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Celebrating Labor Day

In recent years Labor Day has lost some of its old, and original, meanings, but it still stands as the one day in which we celebrate an important American belief.  This belief is in the importance and necessity of hard work to achieve success.  Once a holiday tied to the militancy of the Labor movement, Labor Day now honors all who work.

Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day officially on February 2, 1887.  President Grover Cleveland signed a congressional bill on June 28, 1894, making Labor Day a legal holiday.
As labor and management moved closer together and the U.S. workingman’s stand of living rose above that of any in the world, the tie between Labor Day and labor unions gradually diminished.
It has evolved especially into a family festival – the last big celebration of summer, vacation’s end, the final fling before the start of a new school year, and end of summer and prelude to fall.  It has become not just a day, but a weekend – a time for taking to the out-of-doors for trips, picnics, and sporting events.  It is an occasion of togetherness and a time, too, for remembering the multitude of abilities and efforts that made this country great.
from Celebrations: the complete book of American holidaysby Robert Myers available at the Gardiner Public Library.

Valentine’s Day – Did You Know?

“More than two thousand years ago, a holiday similar to Valentine’s Day was celebrated in Rome. But in those times the Romans did not call it Valentine’s Day.  They called the holiday Lupercalia.  Lupercalia means ‘feasts of Lupercus’”.
“Celebrations of Valentine’s Day spread to other countries.  During the Middle Ages, people in England believed that birds returned from the south to choose their mates around February 14.  So Valentine’s Day seemed like a perfect time to choose a sweetheart.”
“In Italy, young men and women gathered together in flower gardens on Valentine’s Day to listen to music and poetry.  In France, fancy dress balls were popular.  Young Frenchmen were often expected to present their Valentine’s Day dance partners with bouquets of flowers.”
“The very first valentine was written at this time, about four hundred years ago, by a French nobleman named the Duke of Orleans.  He was taken captive during a war and imprisoned in a tower in England.  He missed his wife very much, and wrote her many love letters.  Many of the letters mentioned St. Valentine.”
“As more and more people learned how to read and write, they decided to send this kind of letter to their sweethearts.”
“Valentine’s Day was particularly popular in England while Queen Victoria ruled the land.”
All of these facts are quoted from “Valentine’s Day” by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Susan Estelle Kwas.  This book is available in the children’s room at the Gardiner Public Library.
Charlene Wagner, Children’s Librarian