Americans think of Labor Day as the end of summer and kids know it as time to go back to school. It's the beginning of college football and great fun tailgating. Businesses take the day off and many families often take one last summer vacation.
Labor Day weekend is one of our nation's biggest SOCIAL gatherings in the year and the experts say that if we aren't responsible in the way we celebrate that our celebration could trigger a new surge of Covid- 19! No one wants that...but we are all missing socialization in the biggest way! We read news daily about college kids who are partying and getting Covid so maybe we adults can show them how to have a good time without giving or getting Covid-19!
Some recommendations for socializing on Labor Day are:
If we want to be social, it is best to be social with the small group you have been with during this crisis. This is usually close friends, family and possibly some neighbors.
Wear masks except when eating (that makes sense)
Stay 6ft apart especially if you have not been with some of your guests
Be sure tables, condiments and eating utensils are separated or in plastic to prevent contamination.
Consider having everyone bring a picnic dinner for their family
Have hand sanitizer and wipes readily available
This is all so counter to how we usually celebrate a holiday. We love being with our friends and family. By acting responsibly on this holiday, maybe we will be giving thanks on Thanksgiving for doing our part now in order to enjoy our winter holidays even more.
While you are enjoying this holiday with friends or family be sure that the children and teens in your group know what this holiday is about? During lunch or dinner have a conversation about why this is a national holiday and be sure everyone understands the importance of this day. If you are a little rusty on your Labor Day knowledge...I have written a brief refresher on why we have this holiday!
History.com states that Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September.
During the height of the Industrial Revolution (in the late 19th century) most American workers had 10, 12 or 16 hour shifts per day, six to seven days a week simply to survive. The mines and factories would hire workers all ages, even as young as 6. Many of the environments were unsafe so in order to be heard, workers began to strike and protest for better working conditions. As the manufacturing industry increased, labor unions were formed to protest the hours and working conditions as well as make demands for an increase in wages. These unions were able to establish 5 day work weeks, minimum wage, child-labor and work safety laws.
In 1881, seven states passed a law making Labor Day an official holiday. Oregon was the first state in February of that year. On September 5, 1882, almost 10,000 workers marched to Union Square in New York City, which has been marked as the first Labor Day parade. In 1885, President Grover Cleveland established a law making the first Monday in September as a tribute to the men and women who fought for the rights of workers in our country.
Celebrate Labor Day this year in a responsible way!