Happy Labor Day: What is Labor Day?

Posted September 1, 2014 by Jen in Uncategorized Tags:

You know, I’ve never really known why we celebrate Labor Day… only that it marks the end of summer, time to put away the white pants and head back to school. It’s not like Memorial Day, where the meaning and intent is clear by the somber memorials and celebrations. So I decided this year, I would find out what Labor Day is all about.

What is Labor Day?

According to the US Department of Labor’s website:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

History of the Holiday

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The plans were made by the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday a year later on September 5, 1883. 

The first state to introduce a bill making Labor Day an official holiday was New York. However, Oregon was the first state to pass legislation on February 21, 1887. During that same year, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York all created a Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania also created a state holiday. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882. Image from Wikipedia


Regardless of how the holiday came to be, Labor Day is now mostly a signal for the end of summer. Folks like to spend the day having cookouts and enjoying one last dip in the lake, pool, or ocean. Many people travel, and AAA predicts that nationwide, 34.7 million will travel during the long holiday weekend, up 1.3 percent from 2013. Personally, my family went to a neighborhood “corn boil” on Sunday, and today on Labor Day, I will be laboring around my house – getting ready for school and work. What are you doing/did you do this long weekend? I hope however you spend your weekend, you have a wonderful and SAFE holiday!


7 responses to “Happy Labor Day: What is Labor Day?

  1. Melanie Simmons

    DH is out of town closing up the family cabin for the winter and doing some demolition while there. So it is just me and the dog relaxing and reading. Thanks for the history lesson. I never really thought much about it.

    • You’re welcome! I hope you got in some good relaxation time. I’ve done four loads of laundry, written two reviews, backed up my computer, helped my kids with homework… 😉

  2. Thanks for the history lesson, I didn’t know what Labour Day was about either, but then again, I’m in Canada, so it’s probably different. LOL I worked my butt off all weekend prepping our house for the realtor later this week. Boo! I hope you had a better holiday than me!