If you’re like me, then you have no idea why we celebrate Labor Day in the United States. That makes me feel ignorant when I first think about it. But consider it, if you asked everyone in the U.S. why we celebrate all the holidays, would any single person be able to answer it? Exactly. So we’re allowed a freebie or two. Anyway, as I laid pondering my life and the future, I began to consider things outside my sphere of influence.
That’s what brought me to this point. I googled (yes it’s a word) Labor Day to find out the true essence behind such a symbolic holiday. Let’s consider what this holiday represents in our everyday lives before we explore the origin. When you think Labor Day, what comes to mind? For me, number 1 is that it means summer is over. Labor Day is everyone’s last chance to go as big as possible and get as much of the lackadaisical attitude out of their system as they can before school/real life begins again.
The sun begins to set on the ‘never-ending summer’ that everyone starts dreaming up in late April when the leaves come and the rains stop. Your body starts to wind down from all the UV-induced highs everyday, and settle into more of a sedative state, signified by half-opened eyes and pale fluorescent glows on everyone’s skin. Music selection changes as you get ready for fall; with a drop in tempo and a switch from dance-tastic songs to a melancholy vibe with copious amounts of lyrics. Thoughts fade from bathing suits, beaches, beers, and boats to textbooks, emails, and staying in on weekends.
That is when you know it’s approaching Labor Day. Kinda depressing right? Well if this next bit of information doesn’t cheer you up, you should check your moral fiber and make sure it’s intact. I found out that Labor Day started as a holiday to appreciate all laborers in the United States. During that time (early 1880’s), there had been numerous incidents of workers’ severe injuries or deaths. The president at the time, Grover Cleveland, wanted to reduce unfavorable opinions of himself and ensure the happiness of his citizens; which pushed the holiday into action in 1882.
The holiday was instantly welcomed with warmth from nearly every labor union in the country. The main celebration was to consist of every town in the States to throw a parade in the workers’ honor. From there, the parties and celebrations have grown among American citizens’ families and homes. Soon, neighborhoods were having block parties, families and college students were BBQ’ing every day of the three-day weekend, people flocked to vacation spots to have ‘one last fling’ with the beautiful and flirty season named Summer.
That tradition has only grown stronger as the years have passed. Every family or group of friends I have ever interacted with have all taken part in Labor Day celebrations. The reason is the holiday bypasses all racial and sexual barriers. Even those people at the top contribute to the sanctity of the holiday because it is a celebration of everyone in the entire country and their efforts. That’s what makes Labor Day such an exciting and symbolic time of year for all Americans. Everyone else is letting their hair down one last time and pushing the limits of their alcohol tolerances or skin’s propensity to get burned from excessive sun exposure. For me, I don’t care that it’s the end of summer (and not just because I don’t have to go back to school), because it unites neighbors, friends, and everyone else you have ever met.
OK, yes I know this is excessively cheesy, but sometimes you just have to indulge yourself and give into the emotions that summer and the holidays evoke. That’s what I’ve done, so sue me. No but seriously, take this knowledge to heart, for whenever you may feel down on your own life, just know that you personally have a national holiday that literally every single person will want to celebrate with you. Wow. That’s a cool feeling. Stay positive, and stay confident. If you can’t, remember Labor Day; for all those who came before us and established our country as one of the greatest in the entire world, and of course, for yourself. Why you? For extending and expanding the tradition of this amazing and unique holiday, and for just being alive and contributing to society. Enjoy YOUR holiday readers.