Labor Day and a Giveaway!

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Hi! Winnie Griggs here.
Since today is Labor Day, (and I’m on deadline for a book that’s due tomorrow 🙂 ) I thought I’d reprise a post from a couple of years ago that has some history and trivia  surrounding this holiday. And since I’m cheating a bit, to make it up to you all, I’ll also give away a copy of any book from my backlist to one of today’s commenters.

The U.S. is not the only or even the first country to set aside an observance for the working class. The observance, as we know it, originated in Canada in the 1870s. A number of European countries have May Day celebrations that have a similar focus.

As for who initially proposed Labor Day in this country, opinions are split. Most historians consider Peter McGuire the Father of Labor Day in the U.S. He was an Irish-American cabinet maker who was also the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. But there is another camp who contends it was actually a different McGuire – a machinist named Matthew McGuire – who was responsible.

Without labor nothing prospers.
~Sophocles

The first Labor Day celebration in the U.S. was celebrated on September 5, 1882 (which was a Tues. by the way, not a Monday). It was held in New York City’s Union Square and was designed to ease tensions with city workers after numerous strikes and outbreaks of violence.

The first Labor Day parade was held the following year in September of 1883. More than 10,000 workers took an unpaid holiday in order to participate. The event was in actuality a rally of laborers calling for an 8 hour work day (at this time 12 hour work days were the norm).

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.
~Ovid

Though the movement started in the east, the first state to declare Labor Day a state Holiday was Oregon. From there it moved to Colorado, New York and Massachusetts. So you can say it had a west to east progression.

It was 12 years after that first celebration, in June of 1894, that Labor Day became a national holiday. Grover Cleveland was President at the time. He was a staunch opponent of organized labor groups but he actually pushed hard for this in an attempt to quell the unrest that was erupting in labor riots across the nation.

By the time Labor Day was declared a federal holiday, it was already a state holiday in thirty states.

If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end,
it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.
~Doug Larson

Other Fun Facts:

  • The old-school rule about not wearing white after labor day is thought to have to do with the fact that in earlier years, the wealthy wore white linen suite and Panama hats as they escaped to fancy summer resorts. When they returned to the sooty, dusty, grimier cities of the work-a-day world, they once again donned their drabber clothing.
  • The first Waffle House restaurant opened for business on Labor Day in 1955.
  • Once touted as a day to celebrate the working class, Labor Day has taken on the added significance of being a day that marks the following milestones:
    • The end of summer
    • The beginning of the school year
    • The unofficial kickoff of the NFL season
    • And, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog season begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
  • According to U.S. Highway accident stats, Labor Day weekend is one of the most dangerous weekends to be on the road. The likely cause – many high schoolers and collegians consider it the last party weekend before heading back to school.
  • Labor Day ranks third in the list of popular days for barbecuing, right behind Independence Day and Memorial Day.

There you have it, the highlights I discovered when digging through the facts and lore surrounding Labor Day.

So were any of these footnotes new to you?  And do you do anything special to celebrate the day?

 

And remember, I’m giving away a copy of winner’s choice of any of my books to someone who leaves a comment today!

Winnie Griggs
Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/WinnieGriggs.Author or email her at winnie@winniegriggs.com.
Updated: September 6, 2015 — 2:39 pm

35 Comments

  1. I’ve know since I was young the adage “No white after Labor Day,” but hadn’t known any theories of its origins. I know that I have heard or read in fashion musings that that rule doesn’t exist anymore. Which is good, because I am always rushing out the door and never took time to change out my white purse. I carried the same white purse for a year! haha

    1. Hi Terrill (Love that name!) I too have a favorite purse – when I find one I like I use it year round, regardless of season. Glad to see I’m not alone in this 🙂

      1. Thank you, Winnie. It’s funny, because I just shared a whole story about my name on Davalynn Spencer’s post last week. I really appreciate the compliment.

  2. I had looked up Labor Day to explain it to someone. So I new most of the facts listed. We cook out. Weather will be changing soon so it would be one of the last.

    1. Hi Debra! I love a good cookout – it’s a perfect way to celebrate the day!

  3. Labor Day in my youth was always the last weekend before school started and since I loved school, Labor Day was always a highly anticipated holiday. As for white not being worn after Labor Day, well I knew the rule but never followed it due to not having shoes that weren’t white.

    I would love to win one of your books.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Hi Cindy! Thanks for stopping by. I wish schools still waited until after Labor Day to open. It seems like it gets earlier and earlier every year.

  4. What a great post, Winnie…so interesting! Today, we will be celebrating my grandson’s birthday! One of the best days ever!!!!!!!!

