Ecards

October 22, 2009

Halloween Spending- Has the Economy Spooked You Out of Spending?

Halloween

Halloween

For many people, the real scare this Halloween may have nothing to do with ghosts or spirits. If only unemployment, rising healthcare costs and piling bills would simply go away from your doorstep as if they were kids dressed in costume. But the fact is, these scares are very much real.

And this has affected the way people celebrate holidays, including Halloween. This is evident from this survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. According to this report in Bloomberg.com, shoppers plan to spend an average of $56.31 on this year’s Halloween, down from $66.54 in 2008. Total Halloween spending is predicted to decline 18 percent to $4.8 billion from $5.8 billion last year, according to the NRF.

(Source : http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a0EG93b6ksdg)

Which means people may end up spending lesser on costumes, candies and decorations. Some of us probably won’t even be able to go trick or treating with our kids, because of the additional shifts we work.

Have you made changes to your Halloween spending? Tell us.

In the meantime, it’s interesting to see that some families aren’t letting the economy spoil the fun for them and their kids. I spoke to a few women about how much they spend on their kids’ costumes and candies every year and whether this year would be any different. Surprisingly, many of them said this year wouldn’t be any different. When I dug deeper into their answers, I discovered that this may be due to the fact that they already had a tight budget and knew a smart way to spend it. Their answers also had some useful tips that all of us can use to cut back on Halloween spending without cutting back on celebrations.

Shanti, mother of two girls, for example, says she spends about $25 on Halloween costumes for each of her kids. But since she reuses costumes for younger siblings and cousins, she usually ends up spending lesser than budgeted. Priya, another mom shares the same view. She reuses the costume until her daughter has outgrown it and then passes it on to her friends.

Vimala, who has a young daughter, doesn’t spend anything on costumes. She makes her own Halloween costumes from leftover fabric or from her little girl’s existing dresses. She spends about $10 on candies.

Kavitha, who also has a young daughter, says she and her friends swap costumes every year. So when her daughter outgrows a costume she passes it on to a friend with a younger child and she in turn borrows a costume from another friend. This way, not only do she and her friends save on expensive Halloween costumes but they also end up pleasing their kids who end up with a different costume every year.

Julie, who has three boys, says she encourages the kids to come up with a theme and gives them a combined budget for costumes. They are free to spend the amount any way they like. Sometimes they end up buying one full-fledged costume and a few accessories, which they all take turns wearing. Each kid gets to wear the costume for about an hour. Other times, each of them buys elaborate accessories and masks and don’t really buy a costume. This way, they still get dressed up in costume for Halloween, but since they’ve pooled their money and come up with a theme, they really know the value of every dollar spent.

So, there are many ways to celebrate Halloween without being spooked out of your wits by the expense it will bring.

And regardless of whether you save on costumes or candies, there is one aspect of the holiday where you won’t have to spend a dime. And that’s sending Halloween Ecards.

Check out our selection of free Halloween Ecards and pick one you like. Or send a Halloween Photo ecard for a more personal touch. And if you’re the type that prefers traditional Halloween greeting cards, then our Free Printable Halloween Cards section is for you.

Go ahead and send one. Or ten. It will still be free. Now, that’s one Halloween treat that comes with no tricks attached.

Have a Happy Halloween!

October 14, 2009

Diwali Fireworks – not your typical fireworks display

Filed under: about holidays, diwali cards — Tags: , — ecards @ 10:18 am

Diwali

Diwali

The first time I witnessed a Fourth of July fireworks display, I was completely blown away by the grand scale of the event, the crowds, the parade, the tempo and celebrations around me. It was truly an exhilarating experience as I sat atop a hill overlooking a park, with hundreds of others and watched the spectacular display of fireworks against the backdrop of the beautiful summer skies of North Carolina.

As memorable as this experience was, and as much as I enjoy watching the July 4th fireworks year after year, it doesn’t really compare to the Diwali fireworks I enjoyed as a child in my very own backyard – the fond memories of which I carry to this day. I may be far away from my family and having fireworks in my porch or backyard may be out of the question here in the US, but every year, as Diwali approaches, my thoughts wander down memory lane.

