Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #24: Labor Day

Thirteen Things About Labor Day

1. Celebrated the in the United States on the first Monday of September, Labor Day has become the “unofficial” end of summer as pools, beaches and amusement parks close for the season and schools re-open.

2. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, organized by The Central Labor Union. The CLU held its second Labor Day holiday a year later, on September 5, 1883.

3. The first Monday in September was selected as the holiday in 1884, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow New York’s example and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

4. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886, with the first state bill passed into law by Oregon on February 21, 1887. Many other states followed suit over the next several years and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

5. As outlined in the first proposal of the holiday, the observance and celebration of Labor Day was 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. Speeches by prominent citizens were added later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday.

6. In recent years, huge parades, speeches and political demonstrations are more the exception than the norm, though many local union organizations still hold large picnics for their members.

7. Local celebrations include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and marathons. In Michigan, it has become tradition for residents to walk across the Mackinac Bridge, while many other cities hold annual community events such as the Taste of Madison in Wisconsin.

8. Though many schools start a week or two before Labor Day, the weekend still signifies the end of summer and is one of the busiest weekends at campgrounds across the United States.

9. An old custom dictates against wearing white after Labor Day and before Memorial Day (last Monday in May). The custom is rooted in popular fashion etiquette, which originally stated that white shoes were the taboo while white or "winter white" clothes were acceptable. Challenged by leaders of the fashion industry, this custom has all but faded from popularity.

10. The Jerry Lewis Telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) was first broadcast over Labor Day weekend in 1966, by one TV station in New York City and raised more than $1 million. It is now shown on 190 “MDA Love Network" stations across the country, beginning Sunday evening and continuing nearly 22 hours until Monday evening.

11. The original intent was that the entire telethon be shown with only obligatory pauses for local station identification. However, in 1968 WHEC in Rochester decided to break in for a few minutes every hour to show local volunteers taking calls. As a result, WHEC had higher proceeds than all other Love Network stations. It proved so successful that all other networks adopted the current format of local cutaways.

12. With few exceptions, Jerry’s goal of “one dollar more” than the previous year’s total has more than been met every year. One exception was 2005, following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Despite the base goal being reduced, the telethon still managed to raise more than $54 million. Jerry and his guests urged viewers to give to The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, with MDA donating $1 million to The Salvation Army. In 2006, the final tally was $61,013,855.

13. Songs that reference Labor Day include
Famous Last Words by Billy Joel, Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett and A Place in the Sun by Tim McGraw.


(Sources: Dept. of Labor and Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon)

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1. Jennifer McK 2. Elle 3. Robin 4. Adelle 5. Savannah
6. Rae 7. Morgan St John 8. Tempest 9. Paige
10. Lia 11. Lanie Fuller 12. Gina 13. Imogen 14. JAC
15. Debbie 16. Esmerelda Bishop 17. Stella
18. Jane E. Jones 19. Rhonda Stapleton 20. Tara Nichols
21. Amelia June

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Anonymous said...

I now know so much more about Labor Day than I counted on when I set off exploring this morning.

Thanks for the chance to learn. :)

Happy TT


Anonymous said...

I just saw you were from Wisconsin while exploring more of your blog.

I hope you were someone place that didn't see too much flooding. I'm in Southeast Wisconsin and came out pretty lucky in my direct area.

Have a good Thursday.


Darla said...

Oh, that's interesting--I didn't know half this stuff. I did, however, walk across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day when I was a kid.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

You're just brilliant to find out all this stuff.

Fort Bragg, California has Paul Bunyan Days which I think is so cool.

Have a wonderful long weekend, Heather.

Gina Ardito aka Katherine Brandon said...

Very cool! Thanks for the facts, Sgt. Friday. :-)

Unknown said...

Here where I live, Labor Day means one more week and the kids go back to school Woot! We have a big fair in our small town. Yay!
Happy T13!

Robin L. Rotham said...

I remember when Labor Day used to signal back to school, but my kids go back mid-August -- woot! :D

Very informative TT!

Abby Niles said...

I learn something new everday!! Thanks for being my lesson today!

Paige Tyler said...

Interesting facts!


My TT is at

Lia said...

Our county fair is always the weekend after Labor Day. We are having a big cook-out at Mom and Dad's on Monday.

Elle Fredrix said...

Happy long weekend! It's Labour Day weekend here in Canada too.

Hmm. I wonder if we share some of the history. I'll need to check into that and see if there's more than just a spelling difference! (Labour/Labor)

Amelia June said...

Well I'm thrilled to have an extra day with my hard-working hubby, that's for sure :) Enjoy your time off!

Happy TT!

Heather said...

Xakara~ You're welcome and thank you for stopping by. I'm in the Madison area, so there has been some flooding around the lakes and creeks, but not too bad where I am. Glad your area is okay, too! And now we get a few days to dry out--yay!

Darla~ I've driven across the bridge, but the walk sounds so much more fun.

Jenn~ Paul Bunyon in California? How cool! Hope you have a good weekend, too!

Heather said...

Gina~ Sgt. Friday? ROFL

Adelle & Robin~ Kids here used to start the week before Labor Day, but then the Dept. of Tourism started complaining about losing summer help before the last big tourist weekend, so now the state has a law that schools can't start until the Tuesday after. Heaven forbid education interfer with tourism!

Lia~ What time do we eat? :D

Paige & Esmeralda~ Happy to enrich your minds! *grin*

Unknown said...

Very cool list!
I didn't know half that stuff.
Thanks for the info!

Bethanne said...

I'm with X. It's like a fun short history lesson. ;-)

Thanks for doing that research. I always loved and still do love Labor day for the parades and the change of season. LOVE THE FALL.

Savannah Chase said...

wow never knew all this stuff, thank you for the info...very cool

my T13

Debbie Mumford said...

Great information! I love learning new stuff.

Angela's Designs said...

I used to watch the telethon all the time. Know that song on the country stations these days about it being a different world when we were kids? Lead-based painted cribs. 3 channels we had to get up to change. Things like that. I liked TV more when there were fewer channels and everyone liked the same programs.

Rhonda Helms said...

Holy crap, you're a wealth of knowledge...thanks for sharing all these labor day facts!!

Heather said...

Elle~ The mutual holiday probably does spring from the same roots. I can't imagine working conditionsin the 1800s were any better in Canada than they were here. Happy Labour Day!

Amelia~ Enjoy the long weekend with your husband!

Jane, Savannah, Debbie ~ You're welcome, and thank YOU for stopping by!

Morgan~ Love the fall, too - it's my favorite time of year!

Rhonda~ What can I say? I'm good at research when I wanna be. *g*

Heather said...

Annalee~ We grew up watching the telethon, too. Still tune in for a few hours here and there when I'm home. I hear ya about too many channels, too. There are about 20 channels I never watch that I have to pay for in order to get a few that I do watch. And as for getting up to change the about the days when there wasn't 24-hr programming? I can remember falling asleep while babysitting and waking up to that Indian signing off the broadcast for the night.

Unknown said...

So much information that I didn't know. Thank you!