The first Monday of every September recognizes the men and women who labor to build this country. Through a time-honored tradition with roots in the coordinated efforts of the labor movement of the 1800s, we salute the American worker force.
This National Day also signals the official end of summer. Families take one last summer trip and cities hold that last festival for the season.
- Labor Day was celebrated for the first time in New York City in 1882. It was originally celebrated on September 5th but was moved to the first Monday in September in 1884.
- Labor Day started out as a state holiday, getting voted in by individual states. As the day gained popularity, Congress declared Labor Day 1894.
- 10,000 workers marched from City Hall all the way to 42nd Street and then met with their families in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches.
- Oregon was the first state to celebrate Labor Day as a legal holiday in 1887.
- Americans worked 12-hour days seven days a week during the 19th century!
- The Adamson Act was passed on September 3, 1916 to establish an eight-hour work day.
- The football season starts on or around Labor Day and many teams play their first game of the year during Labor Day weekend.
- On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a union rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, which led to violence that killed seven police officers and four others. The incident also led to May 1 being celebrated in most nations as Workers Day. The U.S. government chose Labor Day instead to avoid a celebration on May 1 and New York’s unions had already picked the first Monday in September for their holiday.
- Wearing White after Labor Day – This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era, where it was a fashion faux pas to wear any white clothing after the summer officially ended on Labor Day. The tradition isn’t really followed anymore. EmilyPost.com explains the logic behind the fashion trend – white indicated you were still in vacation mode at your summer cottage.