Labor Day has oftentimes been a “party” weekend that ultimately marks the end of Summer while bringing in the expectations of Fall/Winter. This is a time for get-togethers, BBQ, and fun. People celebrate Labor Day in many different ways, from spending a family/friend weekend at home, to going out on the water, to just enjoying having an extra day added to their weekend. Who doesn’t love a long weekend, right? But there is more to the meaning of Labor Day than just an end-to-summer party. What is the meaning of Labor Day, and why do we celebrate on the first Monday in September across America and Canada? Just like with some other holidays, the meaning is in the name itself.
The basic definition of Labor Day is simply stated as a day held to honor working people. Well, if the vast majority of people have to work to survive, then why is this a celebration? Quick history lesson… In the mid 19th century, labor activists wanted to have some form of recognition for the many contributions everyday workers have made for the country. Without these important employees, where would America be today? Their dedication only enhanced and improved the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our great nation. In 1885, New York had passed an ordinance to mark the celebration for Labor Day. It took the federal government a little longer to catch on to the idea. However, on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland made it official when he signed into law an act designating the first Monday in September to be the officially acknowledged national holiday to recognize our labor force.
What did the first celebration of Labor Day look like? Well, in Manhattan in 1882, laborers took to the streets near city hall. Police were so concerned about a riot breaking out that they came out in full force. They were on high alert status, and their tension was said to be palpable. There was not a specific time for the parade march for the police to count on, and marchers did not show up until a bit later. With very little happening, those initial observers almost gave up on watching the parade. Then, before they knew it, 200 people from the Jeweler’s Union came down the street. That was the beginning of the party… In total, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 people came out to march that day!
This is all to say thank you to the working individual. The pioneers who paved the way for Labor Day are the whole reason many people can enjoy a 40-hour work week, benefits, sick/paid time off, etc. Without those fighters in the beginning, where would we all be today? So, after your hard-earned celebratory day, and when you are preparing to head back to work on Tuesday, remember to take a moment to say thank you to all who came before you who demanded that all working class individuals have the respect and recognition they deserve for their continued contributions and daily dedication to the forward progress of a great nation.
For this, and all you do, we at Yellowstone Hot Springs would like to thank you. If you didn’t get to share Labor Day with us, we are sorry we missed you. We hope you get to come out soon to enjoy a relaxing soak. If you decided to spend time with us during Labor Day weekend, we thank you and hope you had a great time. We look forward to seeing you here again soon!