It's been *mumblemumble* years ago, but I once had a kiddo in my preschool class ask me how did the stork know to bring all the babies on one day. I was perplexed and I guess I looked it, because this sincere little face looked at me and further asked if all the babies are born on the same day, then why did all the kids in his class have different birthdays.
Can a person look even more perplexed than previously? Cause I have to tell you, I did.
The inquisitive young soul then advised me that his mommy's labor day was coming soon. He knew this because his daddy had said that his mommy would labor and then he would have a baby brother or sister.
The light dawned.
It was Friday and I had been talking to my little class about the fact that we would not be having preschool on Monday because it was Labor Day. My little guy's mother was pregnant and due at any time. His father had told him she would "go into labor".
So, the equation began to make sense. Mommy's who are pregnant have a special holiday named for when they go pick up the new baby brother/sister from the stork and bring them home.
Don't you love the convoluted and yet, intriguing, mind of a 4 year old preschooler?
It is Labor Day today and, while there are possibly many, many, MANY women out there who are delivering a child (we won't go into the stork factor *grins*) today, this holiday was not specifically designed with them in mind.
It is also not a holiday specifically designed to signal the end of summer, the beginning of school and/or professional football season, the last weekend to wear white until Easter, the eating of grilled meats, picnics, boating on the lake, last minute vacations, simply sleeping late because you don't have to work, or the only weekend the stores will ever, ever, EVER have prices THIS low. (please insert sarcastic smirk here ... thank you)
Not that all those things haven't been attached to this weekend, in some form or another, but that is not the actual reason for the holiday.
Like every other holiday, it has been commercialized and/or twisted from one ideal to another. Easter is not actually about bunnies and eggs ... Thanksgiving is not actually about turkey and football ... Christmas is not actually about santas and presents ... well, okay ... it is about presents - but only in the truest sense of the Word - due to Christ's birth being the biggest gift ever - however that's the point of a blog for another time, today's rambling words are referencing Labor Day.
So ... moving forward ... I knew that Labor Day had begun as a celebration of the work force, however, to be honest, I wasn't completely sure when/how it came into being. So I did a bit of looking around. Here's what I found:
Per the U.S. Department of Labor ... "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
Per PBS.org ... "The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise."
Per Wikipedia ... (no quote here, I'm gonna do a bit of summerizing) ... the holiday originated in Canada out of labor disputes in the 1870s and was brought to America after labor leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labor festivals in Toronto. The first labor day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. Once all 50 states had made labor day a state holiday, each year street parades were organized to celebrate the labor forces and were followed by festivals for the workers and their families.
All righty then.
Evidently the family picnics and the gatherings of peoples ... on land or water ... are originally parts of this holiday. Of course, there should also be parades, political speeches and tributes for the working force of this country. That part must have gotten lost amongst the sales for washers and dryers, the packing away of white shoes and clothing, and the clogging of the highways returning from that last vacation before settling in for a season of NFL football.
Granted, the plight of the workers is not as deathly as the 1880's, nor do striking workforces riot, burn, & pillage causing state and federal forces to respond in force. Yet, we do have a recession right now, unemployment is rampant, and poverty/homelessness is epidemic.
Perhaps we SHOULD take atleast a few minutes to actually think about what this day means as we make up the potato salad and fire up the grill after we slept in until noon ... on this day we take as the proverbial end of summer ... don't get me started on the fact that autumn does not begin until September 22nd which means we still have 15 days before the ACTUAL end of summer ... I'll wait for another blog to ramble on that. Right now I have to go back to watching dvds in my jammies, eating a donut, and enjoying a lazy afternoon with girlies and pup before going back to work tomorrow.
Happy Labor Day!