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In Europe, May Day originated as a pagan holiday celebrating the beginning of summer (read more)
Labor Day, or Labour Day in Canada, is a an annual holiday in the United States and Canada, observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 both in Canada and the United States. The holiday began as an event organized by trade unions in support of workers who had been on strike in order to obtain higher wages, and to celebrate their victory.
Labor Day Parade, float of Women's Trade Union League, New York, September 7, 1908
Today, in both countries, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations as most schools begin their academic year close to the beginning of September. Nevertheless, unions continue to organize parades and speeches which remind the public of the need to protect workers from exploitation by large corporations. The combination of civic importance and family celebrations make Labor Day a valuable addition to society.
The Victorian era of the United Kingdom and its overseas Empire was the period of Queen Victoria's rule from June 1837 to January 1901. It was a long period of prosperity for the British people, as profits gained from the overseas Empire, as well as from industrial improvements at home, allowed a large, educated middle class to develop. The era is often characterized as a long period of peace, known as the Pax Britannica, and economic, colonial, and industrial consolidation, temporarily disrupted by the Crimean War. In fact, Britain was at war every year during this period.
Queen Victoria, after whom the era is named
Domestically, the agenda was increasingly liberal with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform and the widening of the voting franchise. The term Victorian morality is often used to describe the ethos of the period, which embraced sexual proprietary, hard work, honesty, thrift, a sense of duty and responsibility towards the less well off, provided that they deserved help (alcoholics and the work-shy did not).