November 27th Pins and Needles Day

Feeling anxious, nervous? Well today we celebrate the play that announced the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union into world wide recognition. It was done with a play called, “Pins and Needles” and appeared on Broadway in 1937. For a while, it was the longest running play on Broadway with over 1100 performances. It was written by Harold Rome and appeared at the Labor Stage Theater in New York City. It was about the struggles of the women working the garment industry and their lives in what amounted to sweat shops.

How to celebrate – Learn about the Garment Industry in New York in the early 1900’s. Learn about the Unions in New York City. Put on your own version of “Pins and Needles”.

September 2nd Labor Day

This is the “working man’s holiday”. It was first celebrated on September 5th, 1882 in New York City. Later, when Congress made it a true National holiday it was on June 28th, 1884. Somewhere along the line it ended up on the first Monday in September which this year is September 5th. It unofficially marks the end of summer for children as most states start the school year the day after Labor Day.

How to celebrate – Throw a Labor Day party! Be a rebel and go to work today anyway. Solve the mystery of who actually gets credit for starting Labor Day.

November 27th National Pins And Needles Day

Anxious? Nervous? Just can’t wait anymore? If you are feeling any of those things then you will enjoy today, it’s Pins And Needles Day. The idea I suppose comes to us from sitting on pins or needles, not a very comforting thought.

Pins and Needles Sheet Music Cover

It actually comes to us from a play on Broadway called, Pins and Needles. It was written by Harold Rome and ran for 1108 performances in 1937 and was introduced by the Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. Now it makes sense! They used pins and needles in their everyday work! And they felt unappreciated and wanted better pay along with being treated like human beings. Imagine that!

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Since then, most people have forgotten about the play but it’s title has continued to be used as a typical cliche from the past. The labor unions form in the early part of the 1900’s had a strong effect on America and I suppose across the world. Most say they were good, some questioned what was gained verses what was lost.

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The world, in the mean time, is filled with pins and needles. Sewing needles, hypodermic needles, needles used to fill balls with air, safety pins, bobby pins, push pins… it’s almost impossible to go through a day without encountering one kind of pin or needle. They have served mankind well. Of course they have also caused damage and are often associated with drug use.

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How to celebrate – Think of all the items held together in your home by pins and needles. See how many different types of pins and needles you can name. Check out the play “Pins and Needles”.

September 4th Labor Day

Today is Labor Day, the day we celebrate the hard workers across the United States. It’s is sometimes called the “workingman’s holiday”. Always falling on the first day in September, this year it happens to be on the 4th.

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Labor Day may have been created by Peter McQuire who was a labor organizer and the General Secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the Co-Founder of the American Federation of Labor.

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Or it may have been started by Matthew Maguire, the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York City. Maguire’s involvement seems a little more likely since the day was created within the Central Labor Union on September 5th, 1882. The U.S. Congress officially recognized the holiday on June 28, 1894.

The previously unpublished version of the iconic photograph.
The previously unpublished version of the iconic photograph.

Along with celebrating all those who work, Labor Day marks the end of summer (Not officially) as most of the kids go back to school. Although here in the south kids have been back at school for nearly a month now.

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Whatever reason you find to celebrate Labor Day, remember all those laborers who worked so hard to win it for you. This is their day, and yours if you are one of them.

How to celebrate – Go for the traditional picnic today. Sleep in, after all, you don’t have to be at work! Celebrate today with your co-workers (Wait, isn’t that like an office party?).