In India, the approach of Deepavali, the grandest festival of the year, is marked by the sights and sounds of fire crackers and sparklers, that are seen and heard days ahead of the actual festival. Although I like the idea of an entire town or neighborhood gathering in a park to view communal fireworks, as is the practice in July 4th celebrations in the US, it took a little getting used to initially. You see, Diwali is an occasion when children and adults alike participate actively in the bursting and display of fire crackers. ‘Rockets’, ‘Pencil crackers’, ‘Floor Chakra’, ‘Fountain Crackers’ are some of the varieties of fire crackers that we enjoyed as kids. Each had its unique feature and appeal.

Children laid out the fire crackers to dry in the sun days before Diwali. We compared each other’s collections and secretly eye another’s more exotic variety. The actual bursting of crackers began a few days ahead. Unable to contain our excitement, we would begin bursting our fire crackers one after another. As Diwali neared, box after box of fire cracker and sparkler was opened. When Deepavali finally arrived, it was a grand finale to the weeks of celebrations. Friends and family came together at someone’s terrace or courtyard to partake in the joyous event. We shared our fire crackers and enjoyed each other’s displays. Healthy competition ensued between neighboring streets or communities as to which display was grander or lasted longer. Children, dressed in their finest, holding sparklers in their little hands were truly a sight to behold. From toddler to octogenarian , there was a fire cracker to suit everybody’s taste and style – from the simple, hand-held sparklers to the loudest of ‘bombs’ to the most complex, nested rockets.

There’s something about that kind of chaotic and casual, friendly fireworks display that is missing in the extremely well-orchestrated displays we are used to today. Although viewing a sophisticated fireworks extravaganza in the skies above is an enthralling experience, it somehow is not the same as participating first-hand in the bursting of fire crackers with family and friends in one’s own backyard.

Which is why I will certainly be going to the Diwali fireworks display in my city. The Hindu Temple of Atlanta organizes a fireworks display in which children and adults can actually participate. And that’s an event I won’t be missing. I want my three year old daughter to experience, at least in some form, the thrill of Deepavali fire crackers first hand. If you’re looking for a similar experience, be sure to join the Diwali celebrations in your city. Just warn your kids though that it’s going to be a different kind of fireworks display! Maybe not as sophisticated as July 4th, but probably a lot more action than they’re used to!

To give them a hint as to what they might expect to see, send them this free Diwali Ecard which captures beautifully the essence of Diwali fireworks.

Editors Note:

For our complete list of Diwali ecards click here

For diwali celebrations in your area click here

September 30, 2009

Diwali in North America

Filed under: about holidays, diwali cards — Tags: , , — ecards @ 11:18 am

To experience spicy food, vibrant colors, foot tapping Bollywood music and traditional Indian arts, music and crafts, you don’t have to travel to India. Although, celebrating Diwali in India has its own magic, you can experience the spirit of the season almost anywhere in the world. Many cities in the US, UK, Canada and other western countries that have a considerable Indian population, host Diwali celebrations in one form or another. Some of them are quite spectacular, not very different from July 4th celebrations.

This Diwali, if you can’t make it to India, be sure to check out what your city has in store. There’s sure to be a Diwali Mela somewhere in your city or in a neighboring city. Take some time off to enjoy India’s biggest festival with your family and don’t forget to send free Diwali ecards to your friends and family.

  1. Atlanta : Oct 9 2009 : Win a diamond ring for Diwali! Enjoy an evening of fun, food and fireworks with your family at Festival of Lights – A cultural Extravaganza, a program organized by DesiRoots. Celebrations include cultural performances, food stalls, shops, games and fireworks, starting at 5 pm. Please note: this program was initially scheduled for Sep 18, but has been postponed to Oct 9 due to inclement weather in Atlanta. So, don’t miss this second chance! Who knows – you may even walk out with a diamond ring. http://www.desiroots.net/
  2. Dallas : Oct 4th 2009 : How would you like to celebrate Diwali in the state-of-the-art Cowboys stadium? This year, if you truly want to experience the grandeur and spectacular nature of Diwali celebrations, then don’t miss the Diwali Mela 2009 in Arlington, TX. Programs and activities include cultural performances including a special Ram Leela production, kids games, magic shows, animal rides and raas, garba dances in which you can participate with your family. http://www.dfwdiwalimela.com/
  3. San Francisco Bay Area: Experience the most colorful aspects of India and the festival of lights, by making it to the Cupertino Diwali celebrations. Highlights include dance performances from various parts of India, Bollywood dances, kids’ shows, animal rides, games, wood workshops, coloring contests, Mehendi or henna booths, food courts, Indian bazaars and handicraft displays. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/23/NSUC19OO4H.DTL
  4. San Francisco, Oct  9-11: How would you like to be transported to India, just for Diwali? There is a chance that this will happen if you participate in the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple Diwali celebrations. Slated to be the biggest Diwali event of Bay Area, this 3-day long festival features classical concerts by seasoned musicians and performances by local artists. Other programs include cultural performances, talent shows and games like Antakshari in which you can participate with your family. Food booths and handicrafts displays enrich your experience as you celebrate the festival of lights in sunny California.http://www.sunnyvaletemple.org/diwali2009.htm.
  5. Vancouver, Oct 18 – 12-7 pm : If you’re in Vancouver and wish to experience the fervor of Diwali, then mark your calendar right now – Downtown Diwali – is an event like none other.  A day-long extravaganza that combines the finest elements of traditional, classical South Asian arts with contemporary, fusion forms. The event promotes local South Asian artists, presenting performances in various styles – Bharatnatyam, Bhangra, Hindustani, Bollywood, Jazz, fusion, hip hop. Besides Downtown Diwali, several other arts and culture workshops and performances will take place throughout the month at various locations. These include Diya or lamp painting workshops, workshops that teach the art of wearing a sari and others.  So, this Diwali season, experience a slice of India in Vancouver.  http://www.vandiwali.ca/events/

