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And the End Of Summer...or the beginning...I'm confused
As we all know, Labor Day is the first Monday in September that isn’t the 1st of September…except in 2025 it’s supposed to be 1 September.
We’re clear on that…right? Always been that way; always been there…right?
So what’s this “International Labour Day” business?
Well, the labor movement (brilliant) started “Labor Day” in the US in the 19th Century. There’s two origin stories that involve guys named Maguire in the 1880s, both of whom were associated with organized labor in New York. Both, it seems, were inspired by the May Day celebrations of labor and labor movements in Canada and Europe…
In 1889, the Second International proposed an International Labor Day for 1 May, in commemoration of the notorious Haymarket bombing in Chicago on 4 May 1886 that killed eight and injured 60 people. When Congress realized that the burgeoning labor movement was already celebrating a Labor Day in September, they made it a federal holiday in 1894, just after the Pullman Strike ended. That was before Hitler adopted 1 May as National Workers Day in 1933.
If those dastardly Reds in the Second International, and the Nazis, hadn’t co-opted 1 May as their celebration of labor, the US might be joining the rest of the world celebrating an International Labor Day/International Workers Day, right?
Eh, probably not.
In the late 19th Century, America was still trying to secure its unique identity. May Day was often identified as a pagan festival by the Protestants and Catholics alike. While Central Europeans and ethnic Celts had their maypoles and mid-spring festivals and ancient rites, more sophisticated—stuck-up—worthies of the upper crust looked down upon such shenanigans. Moreover, Congress, being largely of the upper crust at the time but also recognizing the growing power of the unions, was unlikely to have moved the labor union’s preferred date.
So, first Monday in September it is.
This week, the kids will start school again, you will probably push the grill into a corner and put the cover on, the boat will go back on the trailer, and the pool drained…because, well, it’s cooling off all over the Northern Hemisphere.
But, there’s still this afternoon…have a good one!
You can kick back with Tideline, which gets more interesting about a week after Labor Day, 1985.
Hey. I’m here to sell books…