Tag Archives: holiday

10 Facts About Labor Day

August 29th, 2013

labor

Monday, September 2, 2013 is Labor Day, in the U.S.  It marks the end of the summer vacation season and families around the country will celebrate the holiday with road trips, picnics, barbecues, parades, sport and other outdoor events.  Labor Day is an annual celebration of workers and their achievements and originated in the late 1800s at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. Labor Day now is a federal holiday and most Government offices, schools, and, businesses are closed.

For those who may not know the origins of this federal holiday, it’s worth noting that Americans in the late 1800s worked 12-hour days and 7-day weeks. Kids as young as 5-6 years old worked in factories. Workers of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, faced extremely unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. Workers were allowed to take Christmas, Fourth of July and every other Sunday off. It was the labor activists who forced employers to stop sending kids into mines, glass factories, canneries, textiles and other placed to work long exhaustive hours day and night. The labor movement helped end child labor, and brought about better conditions for workers, including the eight-hour work day with which we are familiar today.

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Here are ten things to know about the origins of Labor Day and labor-related facts:

1. The idea for creating a holiday to honor workers was proposed by either Peter McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Union Secretary or Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists. (US Dept. of Labor) sometime in the early 1880’s.

2. On September 5, 1882, New York City held the first Labor Day parade. It is estimated that 10,000 workers participated. (US Census Bureau) Not all employers supported the idea, but many union workers took the first Monday in September off anyway. Some unions levied fines against workers who did go into work. Inspired by the celebration in NYC, similar events took form across the country. By 1894 more than half the states were observing what was then called a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another.

3. In 1887, Oregon becomes the first state to make Labor Day a legal holiday.

4. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland and the U.S. Congress make it a national holiday.

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5. In 1983, the union membership rate was 20.1% in the U.S. Membership was 11.3% in 2012. (source: BLS http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf)

6. New York has the highest rate of union workers among the states — 24.1%.

7. As of July 2013, there were about 155.8 million Americans employed in the U.S. (source BLS http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf)

8. 847,516 is the number of paid employees (for pay period including March 12) who worked for a gasoline station in the U.S. in 2011. Oregon (9,634 paid gasoline station employees), along with New Jersey (15,734 paid gasoline station employees), are the only states without self-service gasoline stations. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 County Business Patterns (http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/)

9. 15.9 million is the number of wage and salary workers age 16 and over represented by a union in 2012. This group includes both union members (14.4 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.6 million). Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table C24010 (http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_1YR_C24010&prodType=table)

10. 70% is the projected percentage growth from 2010 to 2020 in the number of personal care aides (607,000). Analysts expect this occupation to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add more positions over this period than any other is registered nurses (711,900).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/)

Bonus fact:

25,448 is the number of shoe stores for back-to-school shopping in 2011. Other choices of retail establishments abound: there were 28,128 family clothing stores, 7,093 children and infants clothing stores, 8,144 office supply and stationery stores, 8,407 bookstores and 8,625 department stores. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 County Business Patterns )

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!
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ACEI

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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Happy Holidays!

December 21, 2012

holiday

To all our readers, 

Thank you for following our

blog and investing your time

and readership in us. We are

grateful to all of you who

make up the loyal community

of readers to whom we are

connected.

Thank you for joining the

discussion. We appreciate

your support and your

thoughtful comments.

We are so grateful for the

writers who have guest

blogged for us and their

interesting, educational and

thought provoking

contributions. 

We look forward to 2013 and

continuing the discussion and

exchange of ideas.

 

From all of us at ACEI ,

we wish you a Happy Holiday

and Successful New Year!

 

Academic Credentials Evaluation

Institute, Inc.