So, where will you be celebrating Diwali this year?

And be sure to upload a picture from the Diwali Mela you go to and create a free photo ecard to share with your friends and family.

September 25, 2009

Durga Puja 2009

Filed under: Durga Puja Navrathri, about holidays — Tags: — ecards @ 2:29 pm

Some of you requested that we list the days of Durga Puja 2009 especially since it is a 4 day event. So here are the dates -
25th September 2009 Saptami
26th September 2009 Mahashtami
27th September 2009 Navami
28th September 2009 Vijaya Dasami

Hope you have fun during this festival. If you have not done so send out your Durga Puja Ecards and Navratri Ecards. Read about Durga Puja here

Diwali The Mother of all Indian Festivals

Filed under: about holidays, diwali cards — Tags: , , , — ecards @ 1:48 pm

Holidays are here.

Maybe not in the US and other Western countries, yet.

But, in India, the festival season has already swung into action with the onset of Navarathri and Durga Puja.

The next big festival of course is Deepavali or Diwali – the festival of lights. This is one occasion that people of all faiths celebrate. Although Diwali has its roots in Hindu mythology, the manner in which it is celebrated is such that people of all faiths and walks of life join in the festivities.

Diwali Preparations

Celebrations include meticulous planning of family meals. Exotic sweet dishes and savories are prepared for the occasion in large quantities to be shared with neighbors and friends. People clean their homes(much like spring cleaning), and beautify it in preparation for Diwali. Walls are washed and painted. Festoons and flowers are used to decorate walls, ceilings, door frames and windows. Earthen lamps are brought out, washed, cleaned and set out to dry in the sun. Some are even decorated with paint. Families, especially those with young children purchase several packs of fire crackers and sparklers weeks in advance. Children find it exciting to discover the latest fire crackers on the market and compete with each other, showing off their best buys.

Diwali Eve

Celebrations officially begin on Diwali eve. Women dressed in their finest traditional garments, light up dozens of earthen lamps. They fill them with oil or ghee and after lighting them, carry them on trays to different parts of the house and set them down in decorative arrangements. The front porch, backyard, window sills, doorways, roofs, balconies – all take on a beautiful glow, adorned with rows and rows of lamps. Rangolis or colorful, floral patterns are created on the floor in front of the house and in other prominent places. Guests begin arriving. Families come out into the courtyard or street to enjoy a display of fire crackers and to greet each other.

Diwali Day

In some parts of India Diwali begins with a Mangal Snaan (Holy Bath.) People awake at dawn and apply oil to their hair and body before bathing. Wearing new clothes, they offer prayers before going out to meet friends and family and participating in a fireworks display. A grand feast is prepared and the whole family, including members of the extended family, meets for lunch. Some visit temples or other relatives during the day to

share sweet dishes and to exchange gifts and greetings.

In other places, Diwali celebrations begin only at dusk. People gather to greet each other and enjoy a family dinner. This is followed by partying and games. A popular custom is that of playing cards through the night. In North India, this is considered auspicious and a means to invoke Goddess Lakshmi who represents wealth. Diwali is considered to mark the beginning of the new year and thus, people pray for a year of good fortune.

