What is Labor Day?

Celebrated on the very first Monday of September, Labor Day is a public holiday in the US to honour all the workers and their unions for the hard work and contribution toward the betterment of the country. September 3 will be celebrated as Labor Day in 2018.

It is believed that a rally in Canada to support workers is what inspired Labor Day in the United States of America. Labor Day was held for the first time in 1882 under Central Labor Union who organised a grand parade that had workers from many labor organisations participating.

When is Labor Day 2018?

The very first state to declare Labor Day as a public holiday was Oregon in 1887 and was followed by many other states with almost 30 states celebrating this day officially by 1894 when the government of America declared it to be an official public holiday throughout the country.

The following is the date that this Day has fallen in the past years and will fall in the coming ones.

YearLabor Day (Date)
2017September 4, 2017
2018September 3, 2018
2019September 2, 2019
2020September 7, 2020

Even Canada celebrates its Labor Day on the first Monday in September while many others celebrate it on May 1st every year under the title ‘International Worker’s Day’ or ‘May Day.’

A Brief History of Labor Day

Labor Day was first suggested by the labor unions in the 1880s to cherish and honour all the laborers and their hard work. On September 5th, 1882 The Central Labor Union (CLU) held a parade to celebrate Labor Day under Mathew Maguire who was the secretary of CLU.

The credit of Labor Day is given to Mathew by some while some say that it was Peter J Maguire who suggested this celebration in 1882.

How Labor Day became official?

During the 1800s labor in America was exploited, working more than a 12-hour shift, not being paid enough, immigrants and children were massively taken advantage of. The conditions of the workplace were hazardous with less air to breathe and bad health and sanitation facilities. These situations gave rise to many trade union riots throughout the country.

One such incident which led to the establishment of Labor Day was in 1894. Railway and Pullman car workers had problems with wage rate cuts and opted to go on strike for the same.

At that time, President Grover Cleveland, not seeing any solution sent out almost 12,000 troops to put an end to the strike. In the process of a violent breakout, two laborers lost their lives, and President Grover was all over the news and being criticised by the people for his violent method to calm a strike.

In order to put rest to the distress of all the workers, President Grover signed a bill making Labor Day a national holiday throughout the country.

Labor Day vs May Day/ International Worker’s Day

Though the two may seem alike, they are actually not. Let us clear this misconception.

Labor Day is a Federal or official government holiday in the United States of America while May Day or International Worker’s Day is a worldwide concept and is a national holiday in some countries and not in some.

Labor Day is in honour of the labor unions and contributions of all the laborers towards the USA’s productivity and prosperity while May Day is not just to honour the contribution of all the workers towards their country’s economy but also to celebrate spring and nature.

Labor Day also marks the ending of summer season while May Day marks the beginning of spring.

Labor Day in the USA and Canada vs. Other Countries

Labor Day is celebrated in the US and Canada on the first Monday of September while all other countries celebrate this day under the title ‘May Day’ or ‘International Worker’s Day’ on the 1st of May every year.

Traditions of Labor Day

Labor unions and people in their support go on long parades and marches. Inspiring speeches by labor union leaders are given during public gatherings.

The day is also celebrated with a lot of fireworks. Families take a short vacation and go on picnics or to the beach to enjoy and have fun before summer ends and fall season starts.

Labor Day is a holiday that arrives between Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day. It also marks the beginning of NFL fall games.

Facts about Labor Day

  1. The idea of Labor Day is believed to have actually come from Canada’s nine-hour-long rally in 1872 for the benefit of their workers
  2. The first Labor Day which was celebrated on 5th September 1882 was actually a Tuesday
  3. The first Labor Day parade was attended by almost 10,000 workers who marched for the cause
  4. The first state to make Labor Day a legal holiday was Oregon
  5. Every worker in America worked 12-hours every day until the Adamson Act was passed that changed it to 8 hours
  6. The founder of Labor Day between Mathew Maguire and Peter J McGuire is still unclear
  7. Labor Day was decided to be celebrated on the first Monday of September on 28th June 1894
  8. New York City holds a Labor Day parade every year until today
  9. Labor Day also marks the end of Summer and thus a time when people and families go shopping, on picnics and parties