Labor Day is always a festive way to round off summertime. As an American tradition, it is a time for families and friends to gather for barbecues, conversations, and remembrances of summer days. Since this year beaching has been such a glorious event on Long Island, that topic will be one to surely discuss. I've noticed in the past that no one talks about the significance of Labor Day while at barbecues so I thought I would research the history as a point of conversation.
I usually place antique postcards from my ephemera collection in the entranceway to signify the celebration of a holiday. Since I do not have a specific one for Labor Day, I searched the web and found the image to the right. It reminds me that Labor Day was originally created to honor the labor movement in the United States. As the Department of Labor says, "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." My grandparents, mother, and my husband's father were part of the workforce and so I honor and celebrate their efforts. The last line of the Labor Day vintage postcard, "Labour will refresh itself with hope," speaks of the positivity arising from America's growth as a nation of laborers. Hope is what moves us forward.
In 1894, Labor Day officially became a national holiday, celebrating all that to be honored by American workers. Parades and picnics have marked the passage of time since then. Beachgoers flock to the shore for the last days of summer vacation. Activities that occurred in the past are still part of the Labor Day tradition today. As you can see beaching was always popular in the New York City area.
|On the beach at Coney Island (1902)|
Today starts the Labor Day weekend on Long Island. There is much to celebrate and many activities and sales listed in the newspaper. Labor Day weekend always seems to be a three-part event in my home. Yesterday on day one, my family and friends took a short jaunt to the Atlantic Ocean as we usually do each Saturday. That beach trip had a different spin though. While walking on the shoreline my friend and I got lost. Can you imagine? Because it was so crowded we lost our sense of direction. The comical part was that another beachgoer knew that we needed help just by the quizzical looks on our faces. We finally found our way back to our spot on the beach just in time to attend the outdoor mass. Day two will be a barbecue with the same friends. I am sure that our story of getting lost will be joked about. To top off the holiday we will attend a modernized version of the old-fashioned community picnic. It will be held at the golf/swimming club we used to be members of during my children's childhood. The barbecue will bring together friends and acquaintances who will enjoy fond remembrances of the past.
Which if any of the activities that I have described will be part of your Labor Day celebrations this year?
Now please visit Ruth Ayres' Celebrate This Week to see how other bloggers have celebrated their week leading up to Labor Day.
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