Labor Day celebrates the achievements of the working person and has its origins in the labor union movement which fought for worker's rights; specifically, the 8-hour day. In most other countries, Labour Day is synonymous with International Workers Day, which is celebrated annually on 1 May and is a public holiday.
Australia - Labour Day is always a public holiday but is celebrated on different dates, depending on the state or territory. The first march by the labour movement for the 8-hour day, occurred in Melbourne on 21 April, !856. The workers in Melbourne who waled off their job and marched on that day, are credited with being some of the first organised workers in the world to achieve an 8-hour work day with no loss of pay.
Bahamas - Labour Day is a public holiday here, too, but is celebrated on the first Friday in June in order to give workers there a 3-day weekend. The actual date of Labour Day is 7 June, which commemorates a significant workers strike that occurred on that day in 1942.
Canada - Labour Day (Fete du Travail in French) has been celebrated on the first Monday in September since the 1880's. The origin of their Labour Day can be traced back to December 1872 when a parade was staged in Toronto in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work week. This incident occurred nearly a full decade prior to a similar event in New York City which launched the movement towards America's Labor Day.
Jamaica - Prior to 1961, 24 May was celebrated as Empire Day, honoring the birth of Queen Victoria and her emancipation of slaves in Jamaica. It was proposed, in 1961, that Empire Day be replace with Labour Day; to commemorate 23 May, 1938, when Alexander Bustamante led a labour rebellion leading to Jamaican independence. Since the early 1970's Labour Day has not only been a public holiday but also a day of mass community involvement around the country.
New Zealand - Here, the worker's holiday is celebrated on the fourth Monday in October. Its origins can be traced back to the eight-hour work day movement that arose in the newly formed Wellington county in 1840. This eas primarily due to carpenter Samuel Parnell's refusal to work more than eight hours a day. He encouraged other workers and tradesmen to work only eight hours each day. In October 1840, a workers' meeting passed a resolution supporting the idea. On 28 October, 1890...the 50th anniversary of the eight-hour work day was commemorated with a parade. The event was then celebrated annually in late October.
Across much of Europe, Labour Day is celebrated on May the first. There are very few countries in the world that don't have a public holiday to celebrate the labor of working men and women.
Like many of you, I will be celebrating Labor Day on Monday. I'll be back on Tuesday, though, with another (hopefully) interesting and inspiring blog. Until then, stay safe and enjoy your time off...whether you are celebrating the holiday, or not.
Ahhhh....the weekend's finally here!