Come this Monday, Sept. 1, we will be celebrate Labor Day. This national holiday signals a beginning and an end for many things. It is the end of summer, but the beginning of football season. It is also a major shopping day. Some will celebrate by shopping for sales and bargains. Others will take advantage of this longer weekend to participate in weekend get-a-ways, outdoor activities or get-togethers and parties. While it was designed to be a day off for workers, that is not the case nowadays. Because Labor Day has become an important sales weekend, those employed in retail will have to work and some will have to work longer hours.
What was started as a day of rest from labor, has for some become a day of labor. Researching the history, I found that the idea for Labor Day was promoted by labor unions in 1887 with Oregon as the first state to make it a holiday on Feb. 21, 1887. By the time President Grover Cleveland signed a law making it a federal holiday in 1894, 30 states were already celebrating Labor Day. Traditionally in the South, Labor Day has been considered the last day of the year to wear white or seersucker.
You stayed away from wearing these until Easter of the next year. I grew up with this “fashion rule,” but it doesn’t seem to be adhered to today. Labor Day is also an important day in the world of sports. It marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the week leading up to Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday, following Labor Day. This year, the Seattle Seahawks will team up against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4.
In Darlington, NASCAR held the Southern 500 auto race on Labor Day from 1950 to 1983. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association holds its finals to the U.S. Nationals drag race. Labor Day is also the middle point between weeks one and two of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships held in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. No matter how you celebrate Labor Day, whether it is free from labor a day of labor, I wish you dear readers a safe and blessed day!