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Labor Day versus May Day

Labor Day versus May Day

By MD AshikPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

The date of May 1 (an ancient European folk holiday known as May Day) emerged in 1886 as an alternative holiday for the celebration of labor, later becoming known as International Workers' Day. The date had its origins at the 1885 convention of the American Federation of Labor, which passed a resolution calling for adoption of the eight-hour day effective May 1, 1886.[17] While negotiation was envisioned for achievement of the shortened work day, use of the strike to enforce this demand was recognized, with May 1 advocated as a date for coordinated strike action.[17] The proximity of the date to the bloody Haymarket affair of May 4, 1886, further accentuated May First's radical reputation.[13]

There was disagreement among labor unions at this time about when a holiday celebrating workers should be, with some advocating for continued emphasis of the September march-and-picnic date while others sought the designation of the more politically charged date of May 1. Conservative Democratic President Grover Cleveland was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1 would tend to become a commemoration of the Haymarket affair and would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements that backed the May 1 commemoration around the globe.[18] In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative,[19] formally adopting the date as a United States federal holiday through a law that he signed in 1894.[2]

Since the mid-1950s, the United States has celebrated Loyalty Day and Law Day on May 1. Unlike Labor Day, neither are legal public holidays (in that government agencies and most businesses do not shut down to celebrate them) and therefore have remained relatively obscure. Loyalty Day is formally celebrated in a few cities, while some bar associations hold Law Day events to celebrate the rule of law.[20][21]

Unofficial end of summer

Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer"[22] because it marks the end of the U.S. culture's nominal summer season. Many take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend.[23] Many fall activities, such as school and sports (particularly football), begin about this time.

In the United States, many school districts resume classes around the Labor Day holiday weekend (see First day of school). Some begin the week before, making Labor Day weekend the first three-day weekend of the school calendar, while others return the Tuesday following Labor Day. Many districts across the Midwest are opting to begin school after Labor Day.[24]

In the U.S. state of Virginia, the amusement park industry has successfully lobbied for legislation requiring most school districts in the state to have their first day of school after Labor Day, in order to give families another weekend to visit amusement parks in the state. The relevant statute has been nicknamed the "Kings Dominion law" after one such park.[25] This law was repealed in 2019.[26]

In the U.S. state of Minnesota, the State Fair ends on Labor Day. Under state law, public schools normally do not begin until after the holiday. One reason given for this timing was to allow time for schoolchildren to show 4-H projects at the Fair.[27]

In U.S. sports, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of many fall sports. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams usually play their first games that weekend,[28] and the National Football League (NFL) traditionally play their kickoff game the Thursday following Labor Day.[29] The Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015.[30] At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association hold their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals drag race that weekend.[31] Labor Day is the middle point between weeks one and two of the U.S. Open tennis championships, held in Flushing Meadows, New York.[32]

In fashion, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day when it is acceptable to wear white[33] or seersucker.[34][35]

There are numerous events and activities organized in major cities. For example, New York offers the Labor Day Carnival, and fireworks over Coney Island.[36] In Washington, one popular event is the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with free attendance.[37]

Labor Day sales

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers with time to shop, Labor Day has become an important weekend for discounts and allowances by many retailers in the United States, especially for back-to-school sales. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season's Black Friday.[38]

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    MAWritten by MD Ashik

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