Labor Day Celebrations
The founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, once said "Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year in any country....All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
It was in 1884 when Labor Day was first proclaimed to be a federal holiday in the U.S. More than 100 years after, the occassion is going from strength to strength and is still held as the holiday that honours and appreciates the contribution of each worker on whose shoulders the nation rests.
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday -- a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This set a pattern for the future celebrations of Labor Day.
Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September, a custom that has been followed since the inception of the holiday. It is a day of rest for every American worker.
As for public celebrations, Labor Day is observed mostly through parades. Parades are annually organised in places like Manhattan, Brooklyn and Detroit. In many places rallies and political demonstrations are organised which highlight the problems faced by workers and strives to find ways for the betterment of their lives. Speeches by union leaders and political figures in these rallies attempt to create a general awareness about the condition of American labourers.
However, festive celebrations form the main and the most joyous part of Labor Day observances. Be it Detroit or Manchester, working families take part in rallies, march in the parades and even organise picnics with their loved ones.
Meat delicacies, especially barbecues, form the main attraction of the Labor Day feasts. For kids and teenagers, it is the last opportunity to have some clean festive fun before schools reopen and they have to go back to their studies.