Labor Day is seen as a day to honor workers. Parades are held, celebration with picnics and barbeques are also common. Many people also celebrate Labor Day as the end of summer and the last holiday before the start of the new school year. Labor Day is the end of summer holiday (while Memorial Day is the start of summer holiday).
As the first Labor Day celebration in 1882 was held as a demonstration to outline the needs of the American workers, throughout the years the focus has been more on celebrating the achievements of the American worker and less of a protest to current working conditions.
Labor Day Origins
The origins of Labor Day date back to the 1800’s when workers began a labor movement to outline the needs of labor workers.
There is some disagreement over who actually first proposed the idea of Labor Day. Most historians believe credit should go to Matthew Maguire. It is believed he first proposed the Labor Day holiday as a demonstration and picnic by the Central Labor Union.
The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 by the Central Labor Union in New York City. After that the idea of Labor Day celebrations spread throughout the nation and by 1894 legislation was passed by Congress, making Labor Day an official holiday.
While the first Labor Day celebrations were meant to highlight the need to preserve and protect the rights of the US worker, as time moved on the focus of Labor Day has changed. Since the labor movement in the US is much different today (less than 15% of all US workers belong to a union), Labor Day is seen as more of a symbolic holiday. We honor the social and economic achievements of the American worker.
Labor Day Facts
Labor Day is a holiday that was first celebrated in 1882. It began as a demonstration by a union group to focus on the needs of laborers. What began as a single movement in NYC that September day in 1882, drew the attention of other states and by 1894 28 states had passed legislation to create a Labor Day holiday. That same year, Congress enacted a law making the first Monday in September as Labor Day. This legal holiday is still celebrated today.
Labor Day is still seen as a day to celebrate the workers, although there are very few labor demonstrations or union -organized protests on Labor Day. It is also seen as a holiday that celebrates the end of summer (while Memorial Day welcomes summer).
Although we celebrate the holiday as Labor Day in the US, other countries call it May Day.
Labor Day History
The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. It was organized by the Central Labor Union and was created to be a demonstration supporting labor workers.
Beginning in 1885, government began to recognize Labor Day through municipal ordinances. After that, individual states began passing legislation, beginning with Oregon in 1887. The next four states to pass a law creating the Labor Day Holiday were Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. By 1894 a total of 28 states had adopted the holiday and on June 28, 1894 Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in honor of all workers.
Today Labor Day is celebrated as a holiday supporting the labor movement. In the US, less than 15 percent of American workers belong to a union, but we all celebrate the rights of the worker on Labor Day. Many people see Labor Day as the end of the summer season, while Memorial Day is the start of the summer season. Many celebrate Labor Day with bar-be-ques or picnics as a way to say goodbye to summer. Labor Day is also known as May Day in other countries, such as France, Germany and England.