Last updated on May 3rd, 2023 at 07:57 pm
We all know that workers are an integral part of our economy. They provide their labor to businesses in exchange for wages. In turn, companies use this labor to produce goods and services. Labor Day was first recognized in the 1800s. This is when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize workers’ contributions to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. Recognizing the labor force’s contribution to our society is now celebrated through Labor Day events.
During the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to survive financially. Even children aged 5 or 6 worked hard in mills, factories, and mines to earn wages. Labor unions grew more prominent and began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions. Moreover, their goal was to compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay as manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment.
The first Labor Day Events parade happened on September 5, 1882. This is when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off. They marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. Twelve years later, Congress finally legalized the holiday, bringing workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view.
Celebrating Labor Day Around The World
Labor Day Events are celebrated on May 1 in more than 160 countries. However, the holiday falls on the first Monday of September in the United States and Canada. In the UK and Ireland, it is the first Monday after May 1. It is the first or second Monday in March, May, and October in Australia, depending on the state’s fourth Monday in October in New Zealand.
The deep roots of Labor Day Events come from 130 years of the labor movement and its efforts to improve conditions across the globe. Some argue that it is just as relevant today to highlight the challenges workers still encounter. The celebration is often a day for parades, demonstrations, and sometimes riots in major cities worldwide. Protests can include women’s rights, immigrant working conditions, and the erosion of workers’ needs. These usually happen on May 1 and are often called May Day Protests.
May 1 And September Labor Day Celebrations
The demand for labor and trade unions started growing during the Industrial Revolution. In the 1850s, eight-hour movements worldwide aimed to reduce the working day from ten to eight hours. At its first meeting of Congress in 1886, the American Federation of Labor called for a general strike on May 1 to demand an eight-hour day. This culminated in what is known today as the Haymarket Riot. And during 1889, a European federation of socialist parties and trade unions designated May 1 as International Workers Day. To this day, May 1 has become the symbol for worker’s rights worldwide.
On the other hand, the first Labor Day celebration in the US was held on September 5, 1882, in New York. Congress passed the celebration as a federal holiday in 1894. The holiday now falls on the first Monday in September because many consider it a more politically neutral date. However, May Day protests are still common in the US.
Celebrating In The United Kingdom
May Day is a bank holiday in the UK and coincides with International Workers’ Day, also known as Labor Day.
People in the communities come together to celebrate May Day with village fetes and other gatherings. Local girls enter May Queen competitions in honor of the Roman goddess Flora. The chosen girl wears a white dress and a crown of flowers and walks at the front of the May Day parade. They often erect a maypole with ribbons attached, which people – primarily children – would hold onto while dancing.
Traditions In Finland
In Finland, people see Labor Day as the arrival of spring and numerous festival student traditions. Just about everyone gets in on the action. May Day and the preceding evening represent the biggest party of the year. All over Finland, people dust off their white secondary-school graduation caps and wear them around town, and the parks fill with picnicking partiers of all ages.
Labor Day In Australia
The first Labor Day parade was held in Melbourne on April 21, 1856. Australians celebrate Labor Day at different times across the country because each state recognizes achieving the eight-hour workday on other dates. The celebration starts with a parade across Australia that reminds citizens of union advances on behalf of workers. Many people relax, spend time with friends and family on this long weekend, play or watch sports, and have barbecues. Some plan getaways to a coastal region, the mountains, or the countryside, where they can engage in activities such as picnics, wine tastings, bush-walking, or camping. Throughout the nation, Labor Day is an occasion for unions, community groups, and the general public to join in the celebration.
Celebrating In America
People in towns and cities across the USA celebrate Labor Day with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, this celebration represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 ensures that Labor Day always falls on a Monday so federal employees can have more three-day weekends. The Act, signed into law on June 28, 1968, moved Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day to fixed Mondays each year.
Recognizing This Important Day In Canada
Traditionally, Canadians celebrate Labor Day with parades and picnics. This is also an opportunity to take a late summer trip, perhaps to a country cottage, or enjoy the company of family and friends at picnics, fairs, festivals, and fireworks displays. Labor Day weekend is also often students’ last chance to celebrate with a party or trip before school reopens for the new academic year. Canadian football fans may spend the weekend watching the Labor Day Classic matches live or on television.
Labor Day honors the hard work of workers across the globe. Labor activists designated this special day to celebrate the achievements and sacrifices of laborers across all industries. In the present day, this National holiday has become the perfect time to rest and celebrate.
Rick Kaselj MS, is a leading kinesiologist and injury specialist as well as co-creator of the best-selling Unlock Your Hip Flexors program. Rick creates exercise programs that help people heal injuries and eliminate pain, so they can go back to living a full, active, healthy life.