Tag Archives: holidays

Jack OWLantern

Halloween was a relatively quiet affair this year; Bubo gave herself a rather impressive sugar high and we watched monster movies and counted ourselves lucky.

When her sugar high wore off, Bubo was a grumpy owl indeed. What perked her up, though, were the pictures of the pumpkin carved by the incredibly inventive Laura Palmer Preiss of Curious Art Labs.

Terribly creative, isn’t she? And quite a whiz with a carving knife, as well.

Thank you, Leah. You perked up Bubo and you made me smile.

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Columbus Day

Oh, what a beautiful October day in Brooklyn! Bubo is preening in the garden, full from a fruitful hunt in the park last night. The rain brought a number of gourmet items out into the open for Bubo to hunt, and the cool fall air has her more ravenous than usual. (And by gourmet items, I mean rodents, dears.)

Today is a national holiday in the United States. Most states here celebrate Columbus Day, to commemorate Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America. Clearly, Columbus was not the first human to have knowledge of America – there were people already here and he was not even the first European to land on these fair shores. What Columbus did amounts to an excellent job of marketing and promotion – for better or for worse.

New York celebrates Columbus Day with an enormous parade. South Dakota, on the other hand, no longer celebrates Columbus Day on this day – those citizens celebrate Native American Day to commemorate the indigenous peoples of this land who suffered greatly due to Columbus’s marketing campaign for the New World.

There is continued controversy with this holiday; while on the one hand it celebrates the European influence in the history of the Americas (Italian-Americans celebrate heartily the positive impact Italians have had on this country), folks argue that the holiday then also celebrates the colonization and near-destruction of the indigenous peoples with little (to no) regard for their cultures and basic human rights.

Whatever your stance on the holiday (or Christopher Columbus), for many people this day is a holiday from work, and that is a cause for celebration.

Perhaps taking some time from your parade/cook-out/loafing plans to learn more about European exploration, the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the mixed legacy of colonization would be in order? This is not a lecture, dears. It is merely a suggestion. Holidays are so much sweeter with a wee bit of knowledge, aren’t they?

Christopher Columbus by Jan van der Straet

 

 

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Labor Day: ReDux

Well, Happy Labor Day, oddlings. The sky in Brooklyn is an undulating palette of greys, blues, and whites. Perhaps we will have rain. Perhaps the day will just continue as a moody overcast day. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Bubo hates the word perhaps for reasons unknown. She also hates the word yarn. I think perhaps she’s overly cranky because her attempts to over-dye the bright orange paint on her feathers made them a deep violet color. It’s rather striking. Apparently, the heaviness of extra paint on her feathers is making complicated hunting moves difficult for her.

Luckily for Bubo, we live in Brooklyn, and there is a plethora of pigeons who land in our garden even though there is a fierce hunting machine living in said garden. Oh, pigeons. So shockingly ignorant and unperceptive.

So it is Labor Day here in the States. Silas is manning the barbeque grill (hand-tooled from a small tractor) and Mordecai has spent the weekend mixing pitchers of cocktails. Rumor has it some family members will be descending, though this family doesn’t operate on a standardized calendar. With the Autumnal Equinox right around the corner, they could be showing up in about two weeks. It’s so hard to tell and not a single family member has figured out their cell phones yet.

I can’t quibble – I’ve been unable to find my cell phone for four days. Troublesome thing, technology.

At any rate, I thought I would re-post a previous missive about Labor Day from 2011. So, here it is. Be safe, oddlings, and enjoy your Monday, whatever it portends.

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It occurs to me that many people do not think about what these national holidays mean. They take the day to relax, revel in not being at work, and to grill meat and drink beer. Well, sure. These are wonderful things. But it’s important to know why we get this day to enjoy doing these things.

This is from the United States Department of Labor Page:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

There is also an article about the true Rosie the Riveter that I trust you will find interesting.

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Happy Fourth of July!

Well, dears, my guess is that most of you in the States are outside, having hot dogs and hamburgers and waiting for your local fireworks display to celebrate American Independence Day.

(It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.)

The dragons have been incredibly busy putting the finishing touches on their sure-to-be-eye-catching home-made fireworks display for this evening. I’m hoping for clear skies since dragons + fire + home-made fireworks + thunder and lightening = mayhem.

Silas has a few pitchers of lemon berry cocktails cooling in the ice box and has been slaving in the kitchen all morning. Mordecai has been in the cellar grumbling to himself and I’ve been in the Laboratory with the monsters. It’s best if the three of us only stay in close contact when cocktails are involved. You understand: family.

Have a safe and happy holiday, oddlings. Remember that fireworks are not toys and be good to each other.

 

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