Who says Mondays aren’t fun days? Labor Day, celebrated this year on Sept. 7 in the United States, is a day of rest, relaxation and a day off from work for many people. Observed annually on the first Monday in September, Labor Day often involves picnics, cookouts, parades, fireworks, swimming, and outdoor sports of all kinds.
According to history.com, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It originated during the height of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s—a time when the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. In modern times, all government offices, schools and many businesses are closed.
Time and Date AS explains that the first Labor Day on Sept. 5, 1882, took place when the Central Labor Union created a holiday for workers. This event was a street parade that allowed the public to commemorate and appreciate the work done by trade and labor organizations. The approximate 10,000 workers who marched the streets of New York City that Tuesday took unpaid leave to participate. A festival following the parade was held to entertain local workers and their families.
Two years later, the celebration was moved to the first Monday in September; and in 1894, Congress passed a law making Labor Day a national holiday.
One of the reasons Labor Day is held on the first Monday of September is to add a holiday between the Independence Day and Thanksgiving gap.
Other interesting facts:
- Labor Day marks the start of NFL and college football seasons in the United States
- In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday
- Historically, people did not wear white or seersucker clothing after Labor Day as it unofficially marked the end of summer
- Canada celebrates Labour Day the first Monday in September
- More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1