Today, I’ll be with family, celebrating my granddaughter’s first birthday. In the Regency, modest celebrations on birthdays were the norm, unless you were royalty, in which case BIG celebrations might be in order. Non-royal families would celebrate with a cake or some special treat, but not the big party with lots of presents and balloons and lots of cake and ice cream that we think of when we think of birthday parties. That’s what we’ve planned for the cutest granddaughter ever.
But we will also be celebrating Labor Day.
This US federal holiday celebrates the economic and social contributions of the American worker. It was first observed in New York in 1882 and became a federal holiday in 1894. Today it has also become the traditional end of summer and the traditional way to celebrate is to have a picnic.
Today’s picnic is a leisure pastime for the ordinary people, a chance to grill hot dogs and play outdoor games, but during the Regency, a picnic was a fancier affair, and the working people of the period may have experienced it much differently than we do today.
The 1996 TV movie of Emma, the one starring Kate Beckinsale, shows the effort of the servants in providing the relaxing picnic enjoyed by the more privileged others.
Have a happy day!
(this post was adapted from an earlier version)