New movies come to theatres on Diwali day in most Indian states. People throng the theatres to catch the first show. The past decade has seen a decline in families going out and celebrating Diwali with friends and family as specially produced Diwali themed TV shows claim their time.

Free Diwali Ecards

No matter how you celebrate Diwali, sending a free ecard will only take a minute. It tells your loved ones that you’re thinking of them on the auspicious occasion. Our animated Diwali ecards represent all the wonderful aspects of the festival from Rangolis to rows of lamps, fireworks to sharing boxes of sweets. So, even if you’re not celebrating Diwali with family, our free ecards serve as a reminder of each its beautiful elements. And if you are, then, there’s no better way to reinforce the Diwali spirit than with a free ecard.

September 19, 2009

How to arrange a Navarathri Golu?

Filed under: Durga Puja Navrathri, about holidays, eCards — Tags: , — ecards @ 9:18 am

Golu

Golu

So, what exactly is a Golu and how do you arrange one?

As mentioned in a previous post, in many parts of South India, one of the key elements of Dussehra or Navarathri festival is the traditional arrangement of dolls in the form of a multi-step display. The golu is central to Navarathri, with ladies of the household planning for it months in advance. New dolls are purchased every year and the collection updated with the latest arrivals in the market. Kids are encouraged to participate by making crafts and helping to build miniature gardens, parks or other models. The grandparents and other elders assist by dusting and cleaning the dolls and getting them ready for display. They also provide guidance and directions with regards to how the Golu should be arranged.

The actual arrangement involves the following steps –

  1. On Mahalaya Amavasya day, the auspicious new moon day when Mother Goddess Durga is invoked, the golu steps are brought out and set up. Some households have professionally built wooden or steel steps for the purpose. Others use make-shift steps constructed out of cardboard boxes, coffee tables and chairs. What is important is to create a multi-step like platform for the display of dolls. It is customary to construct steps of 3, 5, 7 or 9.
  2. The steps are then covered with a clean sheet of cloth, traditionally a white Dhoti. Nowadays, colorful saris and other types of attractive fabric are also used in some Golus that deviate from the conventional. The fabric is pinned up neatly so as to fit to the contour of the steps, creating a bright backdrop for the grand display.
  3. The Kalash or the auspicious coconut is placed within a silver or brass pot. It is placed at the centre of the top most step.
  4. This is followed by the ‘Marapachi’ dolls – which are a male and female pair of dolls that are characteristic of every Golu. Part of the arrangement involves decorating this couple in fine garments and ornaments made out of shiny paper, sequins or other decorative material.
  5. Beginning with Ganesha, all the other idols are placed one after another. There is no hard and fast rule as to which deity goes where, but generally, the top steps are reserved for deities, while the bottom steps are occupied by animal, human and inanimate statues.
  6. Popular Golu collections include the Dasavathar set, Lord Krishna’s Ras Leela, Ganesha in different poses, Shiva and Parvathi, a marriage party set, a shopkeeper or grocer set complete with all the grocery items and weights as seen in a traditional Indian grocer’s.
  7. Creativity is the main element of a Golu. So, within a broad framework, the golu is basically an expression of originality and creativity – an opportunity for people, especially women, to take a break from monotonous housework and unleash their talents on the occasion of Navarathri. There is really no limit to what can be displayed.
  8. Examples of unique and original displays include a miniature model of an Olympic stadium, a cityscape, a cruise ship, a temple on a hilltop, a home-made fountain or volcano, a world famous park or forest, a mall or multistoried shopping center.
  9. Many of these are made with recycled material found at home, although there are people who spend time, money and painstaking effort on building professional looking models.
  10. Children help with building parks or forests by soaking grams a few days ahead and sprouting them.
  11. Other decorative elements such as Christmas lights, flower garlands, Rangoli, beads and handicrafts enhance the golu and differentiate one golu from another.
  12. Of course, what breathes life into a golu is all the activities that surround it. Women and children dressed in finery visit each other’s homes to admire the golus, sing songs, exchange sweets and gifts. There is a healthy competition among neighbors, as everyone tries to create the most beautiful Golu in town. Ideas are freely shared and improvised, recipes exchanged, compliments showered.
    The Golu, at the end of the day, is a reflection of many of the aspects of Indian culture at its glorious best.

If you have never seen a Golu, head to a South Indian home today. You are likely to experience something quite extraordinary, and come back with a bag full of goodies!