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Reflection, Renewal, and Red Underwear

December 20, 2012

2012 Calendar

At the close of this year—at least in the Gregorian calendar— which is celebrated in Europe and in the Americas, I find myself reflecting on what entering a New Year means to people around the world. As I am at the end of my first year living abroad, the differences and similarities are foremost on my mind. Of course moving from sunny Southern California to a rainy North Germany has its noticeable differences. And, as we all know, climate affects our general outlook on life as well as our daily routines, and life rituals. I can now personally attest to the fact that sunnier climes create sunnier dispositions, and a general sense of optimism, which is less understood, in colder more northern parts of the world.

But what really makes it all so interesting is the fact that both places have fairly large immigrant populations, which bring their own cultural ideals, ways of life, and ritual celebrations into daily life. Everyone finds the time, once a year to celebrate the coming new year, and ritualize the “out with the old in with the new” which is historically so important, vital in fact, to cultures all over the world.

New Year celebrations were originally based upon harvest celebrations, which were informed by cycles of the sun, the moon and the movement of stars. There is a difference though, between the “civil” calendars adopted by countries and the religious calendars, which are followed by people all over the world, though they often exist and are celebrated side by side.

The Julian Calendar (a reformation of the Roman Calendar by Julius Cesar in 46 BCE) was intended to approximate the Sun’s cycle as it returns to the same position each year, in other words from vernal equinox to vernal equinox. The Berber people of North Africa still use this calendar, as do most Eastern Orthodox Churches.

As the Julian calendar is slightly inaccurate (it gained about 3 days every four centuries,) it was later replaced by the Gregorian calendar, (The Christian Calendar) in 1582, in order to have a fixed date for the Spring Equinox, to which the celebration of Easter is attached. It is now the more internationally, widely accepted civil calendar. However, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Nepal, and Saudi Arabia do not adopt the Gregorian calendar as their civil calendar. Many other countries use their own calendars alongside the Gregorian calendar, such as: Bangladesh, Burma, India, and Israel. Then there are those that use a modified version of the Gregorian calendar: Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Taiwan.

The date of the Islamic New Year is determined by the visibility of the hilal, or the waxing crescent moon following a new moon and may vary according to location. The day that marks the beginning of the New Year in the Islamic Calendar is called Hijra. While Muslims do not “celebrate” the beginning of the year, they do acknowledge the passing of time, by reflecting on how they have led their lives and on their own mortality. It is very similar to the Jewish ritual of their New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

Nowruz (New Day), the Iranian and Zoroastrian New Year’s Day is celebrated on March 21stthe Spring Equinox. It is celebrated as a theme of renewal, personal renewal and that of the home and friendships. It is also celebrated as a secular cultural festival in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Kashmir, Azerbaijan, as well as the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Syria, and Georgia.

What do all of these human constructs of time; religious or civil have in common then? Plenty. People all over the world celebrate and ritualize the passage of time. Whether their New Year falls in February, March, April, September or November, or December, most cultures see this as a time of introspection and reflection, a time of rebirth— an illumination of the soul. It is a chance to be cleansed of the old sins of the previous year and celebrate the potential of hope for a healthier, happier, and prosperous coming year.

Saint Sylvester

It was not until I moved to Germany that I first heard New Years referred to as Sylvester. I felt silly asking but I did, and found out that it is celebrated as Saint Sylvester’s Eve after Pope Sylvester I, who died in 335 and was reported to have miraculously cured the Emperor Constantine of leprosy. Since that time of “miraculous healing” New Years was traditionally called St. Sylvester’s Eve in predominantly Catholic countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Poland. Even in Israel where so many European immigrants landed, Israelis celebrate the civic holiday of New Years as Sylvester Nacht—who knew?

Fire

Fire, fireworks, and light are ritually used for dispelling evil spirits and marking the time of transition from darkness to light as we move away from the Winter Solstice. Even countries whose religious beliefs are not connected to the Gregorian calendar, often celebrate the civil New Year with fireworks, such as: Morocco, China, India, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Those that celebrate their new years at other times also use the element of fire as a cleansing, to mark this passage and burn away the previous years’ evils and sins and scare off any spirits that may wish to take up residence in the coming year.

