies. Nonetheless, everything has become slightly different in 2020.
Is This September’s Celebration Safe for People? Still Waiting for Mass Media Reports…
Celebrations have started even despite the pandemic, despite the concerns that were previously expressed by healthcare representatives. Obviously, Covid-19 cases can increase if many people get together, participating in the usual celebrations. The consequences after the Independence Day celebration seem to be not as enlightening as they had to be…
Besides Labor Day, it is September in all its glory: students go back to schools and universities, and the number of people in towns and cities is rapidly growing. Of course, besides celebrating, they want to play their favorite basketball and baseball, and it is impossible to set radical restrictions on it all. Will this first Monday of September be critical, resulting in many negative outcomes? The only hope is left that happy emotions will overcome all the fears and uncertainties.
Celebrate Work, Celebrate Rest!
The paradox of leisure for the sake of work-related celebration is completely justifiable. It means we all need to have a rest, but we are not lazybones at all. Unlike the ability and desire to work, idleness is not celebrated as a virtue, of course. However, we can also rest not only joyfully, but also creatively to feel how our resources are being revitalized, bringing a new self-fulfillment.
No matter the coronavirus threat, it can be stated that Labor Day is a worthy holiday that reminds us how important it is to work diligently and cooperate with each other peacefully. Let us find an equilibrium between work and leisure, filling our minds with positive thoughts. After all, each prolific weekend can be transformed into our personal Labor Day, and its exclusiveness is beyond question.