    1. Hello Melanie, a double celebration, how fun!

  5. Interesting post, thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re quite welcome – thanks for stopping by.

  6. Happy Fall! No special plans.

    1. Thanks. And I have no special plans either, other than finishing this stubborn book I’m working on!!

  7. Happy Labor Day! We always have a family BBQ… I did not know about when Waffle House opened…

    1. Hi Colleen. Barbecue sounds yummy! Thanks for stopping by

  8. I didn’t know any of the earlier facts of when it started – I would have guessed a lot later. Thanks – I always enjoy learning new facts!

    1. Hi catslady! Glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you’re enjoying a really fun Labor Day!

  9. There were a few new tid-bits in the facts you listed. All interesting.
    We usually get together with family for a cookout. We did again this year, but did it on Sunday. We all had stuff going on and it worked out better that way. We spent the weekend working on projects. I was getting a Red Cross display ready for a POW display. My husband and son rearranged the garage/shop for a piece of equipment and wood they bought. I now have boxes of books, formerly in the garage, to go through and sort. Have been trying to get to them forever.

    1. Hi Patricia. Sounds like you are one busy lady! Good luck with your projects

  10. I didn’t know there was a Hot Dog Council or a hot dog season! Makes sense of course, I just never thought about it. I guess there is a council for everything…I bet the folks (and pigs) who made sausages and hot dogs before labor laws were put in place had it REALLY bad.

    1. Hi Susan! And LOL on your note about the pigs. Something tells me they still come out on the short end of the stick 🙂

  11. Loads of new information!!!

    Our family had our third annual Labor Day weekend camping trip! Fun time with many laughs, sharing memories, and super camp out meals!

    1. Hi Connie. Family outings are my absolute favorites.Sounds like y’all had a really fun day.

  12. The Waffle House opening on Labor Day in 1955! I love little tidbits of history like this: such as Labor Day starting out on a Tuesday. Thanks for the fun post! Jenny

  13. I never even thought about returning to the dirty disgusting city being the reason for not wearing white! And I love the Waffle House opening trivia! I rarely get to eat at one since there aren’t any in my area but I do love my scattered, smothered, and covered (sometimes with diced) hashbrowns! 😀

  14. Ah, now I know the meaning of no wearing white after Labor Day! I’ve always wondered! Interesting facts on today’s post, thanks for sharing!

  15. I enjoyed all of the historical tidbits, Winnie. Thank you for sharing. We celebrated Labor Day and our son’s 11th birthday today. It was a wonderful day!!

  16. I had no idea about Waffle House! My daughter and I were just saying yesterday we needed to go there because we haven’t been in a long time! Happy Labor Day and book writing to you!

  17. I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds so great!

  18. Hello Winnie. I know that most schools start nowadays in August but when I was going to school it never started till after labor day. And, I didn’t know there was a beginning and ending day for hot dogs. With us it is all year. I had never heard why the no whites after labor day. And I left about the end of summer so many say because most of September is gone before summer ends. But, I would love one of your books. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  19. Thank you Winnie for trivia love trivia, Waffle and Grover Cleveland was President that officially made it a holiday and all trivia facts.lad you do such great research.

  20. I love learning new tidbits…you never know when you might need an answer for trivial pursuit. 😉 We had to run to Lowe’s for 4 screws, big mistake on Labor Day! Hope you had an enjoyable holiday. Thanks for sharing with us!

  21. Being a tried and true New Englander our family always celebrated with an in-the-ground Clam Bake. The whole clan gathered (since we all lived in Rhode Island) and long tables extended down the long, long driveway! We all helped out and my grandparents did the cooking (or supervised). The menu included clam fritters, RI clam chowder (homemade) clams, little necks(now renamed to something else), fish, corn on the cob, sausage, whole onions and ended with lobster. We always had golden gingerale (not being made any more). When everything had been cleaned up out came the ice cold watermelons. It was very fortunate nobody had any seafood allergies. After the meal was over the whole family gathered for games together. We had sack races, croquet, watermelon seed spitting contests, and even a greasy tree climb for the boys and men. As kids we slept all the way home. There was definitely no need for more food.

  22. Nope nothing new to me.

  23. Winnie- No white after Labor Day, I know the rule, but I don’t follow it.
    We usually spend our Labor Day at the Indy U.S.Nationals drag races; we have now for 48 yrs. My husband & I both like fast cars & the noise (use ear plugs). Then we cook out later in the evening with our family. Your books sounds awesome, thanks for the chance to win.

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