With the onset of another Labor Day comes the onslaught of weekend sales, special promotions and various different consumer offers that will have your head spinning so it’s easy to forget what Labor Day is actually all about!
Let’s take a quick history lesson to familiarise ourselves. According to the infamous WikiPedia, ‘’Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations.’’
So it would seem that Labor Day is a celebration of American workers around the United States and a very worthy holiday it is to, celebrating both the common worker and the high powered executive, all classes of worker. But did you know that Labor Day here in Ireland and the UK is actually spelt Labour Day!
So why the difference? This is an interesting story that most Irish people, English or Americans don’t know. Well back in the 1800’s when the British empire spread it’s long arms around the globe colonising many countries, absorbing them under British rule, America was not immune to this attmepted seige, something well documneted of course so it was when a man called Noah Webster decided to change the spelling of many words in the official English Samuel Johnson’s dictionary creating An American Dictionary of the English Language. This was mainly as an act of nationalism but became the standard authority on correct spelling for America.
So if you decide to visit the US, think twice before you write anything, think about what it is your saying and if the right word is favor or favour, color or colour, neighbour or neighbor, the list goes on.
For more on the differences between American and Irish/UK spellings see Wikipedia