Saturday, August 27, 2016
The Labor Day holiday is celebrated on the first Monday in September. This is the same day that Canada celebrates their Labor Day holiday. This year, that date is September 5, 2016.
The history of Labor Day in the U.S. goes back to the labor movement of the late 1800s and became an official federal holiday in 1894, celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. Prior to 1894, workers who wanted to participate in Labor Day parades would forfeit a day's pay.
Over the ensuing decades, Labor has come to symbolize something else, too. In defiance of the Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox signaling the beginning and ending of the summer season, Labor Day has become the unofficial end of the summer season that unofficially started on Memorial Day weekend (the fourth Monday in May in the U.S.).
Labor Unions had first appeared in the late 1700s. As America changed from an agrarian society into an industrial one, these labor unions became more vocal and began to organize rallies and strikes in protest of poor working conditions and low wages. Many of these events turned violent. One prominent such incident was the Haymarket Riot of 1886 where several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Other rallies were of a more positive nature such as September 5, 1882, when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off from their jobs and held the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history when they marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City.
It was another 12 years before Congress legalized the holiday. This was primarily brought about on May 11, 1894, when employees at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. Then on June 26, the American Railroad Union called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars thus crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the government sent troops to Chicago. The resulting riots resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. As a result, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in all states, the District of Columbia and the territories (many of which later became states).
And now, more than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day still hasn't been identified.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Every month has its collection of strange, weird, and obscure holidays—at least one per day—many of which are unknown to the general public. And, needless to say, holidays that are not recognized as days when we would have a paid holiday at work, days that the schools and banks and government offices are closed and where there is no mail delivery. But still holidays to be celebrated and enjoyed in their own quirky fashion.
I realize we're already half way through the month, but here's a collection of obscure and unusual August celebrations.
Let's start with month long celebrations. For August you have: Admit You're Happy Month, Family Fun Month, National Catfish Month, National Eye Exam Month, National Golf Month (I'd better make sure my brother knows about this one), Peach Month, Romance Awareness Month, Water Quality Month, National Picnic Month.
And then there are the week long celebrations. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week. The second week of the month is National Smile Week. The third week is Friendship Week. And the fourth week is Be Kind To Humankind Week.
And the daily celebrations: I found it interesting that 10 of the 31 days in August had holidays connected to food (are we seeing an ongoing theme here?). Some of the dates had more than one holiday attached to them.
August 1) National Raspberry Cream Pie Day
August 2) National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
August 3) National Watermelon Day
August 4) U.S. Coast Guard Day
August 5) Work Like A Dog Day
August 6) National Mustard Day (the first Saturday in August)
August 6) Wiggle Your Toes Day
August 7) Sisters Day (first Sunday in August)
August 7) International Forgiveness Day (first Sunday in August)
August 7) Friendship Day (the first Sunday in August)
August 7) National Lighthouse Day
August 8) Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day
Apparently zucchini is one of the most prolific plants with a single plant producing what seems to be an endless supply of zucchini. By the time August arrives, gardeners have far more zucchini than they can possibly use. After giving away as much as they can to family and friends, desperate growers seek desperate measures to rid themselves of the overflow. And that gives us the name of the holiday…sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor's porch day.
August 9) Book Lover's Day
Book Lover's Day encourages you to find a comfortable place, relax, and enjoy a good book. If you happen to fall asleep in that gently swaying hammock while reading, that's perfectly okay. There is some disagreement about when this holiday is celebrated. August 9th is the most widely accepted date. Some celebrate it on the first Saturday in November. My suggestion? Celebrate both days.
August 10) Lazy Day
August 10) National S'mores Day
August 11) Presidential Joke Day
August 12) Middle Child's Day
August 13) Left Hander's Day
August 14) National Creamsicle Day
August 14/15) V-J Day (end of World War II)
August 15) Relaxation Day
For people with a hectic lifestyle, this is the day to kick back and do nothing…just relax. Take a break from your busy work and personal schedule. If something stresses you out, this is the day to ignore it.
August 16) National Tell A Joke Day
August 17) National Thrift Shop Day
August 18) Bad Poetry Day
August 19) Aviation Day
August 20) National Radio Day
August 21) Senior Citizen's Day
August 22) Be An Angel Day
August 22) National Tooth Fairy Day (and/or February 28)
August 23) Ride The Wind Day
This is a carefree day, a time to soar above the earth. Catch a ride on the breeze or float like a cloud. Summer will soon be over. Take advantage of this day to relax and leave your worries behind. Fly a kite. Enjoy the final days of summer.
August 24) Vesuvius Day
August 25) Kiss And Make Up Day
August 26) National Dog Day
August 26) Women's Equality Day
August 27) Global Forgiveness Day
August 27) Just Because Day
August 28) Race Your Mouse Day (but in today's society are we talking rodent or computer?)
August 29) More Herbs, Less Salt Day
August 30) Frankenstein Day
There are 3 versions of this day. This one is in honor of author Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, who was born August 30, 1797. There is also Frankenstein Friday and National Frankenstein Day, both celebrated in October. Confused? Celebrate all 3 days.
August 30) Toasted Marshmallow DayAugust 31) National Trail Mix Day