Picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks…having the day off of work in order to celebrate the end of summer is awesome. But although Labor Day has become a carefree day of fun and rest, it began in a much more serious manner.
The holiday arose out of the labor movement in the late 19th century. During this time, the Industrial Revolution was at its height, and the average American was forced to work very lomg day,s seven days per week, simply to survive. Unbelievably, children as young as five years old often worked in mills, factories and mines. Due to unfair and dangerous working conditions, labor unions began to form. Sadly, as disgruntled laborers began holding strikes and protest rallies, the situations often erupted into violence.
The idea of a Labor Day holiday emerged as a peaceful way to stage a protest regarding the horrible working conditions; it is believed that the first Labor Day parade and picnic took place in New York City in September of 1882. With nearly 25,000 people in attendance, it set the stage for the establishment of an official observance. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed legislation making the first Monday of September a legal holiday, commemorating the social and economic achievements of American workers.
So as you kick back in your lounge chair over the Labor Day weekend, take a moment to reflect on the dedicated men and women from the late 1800s; and for their efforts to create the safe and fair working conditions we now take for granted in America. And don’t forget to call one of Griffin’s three Columbus area florists if you need to decorate for your Labor Day party – we have gorgeous flower arrangements of red, white and blue suitable for any gathering!