Labor day is an American national holiday held on the first Monday of every September. It commemorates the American labor movement. It also remembers us of the contributions made by the workers for the benefit of the United States.
When Is Labor Day?
As I mentioned above, Labor Day is celebrated every year, at the beginning of September. In the United States, this day was settled in September, to represent the ending of the summer holiday. During that period, many public institutions, universities, and schools start their activities.
However, America is not the only country in which this holiday is celebrated. The date in which Labor Day is organized varies from a country to another. In many countries over the globe, this is associated with the International Workers’ Day and it is celebrated on 1st of May.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
In the 19th century, there were increased trade union movements. Therefore, the unionists came with a suggestion of having a special day in which every worker could celebrate his/her labor contributions.
What is Labor Day?
Labor Day was created that of offering hard working people a day off, guaranteed by the law. This celebration was first initiated in 1882, and even though many individuals do not have to go to work, many retailers keep their businesses opened. Furthermore, they also offer special promotions and discounts to their customers. Common events and activities of this holiday are parades and shopping sessions.
The Meaning of Labor Day
As I previously wrote, this public celebration is organized every year to honor the hard workers of the United States. The entire event is based on the eight-hour system. This refers to the fact that every working citizen should have an eight-hour working program, then he/she should reserve eight hours for recreational activities, and the same period should be spent resting.
The Founder of Workers’ Day Off
This subject is quite controversial in the United States. There was a debate about who is the real initiator of this celebration. Despite de fact that more than 100 years have passed since the first Labor Day celebration, people are still unsure who was the first to suggest this workers’ holiday.
When it comes to the Labor Day’s founder, the battle is between Peter McGuire and Matthew Maguire. The first one has cofounded the American Federation of Labor, and he also was the general secretary of another organization, called the Brotherhood of Carpenters. Some believe he was the one that invented this popular festivity.
However, there are others who challenge this idea, stating the fact that a machinist, by the name of Matthew Maguire, was in fact the one that founded the holiday. Some researches were done and documents were discovered. These papers seem to give credit to the second man mentioned above. It is also said that Maguire organized a manifestation including a public demonstration and a picnic in order to popularize his initiative.
Interesting Facts About Labor Day
- The first Labor Day ever celebrated was on September 5th, 1882. It was organized by the Labor Union, and it was held in New York City.
- Before the official Labor Day holiday, Canada celebrated something similar when they had a Nine-Hour Movement. The main reason for this event was to show their support and understanding for the striking workers.
- In the United States, during the first official Labor Day, around 10,000 workers walked on the New York streets and after that, they met their family members in the park, where they organized picnics, speeches, and listened to live music.
- The first American state to ever celebrate this day as an official and legal holiday was Oregon. Their first organized celebrations were held in 1887.
- Starting with 28th of June, 1894, this workers’ holiday was declared to be held on the first Monday of every September.
- The Union’s movement and strikes that led to the proclamation of this holiday were organized because American workers were spending 12 hours a day at work, without free weekends.
- After these strong reactions, a new law was proclaimed. This law stated the working day should last only eight hours instead of twelve.
- On this occasion, a parade is organized in New York, every year. Furthermore, it takes place on the same streets that were used by the labor marching workers, back in 1882.
- Labor Day sales are very popular among Americans. Many shops try to attract more clients by offering them significant discounts and promotions during the Labor Day weekend. This is because, being free from work, many people have time to go out and do some shopping. These offerings could be seen as similar to those organized at Christmas time or during Black Fridays.
To sum up, Labor Day is an important nationwide holiday in the United States. Its main attraction was, and it should be the parade of the American workers. The meaning behind this public manifestation should be to show and prove the strength of labor forces. I wish you, all hard working Americans, a Happy Labor Day!
Image source: 1, 2