September 10, 2009

The custom of Navarathri Golu

What Durga Puja is to West Bengal, the Navarathri Bomma Golu is to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This custom of creating a special display of dolls during Navarathri has multi-layered significance.

Navarathri Golu is a lot of fun.

Golu, or ‘display’ is a tradition where people create an arrangement of steps in their homes, and use it to showcase their most beautiful collection of traditional dolls, statues and other decorative items. Usually, nine steps are arranged. However, 3, 5 or 7 stepped Golus are also common. The more dolls you wish to display, and the more space you have, the larger your Golu could be. Even temples and public halls display their own Golus in a much larger scale, with some life-size statues of deities and three-dimensional models.

Golu Unleashes Combined Creativity

It’s not just about arranging the statues, though. This is the time when creativity peaks in many households, as children and adults come together to make their Golu unique by building mini parks, zoos, cities and other models besides the main step-like display. Plans are made weeks ahead. This is a great occasion for families to spend quality time making crafts and building display items together.

Golu offers a feast for your senses

During Navarathri, women and girls are invited to each other’s homes to view the golu and accept small gifts. Women sing in praise of the Lord as they admire each other’s Golu displays. Lentils are cooked and constitute the main snack during Navarathri evenings. Houses are decorated with lamps and flour drawings (Kolam or Rangoli) on the floors.

The custom of Navarathri Golu serves many functions.

  1. It encourages socializing, especially among women and children who in olden days did not have the opportunity to mingle with people outside their families. Today, when busy lifestyles and work schedules leave us with little time to visit friends and neighbors, this custom provides an opportunity to meet people and unwind after a hectic day. The Navarathri season is a great time for community events and group celebrations.
  2. Women usually get together to sing or chant shlokas (holy verses) in praise of Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Durga. Thus, many modern day women who don’t have the time or inclination to practice music or singing regularly, have the opportunity to learn new songs, refresh their memories and exercise their vocal chords, thus providing them with a creative outlet.
  3. The display itself is based on a structure – the lower steps allocated for inanimate objects, decorative items and animal statues. Statues of demi-gods and Gods are placed on the upper steps, the topmost step being reserved for the sacred Kalash or Kumbh (a silver or brass pot with a coconut placed at its mouth, representative of creation) and chief deities such as Ganesha, Shiva and others. This arrangement is both aesthetic and symbolic.
  4. Traditional Golu dolls are generally passed on from mother to daughter and so make wonderful family heirlooms. Preserving and passing these dolls on is a part of the south Indian culture and the custom of Navarathri Golu plays a role in keeping this rich culture and its elements such as dance, music and crafts alive.

Greeting friends and family, especially parents, grandparents and other elders to seek their blessings is an important part of Navarathri, just as any other Indian festival. This year, if you are unable to celebrate Navarathri with them for some reason, Free Ecards could be a great way to send your wishes instead. Choose from our selection of Free Durga Puja ecards and brighten their hearts this Navarathri. You could also use your own photos and create personalized photo cards if you prefer.

What is your favorite Navarthri custom?

September 3, 2009

Father’s Day

Filed under: about holidays, fathers day ecards — Tags: , — ecards @ 3:09 pm

You are thinking why are we talking about father’s day again but do you know that it is father’s day in Australia this weekend.  Father’s Day is celebrated in Australia on the first Sunday of September. While we are celebrating Labor Day. Look at the history of labor day below.  Just for your reminder fathers day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in June in USA.

So to all our readers down under. Happy Father’s Day. Go out have some fun and remember to send out free Father’s Day Ecards now!

What is the story of Durga Puja?

Filed under: about holidays — Tags: , , — ecards @ 11:24 am

Ma Durga

Ma Durga

Navarathri – India’s Holiday Season Begins

In just a couple of weeks begins Navarathri – India’s famous and much awaited annual festival. Thanks to India’s diverse culture, it is celebrated in different ways across the country, traditions and customs varying from region to region. However, the underlying commonality of this festival is its essence – the celebration and worship of Mother Goddess.

Shakti – the Goddess of Cosmic Power

In Hinduism, God is thought to comprise of two halves – the masculine and feminine aspects. The masculine aspect is represented by deities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Rama. The Goddess, who represents Shakti or cosmic power takes on various forms such as Lakshmi(Goddess of wealth), Saraswathi(Goddess of knowledge), Durga(representing fierce courage and strength), Kali(representing wrath – aimed at those who cause harm to her worshippers) and Sita(representing purity and virtue). Navarathri is a festival that celebrates all these divine manifestations of the Goddess.