In Iran and those following the Persian ritual passed down since ancient Zoroastrian times, the Persian New Year celebrations begins with the festival called Chahar-Shanbeh Souri, which literally means “Eve of Wednesday” because it is always held on the last Tuesday of winter, just before the Vernal Equinox or first moment of spring. The fire ceremony symbolizes the changing of seasons and rebirth. The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make bonfires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man. This literally translates to “My yellowness is yours, your redness is mine,” with the figurative message “My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me.” The fire is believed to burn out all the fear (yellowness) in their subconscious or their spirit, in preparation for New Year.

Diwali, Festival of Lights, is a five day Hindu festival which falls between Mid-October and mid-November. Small clay lamps are filled with oil and lit to signify the triumph of good over evil, and firecrackers are ignited to drive away evil spirits.

In Mongolia, the Lunar New Year is known as Tsagaan Sar. It is celebrated in February, and candles are used on altars to symbolize enlightenment.

In Mexico the tradition of making lists of all the bad or unfortunate events of the past years are written down and thrown into a fire before midnight to remove any negative energy from carrying over into the New Year.

In Ecuador men dress up as women to represent the “widow” of the year that has passed and then create life-size dummies which are burnt at midnight to “burn away” the years past misfortunes.

Tibetans also celebrate Losar in February, and traditionally go out into nature to perform rituals of gratitude by making offerings to the water spirits and smoke offerings to local spirits of the natural world.

Water

The Chinese New Year is known s Spring Festival and marks the end of winter, as families gather for a reunion dinner or Chúxi, which translates into “Remove Evening” or “Eve of the Passing Year.” Every family thoroughly cleans the house, sweeping away ill-fortune, cleansing it of evil omens from the previous year and making room for a new year filled with good luck.

Laotian people celebrate their Pbeemai April 13-15 by cleansing their homes and villages with perfumed water and flowers. The Burmese celebrate Thingyan April 13-16 with water as a means of washing away the sins of the pervious year. Water throwing and public dousing is rampant on the streets for days. In Nepal Fagu is celebrated on the full moon day in February by spraying colored water, and throwing water balloons at each other.

In Thailand the Songkran festival is celebrated from 13-15 April, by the throwing of water. However they can— jars, pots, water guns, are used as a means of washing all of the bad away, even spraying total strangers on the street. Of course we have to remember that in April temperatures can get up to 40C. In traditional celebrations, it is believed that good luck and prosperity for the coming year may be obtained by pouring water filled with fragrant herbs over the Buddhas on household shrines as well as at monasteries. This water is considered blessed and is then used to give good fortune to elders and family members by pouring it on their shoulders.

Red Underwear, Grapes, and Lentils

Believe it or not, another common link in New Year’s celebrations is the wearing of red underwear. Italians, Spanish, and Venezuelans all wear red underwear on New Years for good luck and love, though only the women in Mexico wear red underwear for finding love.

The Spanish, Mexicans, Chileans, Costa Ricans, Brazilians and Guatemalans all eat 12 grapes for each chime of the clock at midnight, making a wish for the New Year with each one.

Lentils seem to represent money and prosperity because of their round “coin” shape and are traditionally eaten by Brazilians, Hungarians, Chileans, and Italians. The Italians who seem to go lentil crazy— have lentils at dinner before midnight then take one spoonful of lentil stew per bell as the bells toll midnight.

So as 2012 comes to a close here in Germany, I will be celebrating Sylvestre and honoring the spirit of the transition from darkness into light, and wishing for a global time of renewal, hope and joy.

Jeannie Winston Nogai
Owner / Winston Nogai Design
www.jeanniewinston.com / E: jwndesign@me.com

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Happy Thanksgiving 2012

November 21, 2012

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Happy Labor Day Weekend 2012!

August 31, 2012

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What is Memorial Day?

May 24th 2012

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