A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.
⁓ Ralph Lauren
Honoring the Struggle
We stand tall on the shoulders of our ancestors.
These words ring true for the origins of Labor Day. Born from the tenacious efforts of the labor movement during the late 19th century, this federal holiday pays tribute to the blue-collar worker. During the Industrial Revolution, working conditions were deplorable — 12-hour shifts, 7-day work weeks, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and disproportionate pay.
Labor unions were then organized to safeguard the welfare of the workers. They became increasingly vocal, protesting through rallies and strikes. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers from New York rallied and took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square, giving rise to the very first Labor Day “parade”. Other major events followed — most of them ending in violence and deaths — such as the Haymarket Riot of 1886. It took 12 years and more lives lost in widespread civil discontent until Congress passed a bill which President Cleveland signed into law making Labor Day an official public holiday.
Who the actual founder of Labor Day is — whether Peter McGuire from the American Federation of Labor or Matthew Maguire from the Central Labor Union — is still undetermined. However, the legacy of the struggle of their era still lives on in the better working environments that we enjoy today.
Reaping the Harvest
Since then, Labor Day has been observed with the exuberant spirit of celebrating the rewards of a good work ethic. Fireworks, parades, picnics, barbecues, and other public gatherings all underline the fortifying energy of community.
This national holiday also unofficially marks the end of summer, with the shifting of cultural and seasonal cycles from warm weather and harvesting of nature's bounty to cooler temperatures and readiness for the leaner months. For children and students, it means going back to school and applying themselves to learning once again.
Labor Day as we experience it nowadays is a more joyous occasion compared to the massive social unrest that inspired it. By virtue of our forefathers’ hard-won battle for their rights as laborers, we are now able to enjoy the fruits of what they had sown.
Partaking of the Fruits
The first Monday of September is the culmination of days spent honoring our own efforts towards a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. The hard work is set aside for now to taste the pleasure of its benefits. It is the opportunity afforded by a nationwide holiday to bask in the presence of our family and friends and share what we have gained through our endeavors. The unity once achieved in the difficult past is presently remembered in gentler, happier ways within our own community.
This celebration held in gratitude is our chance as well to give back to those who have supported us or to encourage those who matter the most. If your love language is the giving of gifts, Labor Day weekend is the perfect opportunity to pay it forward. It is also the time to stock up your larder so to speak, given that sales and specials are widespread during these days leading up to Labor Day. The savvy shopper knows how to take advantage of the discounts that abound, to prepare for gift-giving for the next holidays of the year.
Take Your Pick
Here at EndlessPens, we value the intentional work that needs to be done in order to fully appreciate the benefits that come after. Therefore, we enliven you to reward yourself or treat that special someone for a job well done. It is a cycle after all, this continuous process of putting in the effort and recognizing achievement with tokens of appreciation and encouragement.
For fountain pen enthusiasts, one sure way we further incentivize ourselves or mark our milestones is by finally getting the fountain pen we have been eyeing for quite some time. In the spirit of sharing the wonderful experiences of our community, we also seek to inspire others to discover the joys of using a fountain pen, whether they be a curious friend, a family member who loves to write, or a student starting a new academic year.
So please, have a look at our selection of fountain pens, inks, papers, and other accessories. Take advantage of the ongoing site-wide offers to help you manage your hard-earned wages too. With these discounts, selecting future gifts for upcoming celebrations is more affordable.
May you find one or more rewards and expressions of encouragement for yourself and for your loved ones to commemorate the true meaning of Labor Day. Remember — bringing home the bacon means taking pleasure in eating it too.
There is more to life than making a living. Do not work more than you live.
⁓ Mokokoma Mokhonoana
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!