Different parts of India celebrate this occasion in different ways. Prominent among the celebrations are the Durga Puja festivities of West Bengal and the Navarathri Bommagolu custom of southern India.

Durga Puja

In Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga is believed to be the warrior Goddess. She rides her Vahana(vehicle)- the lion and destroys evil whenever it raises its head.  It is in this way – mounted on her lion and with weapons in her hands – that she destroyed Mahisasura – the demon who had acquired the power of invincibility. The eighteen armed Durga was the only one who could match and overpower him, which is why she is also referred to as Mahisasura Mardhini( Destroyer of Mahisasur)

References to Durga are found in Vedic texts and in the Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Besides being revered for her ferocious, warrior-like qualities, Goddess Durga is also known as the benevolent and kind Goddess, who protects her devotees from harm. This is the reason why Durga Puja has such a prominent place in Navarathri.

As many other Hindu festivals, Durga Puja is marked by the preparation of various kinds of sweet dishes for offering to the Goddess, people wearing their finest, offering elaborate prayers to Durga Mata, exchanging sweets and gifts and carrying a statue of Durga on a procession through the city, with devotees chanting, singing her praises and dancing to drum beats and music.

The very first time you witness West Bengal’s Durga Puja, expect to be blown away by the extravaganza that includes lights, arrangements, decorations, sounds and music.

Of course, underneath the dazzle of it all, lies the simple truth – which is the only thing that matters. Durga Puja, like almost all other festivals of India, serves as a reminder to people that truth, righteousness, virtue and benevolence ought to be the real pursuits in life. Everything else is fleeting.

Which is why, even if you are far away from your family and can’t celebrate Durga Puja with them, you can still greet them with free Durga Puja Ecards. You may not be able to partake in the celebrations, or splurge on expensive gifts. But, you’re sending your friends and family heartfelt best wishes and hoping that the Mother Goddess showers her blessings on them. What more could anyone really ask for? I think if you looked hard enough, you might even catch Goddess Durga nodding and smiling in approval of your choice.

August 31, 2009

A Short History of Labor Day

Filed under: about holidays — Tags: , — ecards @ 4:52 pm

America has a long and sometimes rocky relationship with its workers.  From the labor union accomplishments of mandating a 40-hour work week and restricting child labor, to the bloody Boston Police Riots of 1919, we may not always see eye-to-eye with our labor representatives, but they are still undoubtedly an integral part of American history.  It should be no surprise, then, that America’s Labor Day holiday has become a deeply-symbolic part of Americana.

Celebrated on the first Monday of each September, Labor Day was first made a federal holiday in June of 1894, under less-than-festive conditions.  Two months earlier in Cleveland, Ohio, mounting unemployment rates and rampant local poverty led to the May Day Riots, a series of violent clashes between the public and city officials, over frustrations of the unemployed at the government’s ineffectual handling of economic conditions.  Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday to, in part, symbolically demonstrate their support of the average American worker.

As time has gone on, Labor Day has come to mainly represent the end of the summer season, with a glut of parades, festivals and outdoor barbecues.  The tradition of Labor Day parades owes its existence, though, to the original Labor Day in the 1880’s, when, holiday founders proposed, a street parade would show the public the power and unity of labor and trade organizations.  Today’s Labor Day parades are much more festive and informal in nature, but several American cities still feature labor unions prominently in their Labor Day parades.

Ironically, Labor Day in America has come to symbolize, for many, the opposite of work.  College Football usually begins right around Labor Day, and the National Football League usually plays the first game of the regular season in the week after Labor Day; American school children, meanwhile, typically see the Labor Day weekend as one last free hurrah before the school year begins again in earnest.

And while regular political demonstrations have typically been kept low-key on Labor Day, recent years have seen a return to the holiday’s more politically-charged roots.  Would-be politicians running for office use the day and its significance to draw attention either to their support or criticism of labor unions; and a new group of political protestors plan on throwing “tea parties” this Labor Day—protests to be held around the country, in opposition to perceived excesses in government overspending.

Labor Day in America is much like Labor Day itself: borne of a common and unified cause, but growing, over many years, into an occasion that symbolizes something different for everyone involved.  So whether it’s football and hamburgers, or parades and speeches, get out there and enjoy it! If all else fails borwse our wonderful free animated ecards

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