The Hypocrisy of Holidays

Americans have lost the true meaning behind federal holidays.


Photo courtesy of MCT Campus

Firework celebrations have become a part of nationwide Labor Day celebrations, but have also helped Americans lose focus on what the holiday is all about.

Maggie McKinney, Reporter

With an added day to the weekend and all the “end of summer” sales, it is easy to take Labor Day for granted. It is a holiday where school children and adults alike can relax and enjoy a break from their busy lives. Who doesn’t love an extra day to fire up the grill with friends and family for one last hurrah before the weather turns cold? However, federal holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day and even Independence Day seem to have lost their true meaning in America today. 

Labor Day honors the American labor movement and labor unions that became prominent in the late 19th century. Memorial Day honors military personnel that died in active duty. Independence day honors the day that the colonies became independent from British rule. But these three holidays, for most families, are usually celebrated as days of barbecue, fireworks and buying little American flags that were likely not made in America. It is a blatant insult to the true spirit of each of these holidays and has turned them into “another day off” as opposed to days of remembrance, respect and honoring the Americans that made this country what it is today.

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Federal holidays have become so detached from their original purpose that they have become hypocritical. For example, Labor Day. What should be a holiday promoting fair labor and quite frankly, a break from it, big retailers like Macy’s, Lowes and Home Depot are hosting massive sales events. These events subsequently lead to employees being scheduled more hours and doing more work to accommodate the influx of customers over the long weekend. Memorial Day in suburbia is spent eating hot dogs at the pool or the lake, instead of visiting military cemeteries or honoring on duty combat troops. This is a sharp contrast from the ideals that these holidays promote.

Small furniture and home goods businesses see a 68 percent increase in revenue during Labor Day, largely due to sales, according to small business analysis website However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, businesses are not required to pay employees more for holiday work. Not only is this unethical, but it is frankly a betrayal of fair labor agreements we celebrate the day for.

At its core, American society has made federal holidays about consumerism and materialistic ideas rather than the values these holidays were set aside for.