More than just the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of our country. It is time that the country sets aside to pay tribute to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, prosperity, and well-being – the American worker!
History of Labor Day
The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tues., September 5, 1882 in NYC. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers and was championed by Matthew Maguire who was secretary of Local 344-International Association of Machinists from Patterson, NJ. By 1894 31 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28, of that year Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September the legal holiday. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.
What do people do?
Labor Day is traditionally a day of rest. It often signals the last chance for many people to go on trips before the summer ends. It also marks the beginning of the school year and football season. Sometimes people organize fireworks displays, barbecues and public arts or sports events.
Traditionally, people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, after Labor day. However, this custom is slowly dying out, (unless you’ve met my mother!). More and more people now wear white all year round, rather than just in the summer.