Labor Day: What It Is and How to Celebrate It

labor day

Today, September 6th, marks Labor Day in the United States. The first Monday in September, it is recognised with a break from work and school. But, where does this federal holiday come from? In today’s blog, blog we’ll explore the origins of this monumental day. Plus, give some guidance on how to honour and celebrate it. 

What is the Labor Day? 

Labor Day recognises the American labour movement. Specifically, the works and contributions of labourers tot he development and achievements of the United States. Beginning in the late 19th century, the rise of trade unions led to the proposition that a day be set aside to celebrate labour. The first parade held in New York City was organised by the Knights of Labor. What’s more, the Central Labor Union also promoted the importance of the day. 

Labor Day vs. May Day

If you are an avid reader of the blog, you may remember our post about May Day. Stemming from ancient European holidays, it also recognises labourers as International Worker’s Day. This is because its origins come from the 1885 convention of the American Federation of Labour. Here, a resolution passed calling for the adoption of an eight-hour day effective May 1st.

There was a disagreement among unions about when a holiday celebrating workers should be. Either:

  1. September with its march-and-picnic affair. OR
  2. May with a more politically charger history. 

Worried that supporting May 1st would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements, Grover Cleveland (President in 1887) backed the September date. Thus, eventually formally adopted as a federal holiday thought law in 1894. 

The Unofficial End of Summer

Alongside recognising workers, Labor Day marks the end of the cultural summer season. Probably because Autumn activities such as school and sports restart at this time. In fact, many school use the Labor Day holiday weekend to mark their return. 

You may also know the saying: “no white after Labor Day”. Well, this comes from the idea that the colour is a vacation-only hue. The change of the season brings in the change of fashion and new wardrobe pieces. What’s more, this rule is encouraged by discount sales sweeping America encouraging shoppers to embrace the colder weather and get ready for back-to-school season. 

How to Celebrate

Want to honour the social and economic achievement of labourers? Check out our tips how!

  1. Attend a Parade. Cheer on the workers and those who improved working conditions.
  2. Have a Picnic. Consider turning it into a charitable affair for raising money for labourers.
  3. Drop Off Treats to a Local Fire Station or Hospital. Not everyone gets the day off, show your thanks to frontline workers. Especially those who have worked so diligently over the last 18 months. 
  4. Express Your Gratitude. Take time to thank your servers and shop clerks who make your every day tasks easy to complete. Or, additional, share your appreciation for your coworkers and all they’ve done for you this year. Celebrate collaboration!
  5. Learn the History. Discover the past of Labour Unions and how they have protected our working rights for 100s of years. 
  6. Volunteer. Use your time-off to help better the lives of others. 
  7. Support a Labour Issue. Causes included: raising minimal wage, fighting for equal pay for all, protection the rights of unions, and instituting national paid family leave.

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo Clubs. Don't let after-school be an afterthought - join Gooroo's online platform centred around hands-on project-based learning!