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Labor Day History and Facts

Each year students and adults alike wonder if there is any Labor Day history and facts they should know about. No one really seems to understand Labor Day history or the facts behind the holiday after they graduate from school.

Labor Day History and Facts

The truth is that Labor Day history and facts are often overshadowed by the upcoming holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It is seen as one of the more quiet holidays – celebrated on a more individual level. For most, it is a time to give thanks for a much-needed day off before the fall season. For others, it is a time to spend quality time with family and friends. It is definitely a precursor to Thanksgiving in that it commemorates a time to give thanks to the laborers within the nation who work tirelessly everyday.

What Is Labor Day and Why Is It Important?

Labor Day in the United States has been a holiday since 1882, when the union workers in New York decided to take a day of work off unpaid in order to go to Union Square to support a rally for the holiday of Labor Day.

By 1884 the President of the United States promised to bring the holiday into fruition. There is a bit of a discrepancy over who actually founded the holiday. Two names usually come to mind regarding the founder of the holiday, one is Peter J. McGuire who was renowned as the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and Matthew Maguire, who was a machinist and the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinist in New Jersey (Paterson, NJ).

Regardless of who actually proposed the idea or founded the notion, the first Labor Day was held on September 5, 1882, and it was recognized as a holiday in 1884. During that time it was decided by the Central Labor Union that the first Monday in September would forever be considered Labor Day.

Interesting Labor Day History and Facts

The federal government began recognizing Labor Day throughout the United States in 1885. The first state to make Labor Day a law was Oregon, on February 21, 1887. While Oregon led the pack, four other states followed in the same year. Those states were Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

By 1890 an additional 23 states recognized Labor Day as a holiday in honor of workers. In 1894 Congress finally made Labor Day a federal holiday.

How Labor Day Is Celebrated

In the initial proposal for how to observe Labor Day, a street parade to celebrate the workers had been requested. Through the years, parades were followed by speeches by notable individuals. As time went on, Labor Day began to be observed in a more modern and individualized way.

While parades have died down, the government still observes the holiday with various activities. Aside from schools and federal places of work being closed in observance of the holiday, there are certain observances in the form of speeches made by public officials in observance of the holiday.

On the individual level, many people take the time to bond with their families and take family trips and enjoy barbeques. Additionally, it is not uncommon to see Labor Day in action at shopping centers where it is most often celebrated through a sale.

You will also find that different states celebrate Labor Day differently. They personalize it with the history of the state. Often times, states may commemorate Labor Day festivities from decades past. You may even see the mayor of a town or governor of a state giving a public speech in honor of the holiday.

For more information on Labor Day, you can visit the Internet and check out the website for the Department of Labor or you can visit your state’s website to see what festivities are planned.